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Texas Book-aholic, November 5
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Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 6
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 7
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A Baker’s Perspective, November 9
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Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11
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Bibliophile Reviews, November 17
About the Book
Book: The Light Before Day
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 2, 2018
“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.
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About the Author
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. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow her on Twitter @suzannewfisher and Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.
Guest Post from Suzanne
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.
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