16 November 2018

A Third Enjoyable Venture Into Nantucket History | The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher


“Henry, this . . . fortune, this sudden wealth . . . I fear it will change our lives. And I don’t want my life to change.”

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when each should marry and whom—a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side—and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: October 2, 2018


Find out more about this amazing deal!


Suzanne Woods Fisher concludes her splendid Nantucket Legacy series with The Light Before Day. Fans of the series, plus readers who enjoy historical fiction, are sure to enjoy this third venture into Nantucket history. 

Henry and Hitty Macy, who have grown up since Minding the Light, must deal with their late grandmother’s requests in order to claim the inheritance she left for them. As their story progresses, journal entries from Mary Coffin Starbuck (known from the previous two books) continue to add depth and character to the series. The combined story is oh so enjoyable to read, captivating and historical, which kept me turning page after page quickly. 

Though it’s the third book in the series, The Light Before Day can be read on its own. Still, the entire series is good, so if you haven’t already, start reading at the beginning. I recommend it.


Thanks to Celebrate Lit, I received a complimentary copy of The Light Before Day and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.


Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Phoebe’s Light and Minding the Light, as well as the Amish Beginnings, the Bishop’s Family, and the Inn at Eagle Hill series. She has also written several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. Fisher lives in California.


The Mortgage Button

In each story of the ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series, there’s a reference to a mortgage button in the newel post of a stairway. Phoebe Starbuck, the main character in Phoebe’s Light, made a point to notice it in the captain’s house on Orange Street, the famous residences of sea captains. In Minding the Light, Daphne Coffin touched the mortgage button on the newel post of her horrible mother’s grand house each and every morning. Hitty and Henry Macy were well aware of the absence of their childhood home’s mortgage button—and all that its absence symbolized—in The Light Before Day.

Mortgage buttons meant something to each of those characters. It made a statement to anyone who walked into a house.

Have you ever seen a mortgage button? It’s a very Nantucket-y tradition. In fact, some say the mortgage button originated on Nantucket Island, thirty miles out to sea.

Supposedly, when a house’s mortgage was fully paid and there were no liens against the property, the homeowner drilled a hole in the newel post of the main staircase, rolled up the mortgage document, put it inside, and capped the hole with a decorative plug of scrimshaw.

Scrimshaw is a term for an American folk art developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling in New England was an industry that lifted Nantucket Island to become the world’s wealthiest port. After a whale’s oil was rendered, the ship’s captain would give his crew the sperm whale’s teeth or bones to carve during long tedious hours at sea. Whaling had its exciting moments, but they were far and few between. As a pastime, sailors carved all kinds of useful gifts to bring home to their loved ones: needles, combs, games, clothespins, busks…and mortgage buttons.

But let’s jump back to the mortgage button. Some legends say that the actual mortgage papers were ceremoniously burned and the ashes stashed inside the drilled hole before sealed with the button. However, as appealing a thought as that might be, it is most likely a myth. There’s never been any evidence of ashes or even hidden mortgages found in salvaged newel posts. Still, mortgage buttons are common among Nantucket homes, and the tradition has spread to other parts of the country. In southern states, for example, they’re called brag buttons. Whether myth or truth, today it’s more a matter of a charming nostalgic custom than a nod to your healthy (or…not so healthy) net worth.


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!! 

Enter below, and be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!


November 4:

November 11: 

November 13: 

November 14:
Captive Dreams | Bigreadersite 

November 16:
Pause for Tales | Book by Book 

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