Books

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

the-light-betweenTitle: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M. L. Stedman
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Date: 
2016 (2012)
Publisher: Black Swan 
Pages: 464
Started: 11th March 2017
Completed: 12th March 2017
Rating: 5/5
Summary: A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision. They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.


The Light Between Oceans is the debut novel of Australian author M. L. Stedman. In 2016 it was adapted into a major motion picture starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as the main characters.

Stedman has yet to publish any more novels.


This is one of my new favourite books. I never expected to enjoy this book because the genre isn’t usually one that I’d pick up but this book is just perfect on so many levels. The plot is stunning but heartbreaking. The characters are fantastically written. I loved the writing style. I really can’t fault this book at all.

The main characters are so easy to relate to and understand in this novel. I adored both Tom and Isabel, I didn’t find either of them annoying or two dimensional. Tom fought in WW1 and suffers from a form survivor’s guilt as he constantly wonders why he survived the war when so many of his comrades didn’t. He’s an intense man who prefers the isolation of the lighthouse on Janus Rock to the city-life on mainland Australia. He never seems comfortable around other people and he feels free when he’s alone. He always follows the rules, whether that’s in the army or at the lighthouse, until he meets his wife Isabel.

Isabel is also an intense woman who thrives in the isolated environment of Janus Rock but her life is plagued by tragedy as she miscarries several children after she marries Tom. Isabel is desperate for a child and when one washes up on the shore of Janus Rock alongside a dead man she convinces straitlaced Tom to forgo the rules and keep the child. The plot focuses around their life with the child and the heartbreaking situation when the child’s birth mother finds out that she’s still alive.

The ending, which I won’t spoil, absolutely broke my heart but in a good way. In fact, the whole novel broke my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional nature of this novel and it had me hooked from the very beginning.

Each of the characters is incredibly well written. The characterisation is fantastic and so realistic. I really connected to all of the characters and that doesn’t happen often. Stedman’s writing style is faultless as the novel is full of realistic dialogue and amazing description. You feel like you’re on Janus Rock with Tom and Isabel and you’re able to sense the isolation that they endure just through the description of the landscape.

I would recommend this book without a doubt. It’s perfect and I loved it so much. I can’t wait to read this book again and watch the film.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

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