After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returned to Australia, and in 1920 he took a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey out from the coast. To this island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brought his brave and loving wife Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and a stillborn child who she has only just begun to grieve, Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up, carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom wants to report the man and infant immediately, but Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast, so these two isolated people claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world—and find that their choice has devastated one of them.
"Moral dilemmas don't come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist [M.L.] Stedman constructs her debut."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut."—Booklist (starred review)
"Most impressive is the subtle yet profound maturation of Isabel and Tom as characters."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one."—Maile Meloy
"M.L. Stedman, a spectacularly sure storyteller, swept me to a remote island nearly a century ago.... Reading The Light Between Oceans is a total-immersion experience."—Monica Ali