Who likes seafaring journeys and tales of whaling? I definitely do! I also like trying new-to-me authors, which is Suzanne Woods Fisher. So I was excited to get my hands on this book. This book ended up not being in line with my tastes, but some of you may enjoy it!
Phoebe Starbuck flung back the worn quilt,
leapt out of bed, and hurried to the windows.
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About the Book
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 Marcy, 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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This was my first time to read Suzanne Woods Fisher. The era and setting intrigued me: whale-hunters in 1776? Definite yes! In ways, this book made me think of Elizabeth George Speare’s “Witch of Blackbird Pond”—likely because it hinted a lot about the superstitions and injustices done toward the Quakers in the 1600’s.
While most of the story was written from Phoebe’s perspective in 1776, she received her great-grandmother’s journal from 1658 and beyond. At the closure of each chapter, a portion of Mary’s journal was shared. I found her story to be quite intriguing.
The mystery in these pages was also interesting. I like a good mystery, and though at times you didn’t realize there was actually a mystery abroad in the community, as the pieces began falling together, I enjoyed it!
I really tried my hardest to like this book. I’ll admit I was a bit turned off on the first page when the main character used “Drat!” in her thoughts. Not only did this phrase not emerge until the 1800’s, a strict Quaker lass would not have used such a strong euphemism (if it had been used in her time). But, I seriously tried to push that away and enjoy the book… but so many cliché phrases kept bringing me back to the 1900’s, and my history brain just has a hard time with that.
There were also a lot of unanswered questions, but I realize it could just be my over-curious mind. Questions such as: if great-grandmother Mary wasn’t Quaker (and was suspicious of them) and was persuaded by other Christians to be baptized (Anabaptist), then how is it that Phoebe is strict Quaker? When in the family line did that major switch happen?
I suppose if you really like romance stories, this might appeal to you. Most people know I’m not a huge romance fan, but I can tolerate a good bit of it. The part that was just “okay” for me was Mary’s journal, where she is in love with and pining after one man while keeping company with and nourishing a friendship with another (though it is resolved that she didn’t mean anything by the friendship, the whole “I want this man and I will get him, but I don’t know how” really bothered me). But what I really had a hard time with was this book’s love triangle. I don’t dislike a love triangle, but when it is between a married couple and a third person…yeah, no. Sorry. Once a person is married, they shouldn’t be pining after their first love. The married girl shouldn’t be falling in love again with her jilted childhood love—or realizing that she never stopped loving him—while she’s married and her husband is still alive.
There were two scenes in which the captain began undressing or started undressing Phoebe and talking of the marriage rights. A little too suggestive for my tastes. And back to the love triangle, wonderfully for Phoebe, the captain is killed, so now she can marry the man she loved since childhood. Oh, and also, the captain was already married to another woman and Phoebe is his second wife, which she discovers mid-book. I just have a problem with all of the above. I realize terrible situations happen in real life, but this is not the type of stuff I find pure and righteous for entertainment purposes.
*END OF SPOILER*
The spiritual side of this book was really confusing. Given that it’s Quakers and Anabaptists and an era in which they were at each others’ throats and stuck on rules rather than following God, I suppose it should make sense. But it was all very vague. “Follow the Light” and “the Light is within you.” There was a casual mention of Scripture, but it was more the “wisdom of Great Mary” that was followed rather than the wisdom of God’s Word.
Like I said, I did give this book an honest go. I was prepared to like it, and I did try to. But it just wasn’t really for me.
*I received this book from Celebrate Lit and happily provided my honest review*
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.
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c9e0
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