Monday, July 2, 2018

When Your Life Doesn't Turn Out the Way You Planned

Historical Fiction Book Review: Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I'm a planner.  I've always planned out my life as much as possible. Yes, I seek God's direction, but within that, I have always planned and organized my life carefully. In college, I even had spreadsheets planning out when I would take all of my classes and graduate on schedule.  Well, planning is great, but I've learned that sometimes life doesn't go exactly as you planned.  That's what the two main characters in Minding the Light have learned, too.

Ren is back home in Nantucket after 6 years at sea as the captain of a whaling ship.  He returns to a life he didn't expect and difficult circumstances beyond his control.  Daphne plans to marry a handsome young man.  She's busy helping her sister's family and plans to start her own in time.  Neither of them planned on the lives they have now.  And neither of them planned on finding each other.

Suzanne Woods Fisher's Minding the Light is a fascinating novel.  It deals with significant topics like faith and hypocrisy, slavery and prejudice, substance abuse, and love and justice.  The characters are incredibly realistic and relatable.  I never thought that I would be able to relate so well to a Quaker woman living in nineteenth century Nantucket.  Those who love history will be fascinated with this novel's historical details and will want to read some of the sources that Ms. Fisher includes at the back of her book.  This book can easily be read as a standalone novel.  Minding the Light is well researched and beautifully written with such depth of insight that could be applied to even today's current issues. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves good storytelling and history. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required.  These opinions are entirely my own. 

Book Title: Minding the Light  
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  
Genre: Historical Romance  
Release date: July 3, 2018

Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair. Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him. But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancĂ©. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high? Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

Guest Post from Suzanne

8 Curious Facts you Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list. 1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil. 2) Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin. 3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground. For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive. 4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher. 5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum. 6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin. 7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island. 8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Minding the Light is on tour with Celebrate Lit!

Blog Stops:

Carpe Diem, July 3
Livin Lit, July 3www
Mary Hake, July 7
Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Book by Book, July 9
Splashes of Joy, July 10
Vicky Sluiter, July 11
Among the Reads, July 12
Bigreadersite, July 15
Pause for Tales, July 16


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!
Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click link below to enter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review: Where Hope Begins

Where Hope Begins by Cathy West is a powerful, life changing novel. From the moment you read the first sentence of the first chapter, you will be hooked. Rarely have I read a book about such serious issues without needing to stop and get a breather. Not so with this novel. It is written in first person and puts you right there in the middle of the action, in all of its raw pain and vulnerability. Ms West has a unique ability to weave threads of hope into this novel and it never feels too overwhelmingly sad or hopeless. Buy this book and give copies to your loved ones. This book may be a work of fiction, but it has the power to change lives with its emphasis on never ending hope. I highly recommend this book! I also recommend reading it somewhere where you can cry without an audience— learn from my mistake! I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: Perilous Riptide by Christy Barritt

Perilous Riptide by Christy Barritt is book 5 in the Lantern Beach series.  Cassidy has never been a natural to living quietly while awaiting to testify in a high profile case.  She keeps getting pulled into local investigations, often because she is so much more qualified than the local police. In this book, there is no way that Cassidy could stay out of the investigation, because she is trying to prove her boyfriend's innocence while he is behind bars.  With Ty in prison, things are even more dangerous for Cassidy.  Will she be able to free Ty and prove his innocence?  Ms Barritt's Lantern Beach series is full of wonderful suspenseful reads.  Don't miss this one!  But get them all, because once you start reading, you will want to read one after another!  I received a digital copy of this book from the author with no obligations.  These opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Book Review: The Theory of Happily Ever After

Looking for a summer beach read?  I've got the perfect book for you!  The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristen Billerbeck is such a fun book!  Dr. Maggie Maguire is the expert at the science behind happiness, but after a breakup and betrayal by her ex, she is absolutely depressed.  When her friends drag her on a singles cruise where she is supposed to pull herself together and give a lecture as the expert she is, absolute mayhem ensues left and right.  I thought this book was an absolute delight to read.  Overall, it's a fun, light read that's perfect as a summer beach read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher.  These opinions are entirely my own.

Book Review: The Lost Castle

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron is a novel set in many different time periods.  To be honest, at first I found it difficult to follow the three stories in this book, set in three different time periods.  I had my doubts about this book, but I am so glad I kept reading!  The mysterious castle links the stories and the three women together.  The castle itself almost becomes another character in this book and takes on a life of its own.  I loved the bits of history in the book along with its incredible settings that came alive without tedious descriptions.  The characters themselves were strong women, and I loved that.  This book is full of romance and mystery and real historical events.  It is the story of overcoming the odds and rising up again.  I highly recommend this novel.  It will keep you up later than you want to stay up!  I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher.  These opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Colossal Treat

As a first grade teacher for many years, I have always loved Ron Roy's A to Z Mysteries.  I often read the first book, The Absent Author to my class as a read aloud and I loved seeing how it hooks children in reading.  Well, I have my own first grader at home this year and I have to tell you that the genius of these books is even more clear to me now.  This year I have read more than half of the series with my son and each one is highly addicting and fun in a unique way.  We recently discovered the Super Editions as well.  These editions seem slightly higher in reading level but even more mysterious!  Also, we loved figuring out the hidden message buried throughout the book in its illustrations. Decoding the secret message was so much fun that the whole family got involved.  Well, we just picked up Ron Roy's latest Super Edition (#10) Colossal Fossil.  It does not disappoint!  Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are on vacation in Boston while tagging along on a parent's business trip.  While there, they are spending the night in a museum that features large dinosaur skeletons.  Don't miss this fun book!  I highly recommend it and all of the rest of the books in the series.  If you have a struggling or disinterested reader at home, pick up these books and start them as family read alouds.  You will have your child (and you!) hooked in no time!  The only problem our family has with these books is putting them away at bedtime.  There is always a plea for just 1 more chapter!

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz is a book set just as the American Revolution begins in Williamsburg.  This book has characters with great depth and a setting so vibrant that it makes the time period come alive.  This book is so much more than your basic love story or just a historical novel.  This is a book about struggle and finding your own way despite many difficulties.  It is a book that brings the American Revolution to life with realistic characters-- it brings you right into the action where brothers fight against brothers on different sides of the war.  This is the first book that I have read by Laura Frantz, but it will not be my last!  I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who loves great storytelling and loves being immersed in a story deeply.  I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher.  These opinions are entirely my own.

When Your Life Doesn't Turn Out the Way You Planned Historical Fiction Book Review: Minding the Light by Suzanne Wood...