DreamWorks is looking to pick up the rights to M.L. Stedman’s debut novel The Light Between Oceans. Variety reports that the studio is in exclusive talks to acquire the rights, with Harry Potter’s David Heyman set to produce alongside Jeffrey Clifford through his Heyday Films banner. The story takes place on a remote Australian island following World War II and “follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife who are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and an infant. When they decide to raise the child as their own, the consequences are devastating.”
It sounds like a rather harrowing story, and I can see why DreamWorks was so eager to pick the book up. DreamWorks co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider noted that they imagine the story as “a sweeping, classic film,” and Heyman definitely has a solid track record. Hit the jump to read the synopsis for The Light Between Oceans.
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel. [Amazon]