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Book Rating (182)

Narrator Rating (39)

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: M L Stedman

Narrated By: Noah Taylor

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: July 2012

Duration: 10 hours 24 minutes


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.


  • Emily W

    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.

  • sarac

    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.

  • Ann G

    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.

  • Peg K

    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.

  • kylin f

    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.

  • Shonna Dudar

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

  • ER nurse

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

  • Jennifer Ferguson

    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.

  • Chris B

    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.

  • Hilary Sheaves

    I cannot get used to the narrator. His sentences fall off at the end. It is really hard to get into. I need to read this with my own eyes.