Encompassing everything that a good novel should, M..L, Stedman`s book takes you fairly and squarely into the world of 1920`s Perth, a state with a rich and developing history and into the lives of Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel, an engrossing if somewhat flawed couple, who you will be captivated by and equally at times frustrated by.
The early lives of Tom and Isabel are beautifully backlit by Stedman who also enriches the readers experience with a detailing of the land and times that they live in and a description of the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families that pays homage to all who have served as such.
Tom and Isabel set out for Janus with high hopes, perhaps more realistic on Tom`s part and more idealistic on Isabel`s, never the less they are in love, newly married and with high expectations for the family they are certain they will have. Unfortunately dreams are not always reality and the vividly described blows that are delivered to Tom and Isabel prepare neither them or the reader for the page turning journey which is about to commence when a small boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a healthy, squalling baby girl.... the story at this point takes off as right and wrong, good and bad, want and desire all clash in a great big ball of emotional blackmail, with no close neighbours, few visits to the mainland and an infrequent supply boat schedule, what would be impossible in a bustling City becomes very possible indeed on a deserted Island.There are always however inadvertent signs that all may not be as it seems, and it is on one flawed possession that Tom, Isabel and Lucy`s existence is thrown asunder.
This is a wonderfully written book, with characters as real as your next door neighbours would be in the 1920`s, they are drawn with a vividness and a realism that allows all their characteristics to be shown, nothing is vetoed and nothing is left out. A page turner with twists and turns galore this book will have you thinking, it pulls you in does this storyline and it refuses to let you go, not that you`d want to. There was not a dull or boring moment and I read it not knowing until the very last page what would eventuate. It is a book that will warm your heart but not in a mawkish way, the power of love is a very strong theme in this book and it is just handled so well.It is a book that explores the meaning of right and wrong and really has you grappling with what in any number of situations in this book you the reader would do.
Oprah Winfrey recently chose this as her Best Summer Read for 2012, I can understand why. Available in Trade Paperback, it is well worth your reading time.