Book 8 of my 2014 Reading Challenge
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Summary (via the book jacket)
After four harrowing years on the western front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a "gift from God", and against Tom's judgement, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
I felt this book with my whole heart. The story was beautiful and the characters were so well-written.
I loved Tom. While I understood why Isabel made the choices she did (thanks to the author's incredible writing), I found no sympathy for her. You don't use your pain as a reason to hurt someone else and her actions, especially as everyone around her was hurting because of her, were absolutely inexcusable. The ending felt right but was a bit happier than I expected.
Quote from the Book
"He turned his attention to the rotation of the beam, and gave a bitter laugh at the thought that the dip of the light meant that the island itself was always left in darkness. A lighthouse is for others; powerless to illuminate the space closest to it."