Tom Sherborne, World War II Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, wants only to forget the war and live a quiet, isolated life. So when he gets the job of lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a tiny island a half-day\’s boat ride from the coast of mainland Australia, seems a perfect fit. The supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leave might be granted every other year at best.
Tom\’s only companion is his young, loving and vivacious wife, Isabel. They are very much in love and very happy with each other and their life on the island. They hope for children, but after several years, two miscarriages and a stillborn birth, they reluctantly give up hope. Tom watches sadly as his young wife suffers from grief. Then, miraculously it seems, a rowboat washes on shore. Aboard are a dead man and a tiny living baby girl.
Tom feels strongly that they should report the dead man and the baby, but Isabel begs him to keep the child. Against his better judgment he gives in, beginning a cycle of happiness, guilt and fear for them both. They bury the unidentified man and try to push aside the fact that the baby likely has grieving parents somewhere and that they are breaking the law by not reporting their find.
They fall completely in love with the little girl, who they name Lucy, and build their lives around her. For two years they are a happy family. Lucy thrives and is developing into a bright and happy child. Isabel and Tom love parenting her, but Tom is increasingly troubled and guilt-ridden about not reporting finding Lucy and the dead man. Then shore leave is granted and the family of three returns to the small town where they are reminded that there are other people in the world and that their decision has almost certainly ruined the life of one of them.
The book is unique—a bit of a mystery and a love story with unpredictable plot twists. The setting on the beautiful, isolated coast of Australia is a perfect backdrop for this wonderfully written story about good, loving people and decisions that can lead only to tragedy.—Gail Stilwill