by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

How did you enjoy the first nine chapters? The prologue was pretty interesting, wasn’t it? We can see, right from the beginning, that Isabel is going to want to keep the baby that washed up on the island. Meanwhile Tom, feeling the weight of his responsibilities as a lighthouse keeper, wants to report the baby’s arrival. How do you think it will affect the pair if they follow Isabel’s wishes instead of Tom’s?

I thought some of the most interesting parts of this first section were the descriptions of Tom’s duties as a lighthouse keeper. Can you imagine living on an isolated island for months at a time? Tom finds solace being alone on the island and completing the daily tasks, but I think I would go crazy.

I was interested in the life of a lighthouse keeper, so I did a little research. On the Australian National Maritime Museum’s blog and I found a fascinating post about a lighthouse keeper who worked during the same time period as Tom. It shows some cool pictures and a page from the lighthouse keeper’s log book. I also found this booklet about the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families in New South Wales, Australia. It’s long, but I think the photos and information (based on interviews with people who worked and lived at the lighthouses) are worth it.

Goods Island Lighthouse
The lighthouse on Goods Island, Australia, around 1909.

Were you surprised that an outgoing woman like Isabel would be willing to live on a remote island? So far, Tom and Isabel’s relationship is really sweet. I felt sorry for Tom wanting to help Isabel recover from her miscarriage, but not knowing how. Wasn’t it sweet that he brought the piano tuner to the island?

What did you think about the fact that Isabel decorated the map and created new names for the different parts of the island? Don’t you think it shows how imaginative and playful she is?

Are you excited to keep reading? Let me know what you thought about the first section.

I hope you’ll join us next week as we read Part 2.

4 Responses to “The Light Between Oceans, Week 2”

  1. Carrol

    I am really enjoying the book. Right from the beginning, the author drew me in. I have to say I am worried about Isabel encouraging Tom to keep this secret of the baby. It goes against all of Tom’s regular activities. Clearly, he doesn’t feel very comfortable about the decision.

    Thanks for the interesting article about William Norgate. I cannot imagine living in such a secluded envoronment. How sad that he only lived for two years after his retirement. I am sure he had some great stories.

    I was really surprised that Isabel was willing to live on the island. She is so full of life. Obviously, she really loves Tom and wants to learn all she can about
    light-keeping. I am not convinced Tom appreciated her “creativity” with the map!

    I am looking forward to reading the next section!

    • Erin K.

      I am so glad that you are enjoying he book, Carrol!

      I’m glad you were able to peruse some of the extra links. I was so fascinated with the idea of living in a lighthouse after starting this book!

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of Tom and Isabel as the book progresses!

  2. Lauren

    I started the book with an audio version narrated by an Australian. Very cool way to fall into the story! I want to read faster than I have time to listen, though, so back to trusty paperback, it is! It’s much easier to transition between the multiple viewpoints in the actual book vs the audio.

    I find Tom’s experiences in WWI, and the connections he’s making to his current life, interesting, particularly because that’s an era that doesn’t get covered much in American History.

    I, too, am surprised that Isabel is so comfortable living on the island. I can’t imagine going through multiple pregnancies like that. But perhaps the inherent privacy makes up for the potential loneliness.

    The map was an interesting foretaste of the differences they have in regard for rules and regulations, and for Tom’s inclination to let Isabel’s wishes override his.

    I’m excited to see what we will learn about Lucy as time goes on, especially how she ended up in that boat.

    • Erin K.

      Lauren, thanks for commenting!

      I am horrible at listening to audiobooks, so I always end up just reading the book version. But, the audiobook seems awesome!

      I totally agree with your thoughts about Tom and Isabel and their differences in regards to following rules. The map perfectly shows how they are different.

      I hope you are still enjoying the book. I can’t wait to hear what you think of how Lucy arrives in the island!

      Thanks again for leaving your thoughts!

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