They Break The Rules And Follow Their Hearts What Happens Next Will Break Yours Tom Sherbourne Is A Young Lighthouse Keeper On A Remote Island Off Western Australia The Only Inhabitants Of Janus Rock, He And His Wife Isabel Live A Quiet Life, Cocooned From The Rest Of The WorldOne April Morning A Boat Washes Ashore Carrying A Dead Man And A Crying Infant And The Path Of The Couple S Lives Hits An Unthinkable CrossroadsOnly Years Later Do They Discover The Devastating Consequences Of The Decision They Made That Day As The Baby S Real Story Unfolds ETA Sep 20, 2015Oh, this review First, I read this book way back in 2012 I don t know that I would write such a review now, whether or not I hate a book I ve had an attitude shift, if not in life, then in review writing I ve wanted to change it for a while now, but I don t remember most of the book I also can t make any defense against specific arguments from commenters who liked the book, because of the same I read this when I had no baby At some point after I had my own bundle of joy, I considered reading this book again, especially since a number of people I trust mentioned that it was a much better reading experience for them But the difference was this, they sympathized with Isabelle than Hannah I did the opposite And having my baby wasn t going to change that, if anything I would feel Hannah s pain keenly But the main reason I haven t read this book up again is because I couldn t remember the actual language being any good I might be misremembering all of the above, but I don t care enough to read it again to confirm one way or another I will watch the movie at some point, because the director made Blue Valentine with two unlikable characters and I loved it and understood both of them Maybe he will bring something to the table that the book, for me, didn t.Anyway, please read this review knowing that I would not have written it exactly the same today, even though I still dislike the book I welcome comments from everyone, especially people who liked the book, because maybe enough of those will convince me to read it back I m big on second guessing myself The review view spoiler I first rated this 2 stars, and now, on further consideration, I ve come to the conclusion that it s worth no than 1 star How much did I dislike this book Let me count the ways.First and foremost, the characterization They re all fairly unlikable Fairly Kidding They are absolutely unlikable Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel have had three miscarriages They find a baby in a boat along with a dead man, and decide that the baby is God s gift to them, and keep it This is easy to do, because they re in a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere All they have to do is hide the dead body of the father somewhere They do this without turning a hair They never ever think to at least make discreet enquiries if the baby had a family They don t ever think that the father might be missed, that someone might be mourning for the pair of them If they wanted a baby so much, why could they not have adopted one There are plenty of war orphans around Tom half heartedly brings it up, and Isabel pooh poohs the notion The truth is, they do not try At all Cut to two years later, they find that the baby has a living breathing mother She s still mourning for the loss of her baby and husband, she s gaunt with it What do our protagonists do yes, they are protagonists not villains, surprise Do they admit it Nope They take the baby and go back to the lighthouse Isabel even dishes out a platitude to Tom whose conscience has woken up life is hard sometimes What the In any case, Tom decides to do something even cruel to everyone concerned He sends an anonymous letter to the mother that her baby is safe Never once does anyone say that this was a bad thing I mean, Isabel does, but only because it leads to circumstances where they have to give up the baby But never do they even address the fact that Tom was being a bastard cruelly raising the hopes of a grieving person.Then they do have to give up the baby Tom takes it all on himself, and Isabel plots revenge She lets people assume that Tom indeed was the person to blame, and also that he killed the father She plays grieving mother and put upon wife to the hilt The baby doesn t take so easily to its birth mother, and everyone around the birth mother to return the baby to these baby stealers And she agrees Then she changes her mind, but she doesn t press charges against these monsters What the again No one, not a single person except for a fringe character takes Isabel to task The reason is that she had three miscarriages How does that explain that she stole a baby That she never tried to at least find out if the baby had any family That she never stepped into an orphanage to at least try to adopt one of the poor for real orphans she was so upset about When faced with the fact that the baby has a mother who s grieving, the lady has the audacity to think that the only reason she doesn t want to part with the baby is because she s thinking of the best for the baby She never changes this opinion All that she did was for the baby Well, kill me dead She calls the birth mother selfish for wanting her baby back She calls Tom selfish because he thinks of the birth mother though he is a moron But is she selfish Nope, not her the most selfless person on earth, the only one that s thinking of the baby Who is two I doubt it would be very traumatized if it changed hands at that point in life The tug of war which is ridiculous that ensues is so much damaging to the child Yet, we re meant to sympathize with and excuse this lady who carries on about how life has been unfair to her than to the birth mother, than everyone else on this planet.Aargh I hated this so much The two stars initially was for the writing, until I remembered that I was also annoyed by the CONSTANT use of mixed tenses Stick to one tense lady It s he did this and he did that in one paragraph and he does this and he does that in the very next I get it It s to distinguish between the specific and the general parts of the plot, but believe me, that can be done and understood by us poor readers with one freaking tense I won t be reading anything by this author again I had originally written something that was pointed out to me in the comments by Kimk as callous She was right, it did sound terrible, when it was not my intention My reason for bringing up the miscarriages was not because I didn t sympathize with Isabelle for having had them, but because it was not reason enough for the rest of them to support her in her madness hide spoiler I am going to start with review with a disclaimer This review is subjective, from my point of view etc I thought this book was terrible, bad, no good You don t have to agree with me, and you could think that this was the most AMAZING book and your eyes almost exploded from all the awesomeness that traveled through them to reach your brain which leapt in your skull with every sentence you read, and that is fine I do not think that you are inferior to me Now on to my review Stop here for spoilers although you might regret it It s an awesome review I am not one to judge books by their covers, although a good cover is always a bonus, and this book has a excellent one Props to the graphic designer Combined with being on the New York Times Best Seller list, and having an first rate premise, I thought this one was a winner But I was wrong DEAD WRONG ok that is a little dramatic If I was describe my reading experience like the ocean tides, sometimes I would be fine, floating near the shore, but other times it would sweep me out to sea with its ridiculousness The conclusion didn t help the novel s case It left a distinctly bitter taste in my mouth So basically the premise is that a couple, Tom and Isabel, living on a island in a lighthouse in Australia, find a dead man and baby ashore Isabel, filled with grief from her last three miscarriages, begs her husband to kidnap the baby and bury the dead man in a ditch so she can be fulfilled as a woman and finally have a child She assumes that the mother is dead, so I mean, is she really doing anything wrong It s like when you find a stray dog and it has a collar What if the dog was being abused, so that s why it ran away It s your duty to keep that cute dog and love it forever Except This is a BABY Now I have never had a miscarriage, nor have I ever had children, so I guess this is why I hated Isabel so much I don t understand her point of view AT ALL I agreed with Tom, and was pretty mad when his sympathies got the better of him I mean really, it s a BABY people It is a human life you re messing with So Tom and Isabel visit the main land like every three years, and this time they bring the baby, who they have named Lucy, for her christening and to show off to everyone Now here comes the twist the mother is alive Shocker I know So Tom once again is like, Hey, this is kidnapping now, and the mother is literally insane with grief Maybe we should give back her baby And Isabel is all like, No I can t have babies And I am a selfish person who is pretending to be a good person by saying it is better for the baby if she stays with us We can t confuse Lucy For me, I have always thought love was doing what is best for the person you care for Apparently, this is not what Isabel thinks love is, so this makes her the villain of the story in my perspective.So of course, Tom and Isabel are found out eventually, all by Tom s doing, so he takes the blame for everything This is the point where I want to give up on the book, and it s not because I hate Isabel for letting Tom take the blame to make him suffer for taking Lucy away The story is full of pointless dialog and characters and not even Jane Austin style with enjoyable pointless dialog It is like Stedman s publisher was like, This novel has to be 300 pages so, get on that and write me some I think I would have enjoyed this story much if it was a short story I skimmed the last chapters, just so I could be done with it Now there are some redeeming factors to this novel I mean it s not like this is 50 Shades of Gray terrible, I gave it two stars Stedman is a great writer when it comes down to descriptions of the island of Janus and little antidotes about the 1920 s in Australia I just didn t like her characters, NOT one of them So my conclusion is read this book for yourself and make up your own opinion As for me, I still need to learn that judging a book by its cover is a phrase for a reason EDIT So I just found out that they are making this book into a movie Because Hollywood.http www.imdb.com title tt2547584 ref nvsr1 The Light Between Oceans is an incredibly moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s The story begins when a light house keeper and his wife find a life boat containing a live baby and dead man on the shore of their isolated island Through a mixture of misplaced intentions and unsupported superstition they decide to raise the child as their own deciding not to inform the authorities of the child s existence Although the book was a quick read, I never once felt that it was forced or lacking in anyway The plot is compact never wavering from its central theme I enjoy this kind of focused writing Irrelevant or distracting side plots would have pulled me away from Tom and Isabel s narrative and weakened my investment in their turmoil.The story is highly emotional Stedman crafts a perfectly gray scenario that forces its readers to question their own moral standing This truly is reader manipulation at its most powerful Allowing the reader to sympathize with morally ambiguous characters is a difficult task, however, Stedman presents her narrative in such a way that the reader can t help feeling the same inner conflict as Tom and Isabel.Considering this is Stedman s first published novel, I am incredibly excited to see what she produces next This was a masterpiece in storytelling. On the Offshore Lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself, and no one will say you re wrong not the seagulls, not the prisms, not the wind.So Isabel floats further and further into her world of divine benevolence, where prayers are answered, where babies arrive by the will of God and the working of currents. There s this married couple, their names are Tom and Isabel For the purposes of this review, Tom Doormat and Isabel Batshit Crazy but we ll shorten it to Batshit It s 1926 Australia, we re on a rock it s actually called Janus Rock in the ocean in the middle of nowhere, and considering we re in Australia, it s even middle of nowhere er.Doormat is a lighthouse keeper He records the motion of the ocean, the way of the waves, the bodies that wash ashore, and all of that Well, not so much the bodies that wash ashore, because that happens just once, and apparently, once is one time too many because that didn t turn out well at all.The day when a man dies and is washed ashore is called the day of the miracle Hoooooo kay Whatever you call it, Batshit.Ok, here s the situation One day a dead body washes ashore Along with it is a wee lil baby, a living baby Batshit is a woman who desperately wants a child She has suffered from multiple stillbirths and is grieving and is going slowly mad because of it A long time ago, she was a woman who had a lot of joy and happiness in her It was what attracted Doormat to Batshit in the first place he wondered what other secrets lay behind her playful smile. 8 years later, we know what secret lies behind that playful smile Pure, unadulterated lunacy.Batshit wants a child A baby washes ashore Huzzah It s a miracle Only, the baby s not theirs to keep Sure, it s 1926 And sure, it s Australia, the wild land populated by criminals and kangaroos and wombats or maybe that s New Zealand , and people who speak really, really strangelyIzzy, Tom called Izzy, wait Don t do your nana, love He s not But she was already too far off to hear the rest of his words She Tom considered whether to explain She got the wrong end of the stick about it Sorry She s chucked a wobbly Once she does that, all you can do is batten down the hatches and wait for it to pass Means I ll be making sandwiches for lunch, I m afraidBut in this lawless land, in this lawless time, there are still regulations and shit to be followed That s why Tom s there, working as the lighthouse keeper So when a dead man and a living baby washes ashore, Tom s got a whole lot of fucking paperwork to fill outIt s all got to go in the log, pet You know I ve got to report everything straightaway, Tom said, for his duties included noting every significant event at or near the light station, from passing ships and weather, to problems with the apparatus. Only he doesn t Because his beloved Batshit insists on keeping the baby, for just a little bit longer, the way a 4 year old child says Please, daddy, I ll go to bed in just 5 minutes It ain t gonna happen It s never going to be just five fucking minutes, and Batshit isn t just planning to keep the poor half dead baby just oooooooooone day Despite what Doormat tells her, against all fucking common sense to just, you know turn the baby in to proper authorities, Batshit doesn t fucking listenThen the baby s probably got a mother waiting for it somewhere onshore, tearing her hair out How would you feel if it was yours You saw the cardigan The mother must have fallen out of the boat and drowned Sweetheart, we don t have any idea about the mother Or about who the man was It s the most likely explanation, isn t it Infants don t just wander off from their parents Izzy, anything s possible We just don t know When did you ever hear of a tiny baby setting off in a boat without its mother She held the child a fraction closer. Oh, logic, you really fucking got it, eh, Batshit Sure, the baby s mother isn t there She must be dead Somehow Her body must be on the bottom of the ocean floor The baby can t POSSIBLY have another relative on land.Makes perfect fucking sense To someone who belongs in Bedlam asylum not to be mistaken for Arkham asylum This isn t Batman Do they have a Bedlam franchise in Australia Poor Doormat s got a crisis of conscience He wants to do the right thing, but he s just so fucking in love with Batshit that he gives in Totally whippedI suppose, at a pinch he conceded, the words coming with great difficulty, I could leave the signal until the morning First thing, though As soon as the light s outYeah, so they wait one day to turn the baby in And the next thing you know Batshit s breast feeding the baby Well, that escalated quicklyOh, little sweetheart, she murmured, and slowly unbuttoned her blouse Seconds later, the child had latched on fast, sucking contentedly, though only a few drops of milk came.They had been like that for a good while when Tom entered the kitchen How s the He stopped in mid sentence, arrested at the sight.Isabel looked up at him, her face a mixture of innocence and guilt It was the only way I could get her to settle But Well Alarmed, Tom couldn t even frame his questions She was desperate Wouldn t take the bottle But but she took it earlier, I saw herUh, ok So the baby can bottle feed, it s just convenient to breastfeed her And then next thing you know, the baby s got a nameWe need to welcome Lucy, and say a prayer for her poor father If that s who he was, said Tom And Lucy Well she needs a name Lucy means light, so it s perfect, isn t itSeriously, what the fuck Now all thought of turning the baby in to the authorities is out the window, because how the fuck is poor Doormat going to explain the fact that they kept the baby for weeks, gave her a name, breastfed her, didn t notify the authorities right away, and didn t notify the authorities that they found a dead body that might be her father Clearly, they re in some deep fucking doodoo.And Batshit is there in her little land of happiness, contented with the fact that she has her wewy own baby Let s just forget about the fact that the baby may or may not still have a mother or a relative Let s just throw out all reason out the windowIzzy, Izzy You know I d do anything for you, darl, but whoever that man is and whatever he s done, he deserves to be dealt with properly And lawfully, for that matter What if the mother s not dead, and he s got a wife fretting, waiting for them both What woman would let her baby out of her sight Face it, Tom she must have drownedWhat woman would let her baby out of her sight Maybe a desperate one Maybe one who gave her to a nanny while she was away Guh So there they live, in blissful happy ostrich in the sand land for several years Until they realize that, well, shit the baby s mother might be alive And she ain t a bad person, or a despicable personFunny how lives turn out, isn t it Born to money than you can shake a stick at went all the way to Sydney University to get a degree in something or other married the love of her life and you see her now sometimes, wandering about, like she s got no home to go toSo as it turned out, the baby s mother is alive and breathing And wealthy And scared, and lost, and lonely, because she s lost her husband AND her child Poor Hannah may be rich, but she s had to fight for her love She fought to marry a German, and this was pretty bad, considering this is post WWI Her father disinherited her, she had to work menial labor, she had to suffer a lot to marry the love of her life And now her husband may be dead somewhere, she doesn t know because Batshit and Doormat never reported the dead body and her daughter may be dead somewhere, she doesn t know because Batshit and Doormat never reported FINDING A FUCKING BABY.So Hannah is now searching for her husband and daughter She is wealthy because her father has accepted her again If Batshit and Doormat returned the baby Lucy who s like a small child by now , Lucy will have a happy life with a loving mother, a loving aunt, and a doting grandfather, not to mention she ll be rich as fuck Settled for life, yo The natural thing, the good thing to do would be to give Lucy that future.But of course, they re not called Doormat and Batshit by me for nothing.So there s poor Hannah In mourning Desolate Childless.And here s how Batshit reacts to thatHannah had a terrible tragedy a few years ago Family lost at sea her husband, and a daughter who would have been about your girl s age by now She s always asking that sort of thing Seeing little ones sets her off Dreadful, Isabel managed to mutter. Understatement of the fucking century.The Romance There is no romance in this book It is a love borne out of madness and obsession It is a love that is full of mindless devotion on Doormat s part, with pure emotional manipulation on Batshit s partHow can you be so hard hearted All you care about is your rules and your ships and your bloody light These were accusations Tom had heard before, when, wild with grief after her miscarriages, Isabel had let loose her rage against the only person there the man who continued to do his duty, who comforted her as best he could, but kept his own grieving to himself. Doormat s mad devotion to his wife will eventually be his own downfall, and as we will learn towards the climax of the book, that love is truly a one way street.Overall This book didn t convince me of anything There were morality issues that failed to send any sort of message besides that of crazy woman is crazy, life sucks, and men need to grow some balls I didn t like any of the main characters, I ended up being sympathetic to Hannah aka poor mom who lost the kid, which made it all the frustrating when crazy woman is constantly shoved in our face.Maybe I m not supposed to like the main characters, but why the hell should I bother to read a book if everything about it frustrates me
M.L Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London The Light Between Oceans is her first novel.
- 362 pages
- The Light Between Oceans
- M.L. Stedman
- 06 January 2017 M.L. Stedman