Published by Simon and Schuster on July 31st 2012
Genres: Fiction, Historical
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After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
I really wanted to love this book but I just couldn’t. I suppose there was an important lesson learned in the end but really it was just a depressing and heart-breaking story.
Tom is a broken man who doesn’t know how to put down his foot when it matters. The war and his life before Isabel has left him feeling undeserving of love and when he finds someone who loves him, he just can’t say no, even when she should.
Throughout the story Isabel was a very naïve person. Eventually, she herself became a very broken person after losing her three babies View Spoiler »and after the doctor tells her that she is going through an early menopause so she will never have anymore children « Hide Spoiler. I won’t lie to you. I can see why and how she decided it was a good idea to keep a baby who washes up and who she believe didn’t have any parents left and why View Spoiler »even after finds out that Lucy’s real mother is still alive « Hide Spoiler she still can’t do the right thing and tell the truth about Lucy’s parentage.
However, I feel like Tom should have realised that the fact that he felt guilty and torn up over the decision made, and Isabel didn’t, that he should have realised that something wasn’t quite right in the head with his wife. She, who lost her own babies, should have know how valuable those lives were View Spoiler »and should not want to keep the baby away from her real mother « Hide Spoiler.
I want to blame Tom for how far the situation goes but I guess it’s really is hard to witness your wife, who you love more than anything else, struggle through coping with her [their] losses. I think he should have gotten his wife the help she deserved but then again the time when the story was set people don’t really look to psychiatry for people who aren’t “criminally insane”. After all, she loved the child and never hurt her.
In the end, it was hard to feel like there was some kind of happy ending but the lesson learned is “You must not tell lies”.