Books Capturing the Romance and Heartbreak of ‘The Light Between Oceans’

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The Light Between Oceans comes out in theaters Friday, September 2 and We. Can’t. Wait. And not just because it stars Michael Fassbender (though, yum). Originally a book written by M.L. Stedman in 2012, The Light Between Oceans is one of those heart-wrenching stories that stays with you long after you finish it.

If you haven’t read the novel, get yourself to a bookstore ASAP. But in the meantime, here’s the movie’s lusciously-beautiful trailer:

Doesn’t it look so good? Fassbender stars as Tom Sherbourne, a WWI soldier who returns from war and falls madly in love with Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander). The two move out to a remote lighthouse where they live in near-isolation. After a few failed pregnancies, Isabel is desperate for a baby. When one washes up on shore one day — along with the body of a dead man — Tom insists they do the right thing and report the shipwreck. But Isabel wants the baby for their own, sending them on a journey that will compromise their morals and possibly their relationship. Things become extra complicated when the mother, played by Rachel Weisz, enters the picture as well.

This is a story about love, hope, deception and what it truly means to be family. We have no doubt that the movie will capture the beauty of Stedman’s writing, which is why we’ll be first in line for tickets on Friday. But for your sake (and ours!) we’ve put together a list of books that are guaranteed to please any fans of this lovely tale.

In honor of The Light Between Oceans premiere, here are four books that capture its spirit of romance, tragedy and heartfelt storytelling:

Two by Two, Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing, October 4, 2016)


Sparks is the master of the sentimental romantic novel, and we’re sure that his latest is no exception. Just like in The Light Between Oceans, parenting and everything that comes with it is at the center of Two by Two. Russell Green is happily married with a beautiful daughter and a respectable job. But when everything falls apart, he’s forced to reexamine his entire life as he embarks on a journey of being a single parent. We’re sure fans of The Light Between Oceans will be drawn to the familial themes in Two by Two, and since it’s a Sparks’ novel, there’s a great chance it will be made into a movie sooner rather than later!



Circling the Sun, Paula McLain (Ballantine Books; Reprint Edition, May 31, 2016)


McLain is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in historical fiction, and Circling the Sun is a great example of why. Set in Kenya in the 1920s, this novel is a fictionalization of the real life aviator and adventurer Beryl Markham (one of the characters in the classic memoir by Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa). In McLain’s novel, Beryl is a remarkable woman, but also a troubled one. Raised in Africa, she has more freedom than most women of her time, but that doesn’t make her lucky in love. To avoid a nasty marriage, she turns to horses and becomes one of the greatest female horse trainers around. Along the way she also has affairs, including one with Denys Finch Hatten, who was already romantically involved with Karen Blixen, the author behind the pen name Isak Dinesen. McLain writes Beryl as a woman unafraid to face the world head on, and her gumption and drive are bound to win over any reader.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press, 2015)

515p3OrN1KL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Hannah’s beloved novel came out last year, but if you’re looking for a wrenching historical read, this one is it. The Nightingale is about two sisters in occupied France during WWII and what they must do in order to survive the war. With her husband away fighting on the Front, Vianne Mauriac is left alone with her daughter in the countryside. When Nazi’s take over her home, she’s placed in impossible situation after impossible situation. But she’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family safe, showing a courage that’s mirrored in her sister, Isabelle. Only 18 years old and struggling to find her place in the world, Isabelle is in Paris when the Nazi’s invade. Caught up in a love affair that eventually turns sour, she channels her energy into joining the resistance movement and saving countless lives. The family themes are reminiscent of The Light Between Oceans, but the two books have something even larger in common: they’re both beautifully told stories that are impossible to put down.

Everything We Keep, Kerry Lonsdale (Lake Union Publishing, August 1, 2016)


The Light Between Oceans is all about how a shipwreck changes everything — which is exactly the premise of Lonsdale’s debut, Everything We Keep. Aimee Tierney is a sous chef with a solid life plan that includes marrying her childhood sweetheart, with whom she’s madly in love. But when he dies in a tragic boating accident, her plans go out the window. Devastated, Aimee struggles to pick up the pieces of her life, even though a small part of her refuses to believe that James is gone. When that part grows, she eventually goes looking for answers with Ian, a photographer she can’t help but be drawn to. Along the way, she uncovers mysteries and learns the truth about James as well as some dark truths about her own life.


Main image via DreamWorks

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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