Book Review: The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

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A Woman stole your heart when you didn’t know it could mend, 

Her heart is now broken and you can fix it if you never tell a soul as well as saving a child. 

As this novel is about to fill our cinema screens, I wanted to share with you my review of the breath taking, heart breaking novel by M.L. Stedman.

Set just after  WW1, war hero Tom Sherborne wants a quiet life after what he has seen. With a heavy heart it is just short of a miracle when he finds not only his perfect job on the isolated island of Janus, but also a young and fiery Isabel. After exchanging letters Tom and Isabel marry as he takes her back to Janus to join him in the lighthouse and start their own paradise on the island. When a boat arrives on the island holding a dead man and a tiny infant the couple don’t know what to do. While Tom is adamant he must stick to the keepers code Isabel , heartbroken by the death of her stillborn son and two miscarriages, and sure the child is an orphan. The couple begin to realise that while their paradise is a world away, they cannot hide forever.

This novel absolutely warmed and shattered my heart all at once. I honestly can not remember a book that has touched me in this way before, even my favourite The Storyteller didn’t make my heart ache this much. I knew nothing of this book before I found it in my local Tesco’s and I was hesitant to pick it up, but I am so glad I did. The blurb warns you that it will break your heart but I was sceptical. That said, I am yet to read a review in which the novel hasn’t brought the reader to tears by the end. I’ve read reviews beforehand saying that they couldn’t stand Isabel and I could see why some would hate her, but I just couldn’t. I don’t know if it is because I’m a woman, because of my own maternal instincts, but I understood Isabel. I understood why she did what she did. The pain of losing her children broke her and changed her in a way no one could explain, because think about it, wouldn’t it change you? I can also understand Tom’s dilemma and the decision he makes, and maybe it’s not the right one but in his shoes I doubt anyone knows what they would really do.

The novel has a very real sense of the implications of war and the fragile nature of human life. Although we never hear about Tom’s time as a serving soldier to graphically you don’t need to because it is not the dead who will shatter you heart it is the living who are left behind. On land there is an eerie sense of the hardships of war, of the men who came home but never really came back at all, the mothers and widowers who refuse to believe their boys are really dead. Stedman also bravely touches on the subject of racism after  war, when an innocent life is lost because of the decisions of the few. In my opinion, this was incredibly important because we rarely see this side written about and also because it shows the hurt of a whole community and also the sacrifice of Australia in WW1, something that is often overlooked.

One of the main reasons I loved it though was because I wasn’t in a rush. This wasn’t a thriller but it made you want to read on at your own pace. After saying this, however, this does not mean that I couldn’t put it down and even though I peeked later on at one point I soon forgot what I had read because you get so absorbed in the novel. The imagery of the surroundings is beautiful and I could hear the characters inside my head. The way I can decide if it is a novel worth passing on is if the characters live on in my head, if they become alive and Stedman has certainly done this. I think about living in a lighthouse, about Tom and Izzy and I dream about Australia, so on that basis I can give you a five-star rating!

The Light Between Oceans – M. L Stedman (debut novel)

***** – It may have broken my heart but I love this novel to pieces already!

Published by Black Swan

Where in the World, 10 places to visit

Today’s post is inspired by the fact that I now know of a few people who have accepted to study abroad for a year! The most exciting and heartbreaking so far is Eleanor who is going to New Zealand! Yes that’s right one of my best friends is heading to the other side of the world. As well as that  few more of my friends are waiting to hear back from other parts of the world. Of course I’m doing that stupid overly proud best friend thing because it is freaking awesome!  I had to write because HELLO, NEW ZEALAND. I have put in my request for a Koala bear as a present.

Why aren’t I heading across the globe to study? I thought about it but there are lots of reasons,the band being a big one. The main reason however, is down to me being a total wuss, so I’m going to stick to rainy old England.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to travel! So here’s a list of 10 places I want to travel to.

Rome 

Because who doesn’t remember the Lizzie Mcguire movie? (‘Sing to me Paulo’)  Who doesn’t love Italian accents and who the hell doesn’t like Ice Cream. I’m a massive fan of Italy, the food, the people (including one of my best friends) and it’s just an incredible place, not to mention all the history!

New York 

‘There’s nothing you can’t do’ ah New York. There are so many things I want to do and it just seems magical and busy and beautiful. Ali went with his Mum before we came to uni and I was beyond jealous. I never used to be bothered but the older I get the more I need to go. After all it’s the only city where you can pretend you’re in Friends and How I Met Your Mother. The Empire State building, Time Square, the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, Ground Zero and the beautiful Statue of Liberty ahhhh get me on a plane now!

Amsterdam 

Yes I’m a fan of The Fault in Our Stars, no it’s not the only reason I want to go. I am desparate to do all of the geeky things in Amsterdam. I’m stupidly excited about the Van Gogh museum because I love his art. My heart belongs to the Anne Frank museum, I will cry a lot but I need to go. Hopefully this will be my 21st treat!

Australia and New Zealand 

These go together because I’d do them together. I will have one best friend in each country which is my first reason to visit. Then there are the beaches, the culture and of course in NZ,  HOBBITS! I want to see the other side of the world, because why not! It just looks interesting and warm and lovely.

Ireland 

Ah Ireland. I’ve been obsessed with going to Ireland since watching P.S I love you when it came out on DVD. It’s so pretty and green, plus the accent is to die for! I’m pretty sure as well that there is Irish on my Dad’s side so that would be nice.

Paris 
I need to go back to Paris and do the grown up side. I’ve done Disneyland 5 times, but that was about 15 years ago…. I want to explore and go up the Eiffel Tower and have pastry and find the writers cafe that I heard about. Ah Paris ❤

Prague 
I’m actually going here in 3 months. It wasn’t on my original list but the more I look up, the more excited I get. Prague looks absolutely beautiful, I can’t wait to see what I can find.

Berlin 

I want to see the hustle and bustle of Berlin. I have no idea why it just seems like a really cool place to see.

Bern 

On my Mum’s side I am Swiss Italian which is freaking awesome. Although I don’t think my family is from Bern, I’d like to visit and just be in the country that my ancestors came from. Switzerland is also supposed to be interesting and beautiful, I don’t know too much but I definitely want to go.

Los Angeles 

Total tourist freak out. Hollywood sign, the beach, maybe even a cheeky trip to Disney too….

Have any of you guys been to any of these places? Any tips for me? Let me know!