** The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman


Let’s stay in the Southern hemisphere and move West, to Western Australia, for The Light Between Oceans, the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who one day find a baby in a rowboat drifting by their isolated island, and decide to keep it. The setting, to start, is magnificent, between the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean. The hero, the lighthouse keeper, a WWI veteran, has seen many horrors and retains a stoic but perfectly gentle manner. The many scenes of parenthood are captured with exquisite tenderness and authentic details. So far so good.

But the story line is most improbable, relying on so many amazing coincidences (starting with how a baby can be alive in a boat with her dead father). And the overly sentimental descriptions of motherly love and melodramatic female emotions turned me off. I imagine that less cynical souls would enjoy the book more than I did.

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