Saturday 4 August 2012


ISBN: 9781451681734
Publication: Scribner
Pages: 343 
Formats Available: Hardback
Publication Date: July/August 2012

BLURB from Netgalley

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel-the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the dead man and the infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim the child as their own and name her Lucy, but a rift begins to grow between them. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world...and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby.
M.L. Stedman's extraordinarily compelling characters, still trying to make sense of life in the wake of so much death in the war, are imperfect people seeking to find their north star in a world of incomprehensible complexity.

My daughter, Sandra, or as you probably know her better "Jeanz" suggested that I request this one from Netgalley . I have to admit that if I had seen this book in a store I may have totally missed it and not picked it up by going on initial feelings from the cover. It was when I read the blurb that I felt drawn to the book. Isabel has had two miscarriages and one stillborn child and is obviously devastated and wanting a child with all her heart.
It seems like the "fates" are aware of this and send a boat with a dead man and a live crying baby in it. Is it a sign that this baby is for Isabel. Would it be so wrong for her to keep this child, that's all alone in the boat and needs her to survive. 
Miscarriage and stillbirths are controversial topics but M. L. Stedman  deals with them extremely well and in a heartfelt considerate way in my opinion, unlike some books who just use the subjects to create tumultuous  drama in their books. 
Whilst reading this book you go through a whole host of emotions with the characters, their sadness, and confusion at why they seem unable to have a healthy child and you genuinely feel for them.
I would say this is one of the best books I have read this year! I really loved the peaks and troughs within this book and am truly glad it had a happy ending even though it was tinged with sadness.
So did I enjoy it? YES! Would I recommend it? Yes, I have nagged my daughter to read this one too so she has requested the title from Netgalley and lucky has been accepted to read and review it too. Will definitely be recommending to my sister who is also a great reader when the book is available to buy. Would I read more by this Author? Definitely if this book is a good example of their work. If there was to be a BK 2 would you read it? Yes!

Due to be published July/August. 

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