October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and it reminded me of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman which I had read earlier this year. I found this book really interesting yet devastating and heart-breaking at the same time.
The book is about Tom Sherbourne who is a lighthouse keeper in Australia and his wife Isabel. Tom is a war veteran and lives his life by a high moral code. However, he struggles often with other people and is dealing with the guilt of having survived the war when many others did not. On the isolated island of Janus Rock Isabel and Tom struggle to start a family. Isabel deals with infertility, miscarriages and infant loss due to pre-term labour. One day though a boat washes ashore with a dead man in it and an infant baby girl. Isabel believes that the baby is a gift from God and meant to be their child. Tom, unsure at first about not reporting the dead man eventually falls in love with the baby and they begin to raise the child as their own.
That ends abruptly one day though when it is realized that the child, Lucy, is that of a woman who is still alive and the child is eventually returned to her biological mother while Tom is charged with murder and kidnapping. I won’t give away the ending of the book but the main characters deal with grudges, regrets, sadness and hopes as well.
This book was difficult to read at times and while I enjoyed the way M.L. Stedman crafted the characters in the book it was definitely an emotional read. Infertility, miscarriage and infant loss are still somewhat of taboo subjects in our society but I felt like the author tackled them in a way that was thoughtful and very revealing.
I am looking forward to seeing the movie that is based on this book when it comes out. It is always interesting to see how they choose to condense an entire novel into an hour and half. If you are looking for a fictional book to read but one that has depth to it and questions some of our most basic moral beliefs that I would highly recommend checking this book out.
Have you read this book? What did you like about it?