Phoebe’s Light: Adventures in Freedom, Faith, and History

ArynChristian Fiction5 Comments

Phoebe's Light on tour

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 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.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s CrossingThe 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 19thcentury 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.

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

Ingredients:

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

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

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

My Thoughts on Phoebe’s Light

Phoebe’s Light has a lot about freedom and restrictions. Religious, individual, and parental. I lost count of the number of choices everyone made that could be either wise or foolish, headstrong or admirable determination. Judging from the outside, many could go other way. But seeing thoughts, and watching the outcome allows me to learn from their mistakes. (My preferred method for learning!)
In Phoebe’s Light we join several people on their journey of faith and freedom:
  • Phoebe’s seeking to ‘rescue’ her father and home, and thinks she knows best how to accomplish this. Will she remember to seek the Light?
  • The Captain is seeking freedom from a great burden he created for himself.  He is grasping at anything that might help. This means poor decisions that force him into more and more sad choices.
  • Matthew is not satisfied with the restrictions of the church, and seeks freedom in his own way.
  • Silo, well, Silo is a sweet boy in a miserable situation. Mute, but very observant and kind. He is also the key.
  • Sarah is seeking freedom too. She seems so hard and obnoxious, but I think it her coping method, hiding her hurts.
  • Nathaniel, Great Mary and her father are glimpsed through the journal, each with struggles of their own.

 The Denominational Factor

The Puritans, Quakers and Baptist/Anabaptist dynamics are both interesting and thought-provoking.   Especially as we go back and forth between 1660s and 1760s.
My favorite quote from Great Mary’s journal:
“I do not know what to think, other I do not understand how the Puritans left England because they felt oppressed, and they turned right around and started oppressing Quakers and Baptists. People oppress people. It is in their nature.”
This is sad but true too often. I’m certainly not advocating modern ‘tolerance’ so don’t misunderstand me here.
Can you picture for a minute, the positive impact we could have? If we weren’t caught up in the differences between denominations and even within the same denomination? If, instead we chose to be united in Loving God and sharing God’s Love with the world?
I found this an enjoyable read, and definitely recommend it to those who love history and faith. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, following another generation on (and likely off) Nantucket island.
Phoebe's Light

5 Comments on “Phoebe’s Light: Adventures in Freedom, Faith, and History”

  1. I can picture Nantucket in my mind but I have never been there. I would enjoy reading this. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

  2. What a wonderful write-up to encourage reading and conjure fun and lay the groundwork for some thinking and learning! Nice job Aryn!

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