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.
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.
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First book in Nantucket Legacy series
Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the first book in the Nantucket Legacy series. On September 8, 1767 on Nantucket Island, Phoebe Starbuck, a Quaker, turns eighteen. Her father, Barnabas Starbuck presents her with Great Mary’s journal (her great grandmother). It passes from one generation to the next to the one who would benefit most from Great Mary’s wisdom (it is a shame that Barnabas never read it). Phoebe is excited to see that Phineas Foulger, captain of the Fortuna, has returned to the island. Phoebe fancies herself in love with the older widower and hopes to finally capture his attention. After a short time, Phineas and Phoebe are wed and set sail on the Fortuna. Phoebe has longed for adventure her whole life, but she soon discovers that life at sea does not suit her (she suffers from mal de mer). She spends her days in her quarters with the comfort of Great Mary’s journal. Matthew Macy and Phoebe were once betrothed to one another until Matthew turned away from God. Matthew, though, has never stopped caring for her. When Barnabas asks him to join the crew of the Fortuna to keep an eye on Phoebe, Matthew agrees. Phoebe is in for a life altering journey, and she will soon need the wisdom in Great Mary’s journal and help from Matthew to aid those she loves.
Phoebe’s Light is a captivating historical novel. It was fascinating to go back to this time period and read about life on Nantucket Island. The author did a wonderful job at integrating the diary entries into the book. I was afraid the entries would pull me out of the story, but it did just the opposite. I kept wanting to know what else was in the diary and what would happen next to Phoebe. Phoebe’s Light well-written and it has a nice steady pace with vivid descriptions of the island, people, the ships, whales and etc. I appreciate authors whose words allow me to picture the scenes in my head as I read (just the right amount of detail). The transitions were smooth between chapters and the diary entries. I could tell that the author did her research for this novel especially on Mary Coffin Starbuck and the whaling industry. She captured the speech of the Quakers and the people of this era (there is a glossary). The story contains incredible characters that are well-developed and realistic. There are characters readers will love and others that you will dislike intensely (and hope that they get what they deserve). I like that Ms. Fisher did the book on Quakers. There are few fiction books that incorporate this religious sect and it was interesting to learn more about their history (how they came to America and the persecution they suffered). The mystery element added another level to this rich story. There is a lovely ending that will have you anxiously awaiting Minding the Light (second book in Nantucket Legacy series).