Friday, 29 April 2016

The Light Between Oceans - M L Stedman

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                                                                    Tom Sherborne is a lighthouse keeper on an island off the West coast of Australia.  He fought in Europe in WW1, got a gong for his bravery, and desparately tries to keep his feelings and his memories of that time deep inside himself.  When he meets Isobel on shore leave, he is so struck with her and his feelings for her he can think of nothing else, and so, three months later, when he again is on shore, he asks her to marry him and she accepts.  So Tom and Izzie start their married life, on their own, on a tiny island where they can just be themselves, and their early days are a joy - until the first miscarriage.

I have never lost a child, never borne a child, but it is obvious that the first loss hurts, the second loss is even more painful to both Izzie and Tom and there are more heartbreaks to bear as the years pass.  Until, that is, the day when a boat washes ashore.  In that boat is a dead man and a living baby.  As a lighthouse keeper, Tom must report the findings and Izzie knows that - but begs for just one day with the baby before he telegraphs his report. 

The results of her plea form the rest of the story.  A story so sad that I couldn't read too much at a time because I just knew that bad things were around the corner on the next page or two.  But of course, one always wants to get to the end of a good read, and there will be many twists and turns before the last page.  I liked this very much, even though it was a heartbreaking tale for most of the characters.  Well written, with a good feel for the place and the time, I can recommend this, but do bear in mind that the story is about a child who has lost one mother but found another and that like real life, it will not be all blue skies.