“spellbinding tale… deep characterization… beautiful language”

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANSI absolutely adored THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, M.L. Stedman’s spellbinding tale about the love of a child and the grave consequences, perhaps, of loving too much.

Set on coastal Australia (the majority upon a small lighthouse island), this stunning debut brought back memories of the trip I took to Australia in my twenties. The lush descriptions of setting (coastal waters, harrowing winds, the chants of kookaburras, ‘roo sightings, the isolation of a lighthouse keeper) are only secondary to the deep characterization Stedman achieves.

I was deeply impacted by one of the main character’s, Tom’s, internalizations about fighting in World War I – so well done and vivid without being overly sentimental. The same can be said of the internal torment faced by two additional characters, Izzy and Hannah. You are in for an emotional ride with this story of hope, forgiveness, familial ties, and the fine line between right and wrong. Rarely does a book come along where the author is able to so expertly tap into a character’s psyche, yet Stedman does so with multiple characters.

I also cannot say enough about the author’s ability to create suspense. Toward the end of the novel, she kept me guessing about each character’s next actions so that I simply could NOT stop turning the pages. The moral dilemma at the heart of this story is the stuff of good storytelling, making me wonder all along, “How on earth are they going to ‘fix’ this? How will this end?”

I highly recommend THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS for its deep characterization, beautiful language, symbolism and metaphors. Lovely. So lovely.


(A version of this article was published by Melissa Crytzer Fry at GoodReads on September 6, 2012. It is reposted here with the permission of the author.)


4 thoughts on “Book: THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M.L. Stedman”

    1. I loved it so much, I am re-reading it in anticipation of seeing the movie (which I will have to do 1) at home, when it’s released on Amazon Video or 2) alone, at a movie theater without any of my friends. Why? The ugly crying that ensued upon my first read. I will be a drippy, driveling mess at the movies as well — the perfect emotions for a well-crafted, deeply evocative book (or movie)!

  1. Wanted to read this before I went to see the movie, but my best shot to see it on the big screen is this weekend. Your review convinced me there is much I will be able to savor in the read after.

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