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M. L. Stedman

Autor(a) de The Light Between Oceans

4+ Works 7,230 Membros 507 Críticas 6 Favorited

About the Author

Originally from Western Australia, M L Stedman has lived in London for many years, where she worked as a lawyer. She first decided to try creative writing in 1997. In the years that followed she did a few writing courses, and some of her short stories were published in anthologies. The Light mostrar mais Between Oceans is M L Stedman's debut novel, draws inspiration from the landscape of her native Western Australia. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos

Inclui os nomes: M. L. Stedman, M. L. STEDMAN

Obras por M. L. Stedman

Associated Works

The Light Between Oceans [2016 film] (2016) — Original book — 53 exemplares

Etiquetado

Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Stedman, M. L.
Nome legal
Stedman, Margot L
Sexo
female
Nacionalidade
Australia
Local de nascimento
Western Australia
Locais de residência
London, England, UK
Ocupações
lawyer
writer

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ML Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London.

Membros

Discussions

The Light Between Oceans em Orange January/July (Setembro 2021)

Críticas

This is a novel that requires the reader to exercise a good deal of empathy in relation to the characters. Such empathy may be easier to come by if you have ever created a child and can feel what that typically does to a person. If you read this novel without that empathy, from an emotional distance, I doubt you will like it.

Set in 1920s western Australia, the central character is a returning soldier from the WWI front lines. Tom Sherbourne survived the war physically intact but longing for quiet and structure, which he finds manning an isolated lighthouse on Janus Rock. The small administrative town on the mainland is hours away by boat, and there he meets a younger woman who will become his wife and move with him to the small island as its only inhabitants, connected to the rest of the world only by a telegraph line and a supply boat that comes every 3 months.

Desperately wanting a child, Isabel instead suffers three miscarriages; the last one at 7 months along. It is shortly after that that a small boat washes up on shore containing a dead man, a live infant, and a woman's sweater. Tom is persuaded by Isabel to at first wait until the next morning to report this, and seeing her with the baby he decides to grant her this. But by morning Isabel has a grander idea. Convincing herself that the sweater means the mother must have drowned, leaving the baby an orphan, and safely delivered to the island by the hand of God, she wants to keep the child and present it to the world as their own. Is this reasonable, no. Understanding that she has been left deeply emotionally affected by her series of miscarriages, the most recent one a very fresh wound, makes her delusions and actions more comprehensible.

Tom has emerged from the barbarity of the war with his sense of morality, if anything, even stronger. He has sworn to himself never to hurt anyone again. He should have the strength of will to resist his wife's pleading, but he cannot. He buries the dead man and hopes to God that his wife's interpretation of events is correct. Of course, it is not, and on a shore break two years later they discover the truth about how the baby and father came to be in the boat, leaving the baby's mother grieving and heartbroken, yet still clinging to hope that her husband and child are somehow alive somewhere.

What follows is a series of tortuous decisions and wrestling with consciences. Depending on the viewpoint, there are betrayals, selfishness, selflessness, recklessness, sacrifice, heroes and villians. At the center is the child, who grows into a young girl. The story is not always elegantly told; Stedman is a first time novelist and is sometimes clumsy and, worse, predictable. But if you can feel the emotions of everyone involved, the story is pretty gripping.

Received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher's Weekly.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lelandleslie | 505 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Great book, but very emotional! My heart was so torn between the feelings of all the characters!
 
Assinalado
mjphillips | 505 outras críticas | Feb 23, 2024 |
Tom Sherbourne is a decorated Australian WWI veteran who is on his way to a remote island, Janus Rock, off the southern coast of Australia to be the keeper of the island’s lighthouse. To get there, he must first transport via ship to Partageuse, where, if he is accepted, he will be taken to the island by a smaller boat to relieve the current lighthouse keeper, who apparently went mad. In Partageuse, Tom meets a young woman named Isabel Graysmark, and he is taken with her. When he receives his first supplies and mail three months later, she has written to him and he writes back, and they make plans to marry when he gets his first leave at the end of his first year.
Still carrying around survivor’s guilt from WWI, as well as issues from his childhood, Tom has trouble opening up fully, despite all of Isabel’s coaxing, although he is clearly in love with her. Even when he takes Isabel to the island, where they are the only inhabitants, he is unable to share his past. Over the first several years they live on the island, Isabel miscarries twice and then has a stillborn son and descends into a dark depression until one day a dinghy washes up on the beach carrying a dead man and a crying baby girl wrapped in a woman’s sweater. Tom wants to alert the authorities immediately, but Isabel convinces him to wait until the next day, by which time she has become so attached the baby, and seeing her so revitalized, Tom overcomes his uneasiness and, against his better judgment, they raise the girl, who they name Lucy. They write to Isabel’s parents about the birth of their granddaughter rather than that they buried a stillborn grandson. Tom buries the dead man near the beach where long-ago victims of a shipwreck are buried. Tom goes to set the boat adrift in the sea and discovers a silver rattle, which he gives to Lucy.
During the family's first leave from Janus Rock two years after Lucy turned up, Tom learns that a local woman, Hannah Roennfeldt, daughter of the wealthiest man in Partageuse, has been mourning the mysterious loss of her husband Frank, an Austrian ex-pat, and their two-month old daughter, Grace. Frank had jumped into a boat to get away from a drunken mob of WWI veterans who assailed him , calling him a Hun. Given the timing of the disappearance, when he hears the story, Tom has no doubt that Frank was the dead man in the boat, and that Lucy is Hannah's daughter, Grace. He wants to tell Hannah Roennfeldt the truth, but Isabel is outraged by this idea, convinced that it will harm Lucy. He acquiesces once again and they return to Janus Rock. However, a note turns up in Hannah’s mailbox indicated that her daughter is alive and safe.
The Sherbourne family returns to the mainland again two years later, when Lucy is four, and this time, they encounter the tortured Hannah. Unable to keep silent any longer, Tom leaves Hannah Lucy/Grace’s silver rattle. The rattle is photographed for the newspaper, and a deckhand on the boat that supplies the Sherbournes tells his mother he saw the rattle on Janus Rock, and she convinces him to tell the police in order to collect the generous reward offered by Hannah’s father. The police turn up on Janus Rock, and Tom lies to them and takes all the responsibility for not reporting the appearance of the boat with the dead Frank and baby Lucy. More unfolds afterwards; in the end, Lucy-Grace is returned to Hannah, and Tom does a short stint in jail, and he and Isabel move away. They eventually buy a farm and live out the rest of Isabel’s life there, another 20 years, until she succumbs to cancer. Shortly after he buries Isabel, Lucy-Grace visits, hoping to see both of them. She herself has an infant son, and had been in the service in WWII, and shared with Tom that she had some memories of her time with Tom and Isabel. The ending is neither uplifting nor sad, but has a melancholy feel to it. Well written, dynamic characters, interesting story line.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
bschweiger | 505 outras críticas | Feb 4, 2024 |
A very moving and quickly read story. It had me in tears at the end. Kirkus: The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction.Moral dilemmas don?t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut. Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia emotionally scarred after distinguished service in World War I, so the solitary work of a lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock is attractive. Unexpectedly, Tom finds a partner on the mainland, Isabel; they marry and hope to start a family. But Isabel suffers miscarriages then loses a premature baby. Two weeks after that last catastrophe, a dinghy washes ashore containing a man?s body and a crying infant. Isabel wants to keep the child, which she sees as a gift from God; Tom wants to act correctly and tell the authorities. But Isabel?s joy in the baby is so immense and the prospect of giving her up so destructive, that Tom gives way. Years later, on a rare visit to the mainland, the couple learns about Hannah Roennfeldt, who lost her husband and baby at sea. Now guilt eats away at Tom, and when the truth does emerge, he takes the blame, leading to more moral self-examination and a cliffhanging conclusion.A polished, cleverly constructed and very precisely calculated first novel.… (mais)
 
Assinalado
bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |

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Estatísticas

Obras
4
Also by
1
Membros
7,230
Popularidade
#3,387
Avaliação
3.9
Críticas
507
ISBN
103
Línguas
15
Marcado como favorito
6

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