Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Discussion: The Light Between Oceans

This was supposed to be up early (ish) Saturday morning and we were out at my parents' house so I didn't have a chance to sit down and write. I know, I know. Excuses. BUT! I did finish the book for this month and I'm excited to write about it. So here we go...

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

1. Do you think the pregnancy and childbirth losses they went through affect the right or wrong of keeping the baby? How does this affect your thoughts on Tom & Isabel's decisions?

Being pregnant myself, I could understand Isabel's joy when she found out she was pregnant and I could sympathize with her each time she lost a baby. I think those losses definitely had an impact on the Sherbournes and their decision to keep Lucy. And as much as I sympathize with Isabel, I still find myself siding with Tom and his strong desire to report the boat right away. I think that may be because I've always been a rule follower. Because of their decision to keep Lucy, I had a pit in my stomach for most of the book in anticipation/dread of what could happen each time they arrived back in Partaguese.

2. Janus Rock is named for Janus, the Roman God of doorways, “always looking both ways, torn between two ways of seeing things.” (page 65) How does this information impact your reading of The Light Between Oceans? What could it mean for the characters in our novel?

When I realized the meaning behind Janus, all I could picture in my mind was Tom. He's heartbroken for the pain he feels that he's caused his wife, but also the pain that he may be (and later finds out he is)  causing another woman. I also can see this juxtaposition in Tom when he's looking back on what all has happened in his life and everything that could be coming. The foreshadowing of the pain that Tom's causing both women in the novel, definitely ties into Janus and how he had two choices and he was ultimately going to cause someone pain. The question is who would it be? His wife, the woman he loves or the true mother of Lucy-Grace?

3. When Isabel tries to get Tom to open up about his family, he responds: “I’ll tell you if you really want. It’s just I’d rather not. Sometimes it’s good to leave the past in the past.”(pages 44-45) Do you think it is possible to leave the past in the past? What does this tell you about Tom's character?

I think we as humans can try to leave the past in the past, but there's really no way to actually forget about it. That being said, it also seems that men, as a whole, are able to forget things easier. My husband won't remember the fight we had last week, but I will remember why we were fighting. When we talk about it, he says he doesn't remember because it's not important. Valid point.

But as far as Tom goes, this shows us a lot about who he is and the pain he experienced in his earlier years, especially during the war. We can start to understand the pain that Isabel's family feels when their two sons didn't make it home after the war. But to understand Tom's pain from the war, one would have to experience the horrors of war themselves. This makes Tom the man, husband, and father that we meet and know in the book.

4. What did you think of the main characters’ reactions when they discover the truth about Lucy?

I was surprised that Tom didn't side with Isabel more readily. Isabel says that they are the only family Lucy has ever known. While Tom may agree to that, he also feels a stronger urge to return Lucy to her rightful mother...even if that means breaking his wife's heart.

5. Were you surprised by Isabel’s final decision to admit her role in the choice to keep Lucy—freeing Tom, but losing her child forever? Why or why not? What would you have done? 

I was and wasn't surprised to learn of Isabel's decision to admit her role. I had always hoped that she would. However, I can understand the longing she had for a child and then to see her husband ruin her chances in ever keeping "her" child would've been one of the toughest decisions to make. While I can understand her longing and can sympathize with her pain of losing Lucy, I also started to see Isabel as our antagonist in this section of the book. Tom just wanted everything to be okay with his soul and with his family. It's because of him that Lucy was able to have known the love of multiple parents and grandparents.

I'm not entirely sure what I would've done. While I know the outcome of this book, I want to say that I would allow my husband to send the report/alert when the baby first turned up...but the pain of having lost another child would've probably hindered my decision making ability. Even if I had not been able to give up that child when she first arrived, I'd like to think that when I found out that her mother was still alive, I would've done the right thing and given her back. But like with most things...until you're in that situation, it's hard to know what would be done.

6. What did you think of the conclusion of the novel? What emotions did you feel at the story’s end? Did it turn out as you expected? Were you satisfied?

I thought the end of the novel was very fitting. I was satisfied in seeing that even though Isabel, at one point, thought that her life would not be fulfilled without a child, she really was able to find peace with herself and Tom. Their lives were simple and beautiful at their farm once Isabel was released from the hospital. I definitely wasn't expecting this for an ending, but I feel it was wrapped up in a way that was definitely believable.

Thanks for joining us for this month's book club discussion! If you have any comments/input on your thoughts about the book, please comment below! I'd love to hear what you have to say.


Happy Tuesday!

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