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The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • customer reviews
This months-long New York Times bestseller is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page,” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
  • Scribner | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451681758 | 
  • April 2013
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ML Stedman's Debut Novel: The Light Between Oceans

ML Stedman sweeps us into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

Read an Excerpt

Light Between Oceans
CHAPTER 1

16th December 1918

Yes, I realize that,” Tom Sherbourne said. He was sitting in a spartan room, barely cooler than the sultry day outside. The Sydney summer rain pelted the window, and sent the people on the pavement scurrying for shelter.

“I mean very tough.” The man across the desk leaned forward for emphasis. “It’s no picnic. Not that Byron Bay’s the worst posting on the Lights, but I want to make sure you know what... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Light Between Oceans includes an introduction, discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

The year is 1926. After four harrowing years on the Western Front, young Tom Sherbourne takes up the post of lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. In the small coastal town on his way to Janus, Tom meets the headstrong, vibrant Isabel. They fall in love, and on his first shore leave they marry, then return to Janus together—both eager to begin their life, cocooned from the rest of the world with just each other, the gulls, and the stars for company. Years later, after two miscarriages and one still birth, Isabel’s grief is all consuming. But one fateful, April morning she hears the sound of cries carried in on the wind: a small boat has washed ashore, its occupants a dead man and a squalling baby girl. Tom wants to report the boat immediately, but Isabel resists, pleading with him to put it off for just one day. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim the girl as their own and name her Lucy—a devastating, resounding choice that forever changes two worlds.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Discuss the novel&r see more

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