Phoebe’s Light Book Review


Suzanne Woods Fisher tells a tale about America in its earliest years as the Quakers, or Friends settled Nantucket Island. The story tells about this group of religious settlers through the eyes of a young woman, Phoebe Starbuck, a descendant of Mary Coffin Starbuck (1645-1717). Phoebe lives a poor existence, caring for her father who is a landlubber as opposed to the rest of the family who were whalers. She hates her life and dreams of the sea. As she follows her husband, the captain of a whaling vessel, on a whale hunt, she learns about herself, her people, and the life of her people through the journal of her ancestor Mary. The story realistically tells of the hardships of these early people and how they survived very harsh conditions. It also tells about the women of Nantucket Island who became very entrepreneurial while the men of the village were gone on whale hunts for months at a time. Although there are a few happy moments in the book, as a whole it has a very subdued atmosphere. But, if you love history told through the eyes of characters rather than a history book, this will meet your need.

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