The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
I came across this book because the trailer for the movie (which was released last September) was EVERYWHERE on my Facebook feed and I have a slight (okay, enormous) crush on both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. For the former, I blame my husband for getting me into X-Men movies and for also looking somewhat similar to Michael Fassbender (so yes, I’ve always had a thing for red-headed men with beards and irresistibly cute and piercing eyes that do that “wink and dance” thing when they smile… it’s no coincidence that Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is my favorite movie, y’all). He is also a very talented actor and plays a conflicted, hardened character with a shady moral compass SO well (see Macbeth, Magneto, Slow West, The Counselor). He also speaks German in Inglorious Basterds and it is probably the only time I can remember in my whole life thinking that German has sounded attractive. I DIGRESS.
In fairness, I feel I need to add that Alicia Vikander is astonishing, striking, and lovely and a magnificent actress who steals the spotlight in everything I’ve seen her in (particularly Ex Machina and The Danish Girl). I also just found out that these two have been ACTUALLY IN A RELATIONSHIP for two years and am now swooning with excitement and happiness because it just makes their casting in this movie all the more perfect.
Anyway, I read this book in three days flat. It was that engrossing and well-written and heart-wrenching. This book is not messing around. You probably already know the basic plot, but here it is: a young lighthouse keeper and his wife are devastated by their inability to have children, and then suddenly a boat washes up on the shore with a dead man and a baby girl. Miracle, right? Except, as the story goes on, we learn that the child’s mother is alive and grieving. I related so strongly to both mothers, and especially to Tom, the steadfast, loyal, loving husband, who is willing to sacrifice so much in his desires to do the right thing for both his wife and the devastated widow. As someone who is fiercely, passionately loyal to her family and my own baby girl, but also who has worked hard to uphold the truth and the importance of being fair, I was completely torn with sympathy and longing for everything to work out for these characters, especially for the little girl. But this is not a situation where everyone can be happy. I won’t say any more, except that I felt the ending was right, and I was grateful to the author for writing with such compassion, truth, and feeling. This is absolutely a book I would recommend, without question. And I can’t WAIT for the library to get the movie.