The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman; 2012; $16.00; 343 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978-1-4516-8175-8; purchased from Amazon.com; 12/20/15-1/2/16
Tom Sherbourne is a World War I veteran and lighthouse keeper where two oceans come together off the coast of Australia. On one of his visits ashore he meets and falls in love with Isabel. She moves to the lighthouse with him and they have an idyllic life, spending time alone together. Isabel has three difficult pregnancies and miscarries each time. One day a boat washes ashore with a mans body and a small baby aboard. Isabel talks Tom into keeping the baby against his better judgment for a little while. Isabel grows close with the baby and enlists Tom in her deception that the baby is theirs. As the baby grows Isabel grows more and more desperate to keep her, even when they find out that she may be the child of another woman from Isabel’s hometown. Tom is conflicted and attempts to let the mother know that her child is alive anonymously. Things go from bad to worse and one time when they are ashore Tom and Isabel are confronted by the consequences of their actions.
Did I like it? I was struck by the insensitivity of the Isabel and her selfishness and her inability to see anyone else’s perspective. I liked some of the authors depiction of the setting but could not get past Isabel’s personality.
What is with the title of the review? Isolated on a rock with just one other person for many years and suffering through the pain of three miscarriages gives Isabel a skewed perspective on life.