The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman Book Club Kit Discussion Questions


The Light Between Oceans  is available as one of the Gold Coast Libraries’ Book Club Kits.

**Please be aware that book discussion questions may contain spoilers**

Synopsis: Imagine it is 1926 and you are living on a remote island off Western Australia, manning a lighthouse. It would have many problems involving loneliness, lack of familiar comforts, lack of stores, and lack of social contact. Maybe you would feel as if the seclusion of the island was separating you from normal society and its rules or maybe you would feel it was protecting you.


Tom Sherbourne needed the peace and quiet after spending 4 years as a soldier on the Western Front and he copes well, being meticulous with the care he takes of his equipment and in the operation of his job. He feels that Janus rock is allowing him to stay and he loves the wildness of the island and the rhythm of the light.


Soon after arriving he meets, Isabel, an energetic young girl, who he marries and takes to the island with him. Isabel also enjoys the remoteness, but tries to civilise it and make it her own. Life is happy for the couple until Isabel suffers multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth. Then a life boat with a dead body and a crying baby is washed up on the shore. Isabel sees this as a gift from god, but Tom wants to report the matter in his log book. He agrees to wait an extra day………….


Discussion Questions:

  1. One of the novel’s main characters is Janus Rock and the lighthouse. How do they shape the outcomes for Isabel and Tom. What characteristics of Tom and Isabel make life on Janus Rock so appealing to them.


  1. When Isabel first moves to the island she draws a map giving new names to different parts of the island, whereas Tom felt that the island wasn’t his to name, he was just there to take care of it. Is this a big difference in viewpoints of the world?


  1. Rules are vital to Tom as he feels they stop us from becoming savages. Do you agree? Does it relate to their conflicting opinions with what to do with Lucy?


  1. The characters in the novel go through a lot of emotional turmoil. Did your sympathy for the characters change as the story broadened out into the world outside Janus rock?


  1. The novel shows us that the world is not black and white. Do you agree with that?


  1. The author is also showing us how our decisions affect other people. Lucy’s family are caught in the middle when Hannah claims Lucy as her own. How must they feel when they find out the truth?


  1. Did you agree with the way Grace/Lucy was separated from Tom and Isabel?


  1. Were you disappointed with the way Isabel treated Tom when he was arrested?


Helpful Links:

Publisher’s site

Review on Good Reads