Book Review: Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

phoebes light suzanne woods fisher book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:

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.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
  • Published: 2/2018
  • Pages: 318
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.26 Stars
phoebe's light suzanne woods fisher book review
When you go through deep waters I will be with you.
— Isaiah 43:2

Why I chose this book:

There are not too many Christian books out there right now set during the colonial times so I jumped at the chance to read it. This time period is always intriguing to me! 

First Initial Thoughts: 

Phoebe is a young girl who dreams of getting off Nantucket. Her father is in debt and has defaulted on his mortgage - and they are about to lose their home. The only inheritance her father can provide is her Great Grandmother's journal. Phoebe is excited to learn more about Mary and the first settlers of Nantucket. 

Then there is Matthew Macy and Captain Phineas Foulger. This is the first time I have seen a love triangle in a Christian book. And I kind of liked it! Phoebe, of course, being naive falls for the "bad boy" and marries him. While we are all pining for Matthew. However, she will learn her lesson later on in the story. 

After marrying Captain Phineas, Phoebe joined him on his ship voyage to obtain whale oil. And the same day they married too! I thought at least they would spend their marriage night on land. I thought it to be kind of odd (readers will find out why later on in the story). 


I didn't know much about Nantucket before reading this book. I knew that it was an island off of Massachusetts that is popular for tourists. Suzanne brought Nantucket to life. She also was very talented in explaining how Phoebe felt on the ship. I could also feel my own stomach churning as I read Phoebe's experiences with seasickness. 

For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
— Psalms 48:14

Final Thoughts:

At first, it took a few pages to get used to how they spoke with one another. Remember Shakespeare and all the 'thee' and thou's'? That is how the Quakers spoke with each other throughout the novel. 

I learned a lot about whaling in this novel. It was a very dangerous voyage - and many did not return when they were out at sea for years obtaining whale oil. I couldn't imagine what they went through on the ship, and what it took to bring in a whale - a WHOLE whale! 

Phoebe also experienced seasickness the whole time she was on the ship. Poor girl! I couldn't imagine just stuck in bed the whole time because you are so sick. 

And then there was Captain Phineas. I was basically the cat below in the latter half of the book:

I knew he was no good for Phoebe. I won't go into details of what happened to not spoil the book- but let's just say he was NOT a good husband. After the voyage, Phoebe, and Matthew learn to appreciate one another - and then have to go through trials together. 

My second most favorite part of the novel was Mary's journals. What I found interesting was the similarities between Phoebe and Mary. How they both loved a certain person but chose another man. It was interesting to learn about the first settlement. How they were a peace-loving community who worked with the natives of the island to make a prosperous community. I also learned a lot about the Quaker faith, and what they endured in the 17th century. Being persecuted and assaulted for their faith. 

The main message of the book is to seek God's guidance in big decisions in your life (well any decision that will impact your life) and to not rush into things without thinking it through. I think we all have been guilty of doing this from time to time! 

Would I Recommend?

Yes! It's a great book to read to remind us to not rush into things. Seek God's guidance and know that he has a plan for you. 


Purchase the book ---> HERE

Minding The Light- next book in the series will be out in July! 

Have you read this book? If so share your thoughts in the comments! 

the caffeinated bibliophile