I bought this book because it had good write-ups and I liked the first couple of pages I sampled. the beginning is a really good example of how to start a book and hook the reader in. The descriptions of the remote island off the coast of Australia, the sea and the lighthouse were to die for - it really tapped into that romantic childhood fantasy about living on a lighthouse and being a lighthouse keeper (yes, I know I'm a girl!!!)
But it was the reading on that I found difficult. I found it quite an upsetting book to read and found myself skipping chunks - big chunks - because I needed to know what happened but I couldn't bear to read about it. There are some books that just tap into deep emotions and they're not always ones you want to experience. I'm not going to say more because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't yet read it.
Briefly - Tom, a returning hero from World War One, becomes a lighthouse keeper and meets his wife Isobel, a small town girl, and takes her out to Janus Island where things don't exactly go to plan. Then, one day, a boat washes up onshore containing a dead man and a live baby..... The moral and ethical decisions that the couple make have repercussions no one anticipates.
The novel is beautifully written, but is also somewhat uneven, as you'd expect from a first book, and I found some of the plot elements stretched my credibility at times. But it's a very clever and impressive piece of writing.