Book Review

The Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman 

13th December to 27th December ~ Physical ~ Link to Goodreads



Tom Sherbourne, released from the horrors of the First World War, is now a lighthouse keeper, cocooned on a remote island with his young wife Izzy, who is content in everything but her failure to have a child.
One April morning, a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man – and a crying baby. Safe from the real world, Tom and Izzy break the rules and follow their hearts.
It is a decision with devastating consequences.


I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book but I will try my best to stay coherent.

This book has been on my radar for a long while now but I might have gone a long while before picking it up if a friend hadn’t brought me a copy for my birthday. I am glad I finally read it so I can squash the curiosity.

What I liked about this book I adored but at the same time the things I disliked I really really disliked. I liked how flawed everyone is througout and how their actions and the decisions they make are always true to who they are as people. I found Tom to be the most interesting to read about as he seemed to have been so deprived of love throughout his life he is willing to accept absolutely any behaviour from Isabelle. I think to a much lesser degree I can kind of relate to this I have gone through many phases in my life where I’ve been walked all over and accepted it because I thought it made the other person happy. In Part 2 of the book Tom really starts to struggle internally with the consequences of their decision. This for me was so interesting to read about, to see it slowly eat away at him but to constantly put Isabelle first. I could never really decide whether I thought it was incredibly loyal of him or incredibly weak. The frustration of trying to decide this was part of what I loved about the reading experience though I thought he was definitely the best written character.

All this love, so bent out of shape, refracted, like light through the lens.

Isabelle was the complete opposite for me. I knew from fairly early on that I was not going to gel with her. Selfish, stubborn and mentally manipulative I think she knew exactly how to use Tom to get what she wanted and yet she was always the one playing the victim. She never once thought about how certain events and decisions would affect the people around her she was always too wrapped up in her own hurt. Even though I didn’t like her and I found her deplorable in parts I think she was written really well.

I found it quite refreshing to read a book set in Australia. Most books are set in America and even though I don’t dislike that it does get a little meh after a while. The way the places and scenery were described was mostly beautiful however it tend to vere a little towards overly descriptive. This is just my personal taste though; I like to be given just enough for an outline and let my mind fill in the colour and detail.

I like that the book was split into 3 parts. Part 3 definitely broke my heart a little bit I was so incredibly destroyed over the scenes between Lucy and Hannah! This really brought home the consequences of Isabelle’s decision for me and I felt a deep disdain for her growing in the pit of my stomach, I feel like we were supposed to feel sorry for her but I couldn’t. I think the interactions and the behaviour of Lucy in part 3 were really well written. I think that it was realistic and I’m glad it wasn’t just glossed over. I was a little worried at one point that it would be handled in the cliche she’s where she belongs now everything is fine kind of way but it wasn’t and I’m so glad.

“Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering the bad things.”

Even though it sounds like I didn’t particularly like the characters I actually did, I often enjoy reading about problematic characters who are written well as much as I do “good” characters. My biggest issue with the book was the writing. If you saw my twitter thread for this book you could probably tell I found it dragged.

The middle of the book was about 30pages too long, the transition to the end was about 10 pages too long and the end was about 20 pages too long. Not only did it drag in places but it also seemed full of pointless descriptions of things that had no relevance. For example the first 3 and a half pages of chapter two described the village Isabelle is from and although the village is somewhat important later on in the book what was said here had no relevance what so ever! This happened fairly frequently throughout the book every few chapters the author would go off track for a few pages describing something or other and the thing would never show again.

Overview; This book was a solid 4 stars until I finished and reflected on it. I think because it was so slow I have to knock it down slightly. I did love the characters and I was really intrigued by the plot but my gripes just let it down slightly. I think that this will be one of the rare times the film might be better than the book but I will have to watch it to see.

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Have you read The Light Between Oceans?

Will you be seeing the film?

What were your thoughts on the book?

Follow me on Instagram @KirstyandtheCatRead and Twitter @KandtheCatRead for updates on what I’m reading.


2 thoughts on “The Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman 

  1. I had many of the same feelings while reading this book…

    “I could never really decide whether I thought it was incredibly loyal of him or incredibly weak”

    I felt the exact same way about Tom. I both loved him and was frustrated with him.

    I also agree that it was overly descriptive at times.

    I really struggle emotionally through this book. As a mother myself, it was heartbreaking to read the last section. It literally broke my heart.

    Great review Kirsty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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