The Light Between Oceans

Version: Unabridged
Author: M L Stedman
Narrator: Noah Taylor
Genres: Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: August 2016
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Tell Your Friends:


In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the Western coast. 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 still birth, 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. One of them is desperate to find her lost baby. M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully-written novel seduces the listener into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God." But only until the moment we meet the grief-stricken Hannah Potts, mother of an infant named Grace, lost at sea with her father. And then we are swept into a story where there is no right answer, no path that does not lead to unfathomable loss for someone about whom we have come to care intensely. M. L. Stedman's portrayal of time and place is exquisite. Her 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. The end of this novel is both heartbreaking and transcendent.

Reviews (25)

Written by Janice G. on February 23rd, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Really liked the plot as it was complicated. Began the hardback and switched to this audio book and enjoyed it

Written by Emily W on October 5th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Interesting storyline. The historical period and context is not something I would typically read or listen to but I decided to try something new. There were points where I lost interest but it is hard to know whether it was just the storyline or if it was more to do with the narrator. I think the main character was meant to come off as kind of dry and that was expressed via the narrator. I would maybe recommend this book to someone who likes period, crime, love stories.

Wonderful Writing

Written by sarac from Cathedral City, CA on September 12th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Oh, my, this was painful. The grief we cause ourselves by choices we make. The heartache of love turned ugly by not accepting reality. It makes me explore the questions: Is having a child more important than your own happiness? Can one be happy and childless? Age old questions. To have a child ripped away from you is one of the most painful experiences in life, I agree. How we handle the situation is what is important to our quality of life. Superb book.


Written by Ann G on September 9th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I liked the story, in fact I selected it for our bookclub. I listen to audiobooks, during my work commute. I found the narrator very difficult to listen to. He constantly speaks loud and then super quiet, so you have to quickly adjust the volume, over and over. It was very annoying.


Written by Peg K on July 8th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Enjoyed the book but did not like the reading style of narrator. I had to constantly turn up the volume. He lowered his voice so much at the end of a sentence I couldn't hear or understand him. Then when he read normal, I'd have to turn volume down.

Written by kylin f on April 7th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This was a great book! It just took awhile for me to realize that. I had a hard time understanding the narrator's voice at the beginning so I almost quit the book. Strong accent and fluctuates the words to a whisper at times. I'm so glad I stuck with it though! It was a beautiful and painful story to listen to and when it was over I was so sad. Heartbreaking and gut wrenching and so special. I can't wait to see the movie play out in front of me. Once the story started turning and you could see the main plot form the narrator's voice fit perfectly. Tender and loving and you could tell the strength the main male character had through the narrator's voice.

Written by Shonna Dudar on March 15th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I found the first 2/3's pretty slow, until the plot development nearer to the end, that's when it finally gripped me.

Narrator is painful

Written by ER nurse on February 10th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Can't really review the book. I couldn't get passed the narrator. This score is for him.

Written by Jennifer Ferguson on January 19th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I thought I was safe picking a book that was being made into a movie. It was just okay. But I enjoy more plot twists and not so much sad realism.

Worth the effort

Written by Chris B from Sandwich, IL on January 15th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I agree the narrator is difficult to listen to. He's very hard to hear at times and not an exciting voice to listen to. However, if you can stick it out and try to pay attention, the last few chapters are very worth the effort. I imagine the movie will be wonderful.

Author Details

Author Details

Stedman, M L

M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans" is her first novel.