This novel, written by M.L. Stedman, is set during the early twentieth century in Western Australia. It is a story of love between a mother and her child and between romantic partners, and of what happens when those loves are lost.
Tom Sherbourne returns as a hero to Australia after World War I but he doesn’t feel like one. Shell-shocked, he only can think of the men that were lost. He takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a remote place where the supply boat only comes once every three months and Tom gets occasional shore leaves at the mainland. Yet he will meet and fall in love with Isabel; marrying her and returning to Janus Rock together. Happy at first, Isabel and Tom become increasingly distraught as she suffers two miscarriages and a stillbirth. Soon afterwards, they hear a baby’s cry from the ocean. A boat with a dead man and a living infant girl wash up on the shore.
Isabel begs Tom to let her keep the girl and raise her as their own, saying that she is a “gift from God”. He reluctantly agrees, forging records to indicate that Isabel delivered the healthy girl from her recent pregnancy. They name the girl Lucy.
Tom, Isabel, and Lucy return to the mainland two years later, discovering that Lucy’s birth mother resides there and is anguished over the loss of her husband and child. What to do: own up to their lie or cover up their theft of the child? The rest of the story plays out, examining moral issues, tragedy, and redemption. A bittersweet tale of what is loved and lost in our lives.