After returning from the frontlines of World War I, Tom Sherbourne looks forward to his new career as a lighthouse keeper on the isolated western shores of Australia: isolated, regimented and alone. But when he meets the beautiful Isabel and is surprised how she is able to draw him out of his hard shell, Tom begins to imagine a fuller life for himself. While at first the couple enjoys having their own personal piece of paradise out on Janus Rock, Isabel becomes more and more depressed after she is unable to have children. Hours after burying her latest stillborn baby, a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying baby girl, perfectly healthy. Isabel quickly latches on to the idea of raising her as their own, as a replacement for the son they had just lost. In order to satisfy his wife’s wild need, Tom agrees, despite his strong doubts and occupational duty.
Three years pass and as Lucy grows, Tom begins to allow the little girl into his heart and his family is content living their simple life at the lighthouse. However, on a visit to the mainland, the couple learns a disturbing story, one of a sad young widow who lost her husband and baby girl at sea over three years ago. Both Tom and Isabel instantly know that the baby is their own Lucy. What follows is an engrossing and gripping tale of a couple torn between doing the right thing and holding on to their desperate dream of a family. Stedman explores the delicate emotions of his characters against the backdrop of a harsh physical environment, creating a truly beautiful novel. A unique story not to be missed.