"When It comes to their kids, Parents are all just instinct and hope" -The Light Between Oceans
Operating a lighthouse on Janus Island ensures a life of solitude. Your only contact with civilization is a supply boat that arrives every 6 months. For the remainder of the time it's you, the ocean, and the burning light atop the lighthouse. For Tom, this was exactly what he was looking for. Returning from a war that did not make sense left him in a state somewhere between the past and the present. Tom welcomed the solitude of Janus Island. It seemed a better proposition then reestablishing into society.
Isabel, a young women, felt constricted by her small town. She wanted adventure, she wanted love, she wanted something besides… This. Falling in love with Tom and moving to an island to work the lighthouse seem like the perfect remedy for her uneasiness. A blissful time between the two of them where they could explore their life together untethered from society. Still somehow the long arm of grief would find this small island.
Sarah was a mother who had tragically lost her husband and baby daughter sea. How could she go on after losing the two closest people to her? She did not care about what others thought or said of her. She knew they thought she had lost her mind and was a rambling mad woman. No matter what others said she would always keep the hope of her family returning. She promised her self she would never stop fighting and looking for her baby. She would never lose hope.
A boat washes up on the shore of Janus Island. A new born baby is inside, cold and wet, but alive. This was the concurrent fulfillment of hopes and dreams. Four lives now intertwined like a Greek tragedy. And the classic question is posed: is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?
The Light Between Oceans is a entertaining, and well written story. It's a classically written love story that captures the incredibly joy and deep pain of human love. This novel took me a little longer than usual to get into and is definitely outside my normal read, but once the plot starts developing I was easily carried along by the current of the story. As a father of 3 I kept being torn with empathy for both Isabelle and Sarah. Ms. Stedman did a fantastic job of bringing out real believable emotion from the characters. The ending was not what I was expecting or hoping for, but it at least brought closure to the story. Carve out a nice bit of time to enjoy this novel and be on the lookout for those lighthouses. They help us avoid danger.
"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:18-22 ESV
I have read this story many times but never put much thought as to why Jesus choose fishermen for his closest disciples. Besides being able to make the catchy analogy of making them "fishers of men" the fishermen aspect of this story did not hold much significance to me. But Crossing The Waters by Leslie Leyland Fields, makes it clear that to real life actually fisherman, there is significant meaning behind Jesus call to these men.
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to leave their nets and follow him, that means something to fisherman. It means dropping their tools, their training, their future. It means dropping their hopes, dreams, and the chance of a successful family business. It means dropping their responsibilities, family expectations, their occupation. It's much more than dropping an object, they are dropping all that they know, their family lineage. When Jesus called to James and John to leave their mending to follow him, that means something to a fisherman. It means they are leaving their tools non-functioning. It means they are leaving the work for their father to do. It means all the work and effort put into setting the nets maybe useless if the fish can just pass through. It means a successful catch could be lost if the nets rip and fail. It's much more than walking away from mending, it means leaving holes in more places than one.
Leslie Leyland Fields is a fishermen. A real fishermen catching real fish in the real waters of Alaska. In her book Crossing The Waters she gracefully leads us through an entire fishing season with her husband and children on the vast Alaskan waters. Leslie captures all the nuances of fishing life, but more importantly exposes us to a fishermen's perspective on what it means to be connected to the water and the lure of of the catch. She sheds light onto what it means to cast your nets everyday and what it would mean to leave the water and those nets behind. As fascinating as it is to be invited into this fishing world, the real catch in this books is how she continues to bring us back to Jesus' call to these first century fishermen. Each time we return to these men, we gain a deeper understanding of what it means for fishermen to encounter Jesus. What it means for a fishermen to feed fish to thousands of hungry people. What it means for a fishermen to be on a raging sea, in a sinking boat, and fearing for your life. What it means for a fishermen to witness the wind and the water they are so use to obey a mans mere words. We learn what it means for fishermen to have empty nets suddenly filled with abundance. In Crossing The Waters we gain a deeper understanding of what it means for a fishermen to drop their nets and leave their mending to follow him.
Leslie has a way of writing that takes us from spectators on the shoreline, to standing in the skiff with the wet spray of the ocean in our face and the smell of fish in the air. Crossing The Water does an excellent job of teaching and enlightening, while still telling a story and providing an enjoyable read. I enjoyed the deeper understandings of the call to "follow me" to these men, these fishermen, while also having the enjoyment of just learning about various aspects of the fishing profession and life as a fishing family. Crossing The Water is a book that you will find yourself recommending to others with an assurance of a positive experience.
Now when I hear Jesus call to these fisherman "follow me", I will no longer hear these words with passing indifference. I will remember that to a fishermen, that means something.
I received Crossing The Waters as a compliment of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this book for my review in the opinions are strictly my own.
Judah Ben-Hur is now the man of the family. With the recent passing of his father, Judah now needs to claim responsibility for the vast estate of the House of Hur. This, of course, was not the ideal time for a young Israelite living in Jerusalem to try and establish himself. The city was a buzz with the news of a new Roman governor who was to rule over Jerusalem. When the triumphal entry of the new ruler went past the House of Hur, young Judah needed to see. While observing from his roof top fate, or maybe providence, caused a roofing tile to dislodge and hit the new governor in the head. Assassination was the cry! In the blink of an eye, young Judah was sent to certain death, sentenced to the belly of a ship, sitting at a oar, a piece in the vast Roman navel fleet. His mother and sister sent to prison.
I love everything about books. The feel of the page between your fingers, the sound of a book spine cracking, even the smell of an old dust jacket. Looking to share that passion with others.