The story is about a lighthouse keeper. The time period is just after World War I. The place is a small rocky island off the coast of Australia. Now you want to read the book, right?
The lighthouse keeper is an honest young man who is having trouble escaping the ghosts of his fallen comrades from the war. He feels as if he cheated death and he shouldn’t have. In one of the first scenes, he rescues a woman on the ship he is traveling on as she is about to be sexually assaulted. (This is the famous “Save the Cat” moment. The reader loves him from this point on.) And this is not just any woman.
He continues to rescue things, fastidiously record his lighthouse duties, and fall in love with a girl from the mainland.
Fast forward in the story and he and his wife have had two miscarriages and a stillborn baby when the lighthouse keeper finds a rowboat washed up on his island with a dead man and a live baby in it. Of course he and his wife keep the baby and quietly bury the man, though the lighthouse keeper believes he is doing something very wrong.
They won’t realize how wrong until they accidentally learn the truth about the child’s parents while on shore leave.
This book has so many layers and delights for the serious reader. I love the play on words in the title. The information about lighthouses and how the lights work in those days blends so well into the narrative the reader hardly feels they are learning something. The Light Between Oceans could be the actual light of the lighthouse or it could be the revealing of love between husband and wife, or between parent and child.
This was a great book. Recommended. 5 stars.