Friday Book Whimsy: Book Challenge

While aimlessly perusing Pinterest (which provides recipes that I pin but almost never make, but at least doesn’t get political), I came across something called The Book Challenge. Loving a good challenge almost much as I love a good book, I’m taking the challenge, and sharing it with you for the next few weeks…..

Best book you read last year: I reviewed my post of January 3, 2020, in which I shared my five favorite books of last year. After considerable thought, I decided that my favorite book was Evvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda HolmesI like how the author empowered the protagonist. I liked the baseball tie-in. I liked all of the characters. I liked the ending.

A book that you’ve read more than three times: I have read very many books more than three times. I read very quickly, which allows me to read many books, but also results in me not always remembering them very well. I can — and do — reread books very often. But there are those kind of books, and then there are the kind of books that I reread because I love them so much. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, is one such book. I guess I love the atmosphere created by the author. Who gets any creepier than Mrs. Danvers?

Your favorite series: Oh, I love so many series. I’m a big mystery reader, and once I read a book that I like that is part of a series, I must read them all, and in order. But if I have to choose, I pick the Inspector Gamache series written by Louise Penny. Gamache solves mysteries in the small town of Three Pines outside of Montreal. There are 15 books in the series, with another book being released in September. Inspector Gamache is kind, fair, loving, and smart as can be.

A book that made you happy: Britt-Marie Was Hereby Fredrik Backman, made me very happy, and gave me a character that I think of very often. Britt-Marie left her cheating husband, and handled it by being very OCD and critical. That is, until she ends up coaching a terrible kids soccer team. She is surrounded by odd characters and a life that is definitely not made for someone who likes things just so. How she lands on her feet was absolutely delightful.

A book that made you sad: I tend to not choose to read books that make me sad. I also avoid movies with sad endings. No thank you to Terms of Endearment or Steel Magnolias, thank you very much. The Light Between the Oceans, by M.L. Stedman, thankfully, didn’t involve death by cancer. But it was a very sad story about a woman who has been unable to carry a child to birth who finds a boat carrying a dead man and a living baby at the lighthouse where she and her husband live and work. They decide to keep the baby, telling no one of its existance. Things don’t work out well. Very sad.

Continued next Friday….


Friday Book Whimsy: The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans, a novel by M.L. Stedman, is the story of love, loss, despair, hope, and redemption. While I wouldn’t call it the saddest book I’ve ever read, it would rank among the most poignant. And it definitely is a story I won’t soon forget.

Tom Sherbourne returns to his home in Australia after surviving the horrors of World War I, filled with guilt. Why did he survive? He takes a job on a tiny and isolated island off the southern coast of Australia where he takes care of the lighthouse. Doing something good for others helps him forget his past. It is a quiet and lonely existence. On one of his trips back to the mainland, he meets – and eventually marries – Isabel, a young woman looking for a change in her life and eager to have a family. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. Isabel suffers miscarriage after miscarriage, and finally has a stillbirth after which she is unable to have children. Her sadness is almost beyond bearing.

So it seems like a miracle when a boat drifts up to the isolated island carrying a dead man and a living baby, cold and hungry. They bury the man and nurse the baby back to health. Isabel thinks it’s a miracle and believes they are meant to be parents to that child. She is convinced, and subsequently convinces a reluctant Tom, that the mother is dead and that the child would be placed in an orphanage if the truth was known by the authorities. They stay mum, and raise the child as their own.

When the child – whom they name Lucy – is 2 years old, they return for a visit to the mainland, and what they learn there changes their lives forever. Not only their lives, but the lives of several others. They face a moral dilemma.

The Light Between Oceans was a difficult book to read, because there was no right or wrong answer. It was a classic Solomon’s baby scenario. No bad guys; all good guys. No win.

The author’s writing was beautiful. Her descriptions made me understand exactly what it felt like to be so lonely and isolated, and to have a great need to love and be loved.

As far as I am concerned, the book ended about the only way it could. It was a tear-jerker, and that’s no lie. I can recommend this book with that caveat.

It has been made into a movie starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz, and it was largely filmed in Australia. I can’t decide whether or not to watch the movie….

Here is a link to the book.