Family · The Light Between Oceans

Secrets and Lies

So I just finished an emotionally trying book called The Light Between Oceans by M. L Stedman.
It is a novel set in Australia surrounding a married couple and their secret or as some may perceive it, their lie.
The story follows Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel. Tom is a World War I vet and Isabel is a native girl from Partaguese. Tom is employed to be light keeper on the island of Janus where Isabel later joins him after a short and odd, yet endearing courtship. They have to reside on the island 3 years at a time with supplies being brought out every six months. They are the only residents on this island. It would seem that whatever they do on the island would not have an effect on anyone not on the island but that is not the case.
After years of trying to have a child, 2 miscarriages and 1 stillborn, an infant is washed ashore in a boat with a dead man. Tom, being a man who follows the rules immediately knows that he must report this incident. What keeps him from doing so is the love he has for his wife. This act made me think about how far a person would go for a person they love even if they knew what they are doing is wrong. Isabel is recently mourning their stillborn child and thinks this baby has been sent to them by God as a gift for all of their suffering. She knows the rules just as Tom does but does everything in her power to keep him from reporting the incident.
They keep this secret for about 3 years, during this time, Tom starts to struggle with knowing what they are doing is wrong especially after finding out that the baby’s birth mother is still alive.
Not only have they lied to people who care about them, they are now withholding information from a grieving mother and her family. Isabel refuses to see that what they are doing is wrong. She wants to keep this baby for her own selfish reasons.
This secret, once out,  nearly destroys everyone in its path. I definitely would recommend the novel for anyone who wants to read a good emotional drama. The ending just about threw me for a loop. I definitely have a book hangover after this one.
How long if at all would you have kept a secret like this? If married would you be able to be like Tom and turn a blind eye just so that your spouse would be happy? If you were Isabel would you expect for your spouse to keep this secret for you even if it means contributing to the hurt of an innocent person?
This is the second novel that I have read this year that surrounds a secret that is kept within a family. Although secrets are kept within families, the outcome of the truth is just as bad if not worse as the outcome of a secret kept between strangers. Once the truth is out, families are at risk for being destroyed to the point of no return.
I know firsthand how it can be. My parents kept my adoption from me for 21 years. Once I found out the truth, I was completely devastated and had to literally go thru a healing process. I know it seems that keeping the secret or holding onto the lie is better at the moment but in the end it can destroy more than what was set out to protect.

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