Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Series: Nantucket Legacy
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman
Following the descendants of the Starbucks, Macys, and Coffin families as the first settlers of Nantucket, Minding the Light picks up a few generations after its predecessor, Phoebe’s Light. In this story, Daphne Coffin picks up the pieces of her sister Jane’s family after Jane’s unfortunate death. Leaving behind two children and a sea captain husband who has just returned after a six-year whaling voyage, Jane is estranged from her widowed mother who wants nothing to do with Jane. Jane eloped with her sea captain Reynolds “Ren” Macy years ago, and socialite Lillian is more worried than her reputation than her grandchildren. Daphne is expected to become betrothed to Ren’s cousin Tristram, one of the island’s most eligible bachelors, but something doesn’t feel right to Daphne. As the story progresses, readers see just what Daphne battles as she does her best to care for Jane’s family.
As with Phoebe’s Light, Minding the Light alternates between Daphne’s story and excerpts from her Great Mary’s journal, which was passed down to Jane before her father’s passing. Daphne finds it and starts reading it as she sits at Jane’s sick bed. Not only is she comforted by the clear connection to her past relatives, she is also shocked by some family secrets. She too takes a dip in the buried family treasure and adds her story to the legend. By the end of the book, Daphne makes some hard decisions and learns some painful truths about family and just how far people will go to have things their way.
Minding the Light is a quick and easy read, but is far from lighthearted. The Puritan ways of life are explored as the next generations settle Nantucket. Slavery is abolished on the island but is still an issue there. Secrets haunt families in ways that only buried secrets can. It’s intriguing and sad at the same time, as the characters quickly grab readers’ attention and draw them into their dramas. Nothing is over the top, yet it’s, in a way, nice to know that people back then had similar issues that we have today.
There is nothing in this book that should be offensive to readers, although some of the subject matter is for mature readers. I highly recommend this book, though, as I thoroughly enjoyed the history lesson wrapped up in a soap opera of sorts. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will enjoy keeping up with the Macys, Starbucks, and Coffins.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.