Tom is the caretaker of a lighthouse and lives on an isolated island with his wife Isabel. When a boat appears with a dead man and a baby, Tom wants to report it. Isabel pleads with him to let her keep the baby and raise it as her own. Tom knows it is against the law, but relents since his wife suffered 3 miscarriages.
While in isolation, they can pretend their actions have no consequences. However, once back in tow, it becomes evident that the implications of one act will affect the entire town in some way.
The book was well written in an artful way. It was very descriptive but I felt like the book was as tedious as trudging through knee-high snow. For example, when the author described some scenes and I wondered where the story was going. Was this important to the story? Does not seem to be. Does this give me additional insight into the character? Not much.
The pace was so slow, almost sluggish. In the first chapter, they find the baby. Based on that, I thought the story would have move faster than it did. Then the second chapter goes back to the time when Tom first started working at the lighthouse, before he met Isabel. There was so much build up, but the ending seemed rather flat, as if it fizzled out like a lukewarm, stale soda.
While all the characters experience different degrees of pain and suffering, the story was the most tragic for Isabel. Not that Isabel had done anything to endear herself to me, but I felt sorry for her desperate desire to have children. Three pregnancies which ended in miscarriages/stillbirth had to be heart wrenching. She had so much love to give a child, but desperation and isolation made her crazy.
When I started this book, I had no real expectations. I had a feeling that it would not end well since the whole plot line was centered on the consequences of not reporting the missing baby.
What good could come of that?
When I finished, I was not surprises that the story had no winners. While the story was interesting, I did not find that I identified with the characters. Tom had a screwed up childhood and acted as if he did not deserve any goodness in his life. On the other hand, Isabel was spoiled as if the world owed her.
Should you buy? If you like reading emotionally charged books that lean towards being depressing, you will enjoy this book. I could not rate this book higher because I like books with a decidedly happier ending.
Paperback: 345 pages
Publisher: Scribner (April 2, 2013)