I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit, NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Series: Nantucket Legacy #1
Published by Baker Books on February 6th 2018
Genres: Christian, Fiction, General, Historical, Romance
Source: CelebrateLit, NetGalley
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 Macy, a man whom she loathes.
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.
I have to say I’ve yet to meet a Suzanne Woods Fisher book I didn’t love. She has the ability to create relateable (why does that word insist on red squiggly lines of hate, so it’s not a word it’s Fizzyfied so it’s a word!) characters and settings that tell a story that is timeless. I am sad to say that I ran into a couple of hiccups in this book that frustrate me. I’m more frustrated because it’s not just in Suzanne’s book I am finding these trends but in authors I have read and loved for years. I’m going to sidetrack you here for a moment and talk about this trend across the genre and established authors and not just this book. Why, for the love of tomatoes, do we need to have this ‘character introspection’ so heavily through the story? Example: ‘When she was summoned to go up the balustrade staircase to Sarah’s chamber (there was indeed a mortgage button on the newel post – Phoebe looked for it!), not a squeak could be heard on the wooden stair tread. (She listened for it!) Page 45. I’m not sure where this trend started but I’m seeing it across the board with many tired and true authors. And I’m finding it harder and harder to fall in love with the characters and stories because I’m just so distracted. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like this writing style, but I’m generally less vocal about it than most.
Personal rant aside lets talk book! I love historical fiction. OK, I love words all the words, but this is a genre that I enjoy. There is so much history out there and it’s entirely more enjoyable to learn about it through a good story than a dry textbook. I’ve not read a lot of Quaker fiction before (one book comes to mind and the thee/thou/thy started to drive me batty in it so I was a tidbit worried here) but it’s something that I believe I can find interesting. And I did. And the plain pronouns didn’t really even phase me with this book. Being written predominately in third person it wasn’t overwhelming. Phoebe, however, was a bit overwhelming. I think she was meant to be a sympathetic character but I found it hard to find sympathy for her. Yes, she had to care for her father who was the quintessential Quaker version of the mad scientist, what with a string of failed and half-baked business ventures in his wake. Yes, she had a lot on her plate, not even including the money worries caused by dear ol’ dad. She makes me thing of 1700’s version of a social climber. The Captain was a plain old jerkwad toad nugget. I really never was a fan of him from the beginning and knew by page 95 that he was no good. However, the interplay between now (OK Phoebe’s time) and Great Mary’s time (about 100 years prior) was interesting. I need to continue this series, if for no other reason to read the rest of the journal!
This story was engaging, even if I didn’t care much for a character I feel like I was intended to. From the initial settling of Nantucket Island in Great Mary’s journal to the life of a Quaker woman 100 years later this book draws you into a different time and a different view of faith. I found it so interesting that many who initially settled there did so to get away from the Quakers but then the island became very Quaker. I was even drawn into the idea of life on a whaling sloop, even though I mostly just saw the Captain’s cabin. Suzanne Woods Fisher can still write a book that captures my attention and holds me captive within the pages. She still brings to life characters that can breath my same air. I just need this new writing style that is all the rage to find a new home, away from authors I love.