Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

– From Archived Site – 

The Light Between Oceans: Sad, Beautiful, Lingering

I’ve knocked off one book from my March reading list and it was The Light Between Oceans.  Once I got into this book it basically consumed me until I finished it, emotionally shattered and awash in tears.  In a good way, kind of.

The story is about a childless couple living alone on a small island off the coast of Australia who finds a baby who has come ashore in a small boat along side a deceased man.  The couple decides to claim the baby as their own and the story unfolds from there.

I’ve read some reviews expressing incredulity at the act of keeping the infant rather than reporting the discovery to the authorities.  While this is not a course of action I would have taken, the book credibly establishes the history of the couple such that you can understand how such decision was made.  To me, it’s not about whether what they did was right or wrong; it’s more about can I understand and believe – given the characters background and motivations – how such a choice came about.  The book clearly establishes the path that led to this choice, not to mention the consequences that follow it.

Characterization in this book was top notch.  I really got a strong sense of who the main characters  were, why they were damaged in different ways, and understood their course of action.  I was very impressed how the author was able to generate sympathy for the couple, even though they committed an incredibly selfish act damaging not only themselves, but also a host of other characters in their wake.

Good people sometimes do very foolish things, but does this mean they are bad people?  I think at it’s most basic this is what the story asks you to consider.   The Light Between Oceans asks this question in an engaging, beautifully written, and very affecting manner.  I loved it.  Highly recommend but keep a box of tissues nearby, you’ll need it.


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