by M.L. Stedman
In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. 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 stillbirth, 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…and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby (from Goodreads)
In early June, I was graciously granted permission by Simon & Schuster, Inc. (via Netgalley) to read an ARC of this book. Since the publish date was not until August, I decided to wait before I read it. Every time I would go to my to be read list, this book was begging - pick me! pick me! The overview was so enticing and I finally decided I could not wait any longer.
I had a roller coaster of emotions for Tom & Isabel. I laughed during their early marriage. I was sad during Izzie’s miscarriages and stillbirth. I was hopeful for their marriage when the little baby showed up, no matter the circumstance. And finally, I was frightened for this family when their world starts to fall apart. What should a reader wish under these circumstances? Should the little lost baby stay with Tom & Isabel? Or should she be returned to her birth mother?
What an amazing story from a debut author. Her writing is picturesque and draws the reader in from the very beginning. This was a book I could not put down. I took it with me when I ran errands, HOPING for long lines and wait time so I could read. I took it to the bathroom (TMI?) and if I could have figured out how to read it in the shower, I would have done so.
Ms. Stedman, if this is an indication of what you will have for us with future books, I’ll be waiting.
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, along with Netgalley, for allowing me to read this ARC for my unbiased review.
Publish Date: August 7, 2012.
My rating: 5 of 5