I love a good mystery, and when looking into my family history, I found quite a few. Imagine my delight when I found some missing ancestors on foreign shores after a clue in a letter written 100 years ago. Who would have thought that a mention of a snake in the garden the vital key?
My Penny’s worth
Because of my love of research, I felt drawn to read Phoebe’s Light when I saw the synopsis referring to Great Mary’s journal. Clues from the past, written in a diary alluring to a mystery for the main character to solve. I rubbed my hands in glee and expectation of a good read. Added to this I knew nothing about Quakers so my interest increased.
What is it about strong women that men find hard to cope with? Phoebe’s Light certainly has its fill with powerful ladies. Great Mary came through as one trying to live on an island as a pioneer, her tenacity being a driving force in getting matters done, but does her love life suffered for it? Then you have Phoebe’s determination to marry Captain Phineas Foulger and leave her unadventurous life behind causing all sorts of problems for her husband. How does he deal with a headstrong woman? I doubt you will guess the answer to this!
There she blows or does she?
With the tempting lure of adventure and mystery from the blurb, I was surprised that I had to wait until halfway through the book to experience some action. Indeed the slow build up, although introducing the characters and the parts they play in the story, gave me an inkling of what a journey on a whaling ship might have been like. I could understand the crew’s restlessness waiting to sight a whale. I stood in the crow’s nest expectant, but the sea ahead remained devoid of the treasure they sought.
Did I like this book?
I wanted to like this book and continued to read it because I needed to know what the mystery in Great Mary’s journal was. However, at times I found the inclusion of some diary entries superfluous and didn’t always flow in line with the story.
Which character impressed me?
In my opinion, Matthew Mitchell lifted the book with his flawed character, and I enjoyed the honesty that he bought to the storyline about his faith.
Who might like this book?
I think readers who are interested in 17th-century American history might like this book, with its emphasis on Quakers, Nantucket and Whaling.
Thank you, Suzanne Woods Fisher, for writing Phoebe’s Light. I will give it 4 stars.
*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*
Suzanne has a great free giveaway, see the end of this post for details.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Book
Title: Phoebe’s Light
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical romance
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.
The book of secrets
Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way—just in time.
In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
A Stroll down Petticoat Row
Thirty years ago, I talked my sister into going on a trip to Nantucket Island. It’s one of those places that had always intrigued me. As a girl in the 1930s, my mother’s family vacationed in Nantucket; she even has a lightship basket to show for it. I expected the island to be interesting and beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. But something else happened as I walked down Centre Street one morning. This island captured my imagination in a way that’s hard to put into words. At the risk of sounding a tiny bit sun touched, I could practically see 19th century people on the roads, hear the “thee’s and thou’s” in their speech, even smell the strong scents of a bygone century—the musky perfume of rendered whale oil, the burning wood of the blacksmith, all mingled with the bracing sea air.
Centre Street has a local nickname: Petticoat Row. It comes from the 1800s, when men were at sea for long periods and women stepped into their shoes to keep businesses going. Nantucket women gained a reputation for being strong and capable. Their competence was encouraged by the Society of Friends (Quakers), the island’s dominant religion, which believed in the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. That hasn’t changed. Today, half of all Nantucket businesses are run by women.
From inspiration to paper
Petticoat Row stuck in my mind, and eventually became the hook to contract a series of historical fiction with Revell Books. The ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series covers the rise and fall of Nantucket’s whaling period, when it became the wealthiest port in the world.
First up is Phoebe’s Light, releasing in February 2018, a novel about a spirited young woman who seeks her fortune only to find out she already had it.
After reading about Phoebe, I hope you’ll consider planning a trip to Nantucket (though try to go off-season. The population swells five times in the summer!). When you go, include a stop at the Petticoat Row Bakery (35 Centre Street)—the very location where Phoebe grew up, albeit a few centuries ago. Don’t leave the island without trying the Morning Glory Muffins, an island favorite. So worth the trip!
Nantucket’s Famous Morning Glory Muffins
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
2 cup grated carrots (4 large)
1 apple, shredded
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
Sift together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the fruit, carrots and nuts and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with oil and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and blend well.
Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with muffin papers. Fill each cup to the brim. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. These muffins needs 24 hours to ripen their full flavor. They freeze extremely well.
Recipe courtesy of Pamela A. McKinstry, Sconset Café
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