The first thing I have to say is M. L. Stedman is a wonderful writer. His phraseology caused me to fall in love with his words to the point that I was willing to accept a second rate story. However, the story is exceedingly good. Adept at painting word pictures, the writer captured the exact settings at all times. The reader can feel the sea spray, the fog in the woods, the heat from the lighthouse light, see the ground crowded with crawly bugs, the expressions on faces.
The story takes place in circa 1926
as well as a lighthouse and one-acre island off the Australian coast. The Aussie terminology is not overplayed, the
descriptions clarify the differences Americans would find unusual--like
kangaroos, the resourcefulness of a 1920’s war-damaged population, both
physical and mental. A lack of phones,
TV, radios, the ingenuity of the way people functioned without these
things. Flag signals, morse code. Australia
It's my theory that the best books cause a reader to be sympathetic to all the characters, whether “good” guys or “bad” ones. But how about a book where all the characters are “good” as well as “bad?” Human you say? Probably the most human book I’ve read. At least the best-of-humanity human. Entwined are all the truths and all the lies, all the sympathy and empathy of each character for the other. And thankfully, it's not overburdened with a cast of thousands.
This story is a state-of-the-art model for honesty and all its ramifications. “ Extenuating Circumstances” should have been the name of the book. The Light Between Oceans points out the clear path one strives for: honesty, idealism, integrity. As well as how perilous the danger of being idealistic can be. It’s about one tiny decision and how it can effect unintentional collateral damage.