~ About the Book ~
When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.
Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.
But not even sailing the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean can assuage Sam’s guilt for destroying Jack’s relationship and hurting another woman. Soon the consequences of her behavior escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.
Sailing out of Darkness is the haunting story of mistakes and loss…and the grace that abounds through forgiveness.
Release date: 24 February 2017 (2nd edition)
Publisher: Sleepy Creek Press
~ Excerpt ~
White wine arrived. “To my beautiful daughter,” Sam said, lifting her glass. “I’m so glad to be here with you.”
“Oh, Mama, I’m so happy you came. It’s been so much fun.”
“It has, but you know it must come to an end.”
Stefi’s glass clinked on her salad plate as she set it down. “Why? When? You just got here!”
“Four days ago.” Four nights were long enough to camp among the younger set and play at dorm living. “It’s time to move on, honey. Do a little more traveling on my own.”
Stefi ran a finger around the rim of her glass, studying it as if the liquid held the answers she needed. “You’ll come back? When you’ve traveled more?” Worry clouded her lovely eyes.
“I’m sure I will, sweetie. But there’s so much to see, and I need the time.”
That inched the worry up Stefi’s forehead. Sam longed to smooth off the lines, but she didn’t have the power to do that, not unless she could pretend again that everything was fine. The smile she dug out must have been weak.
“You’re still not over Dad?”
“Divorce is hard.” If only Sam could lay the full blame there. “I just…the thing is, I’m still trying to figure out who I am as a single woman. Can you understand that?”
“I think so,” her loyal daughter said.
“I got so busy starting over again that I didn’t take the time I needed.”
Stefi waited barely two breaths before inserting a timid, “Jack?”
Picking up her glass, Sam focused on it and took a slow sip, hoping Stefi wouldn’t see the alarm in her eyes. Where had that come from?
“Mama, it was obvious that you and Jack spent a lot of time together. And that India Monroe wasn’t exactly a part of it.”
How on earth did mothers have conversations like this with their too astute daughters? “Well,” Sam began and then lost the thought. She tried to hook another one. “Let’s just say that the situation made me uncomfortable.”
“That’s gotta be hard. You always told me to run from temptation. I’m proud of you for being courageous enough to come here.”
“You are?” But Stefi didn’t know the truth of it—how Sam had run too late for it to count.
~ Review ~
Anorexia of the soul. That’s where Samantha (Sam) sees herself headed at the opening of this novel. First, her husband of twenty-three years divorced her for a younger, more voluptuous woman. Then, she reconnected with her childhood friend Jack over their mutual love of sailing, and her need to feel loved at such a vulnerable time in her life led her down a path paved with guilt and regret. When Sam finds her beloved boat vandalised, presumably by Jack’s ex-girlfriend, it finally gives her the resolve to do what she should have done in the first place: She tells Jack, no more. And to make sure she doesn’t fall into temptation again, she leaves the country.
It took me a few chapters to settle into this story, but once I was there…wow, it was compelling! Normandie Fischer manages to capture both the idyllic atmosphere of Italy and the pleasure of Sam’s growing friendship with Teo without diminishing the shadow that hangs over Sam as she struggles to find herself beneath the pain and guilt.
Teo was such a gentleman—patient, tender, loving. But as Sam is confronted by the chilling repercussions of her sin, it is difficult for her to allow herself to either give or receive such love, and she really does succumb to anorexia of the soul. Her neediness got her into trouble in the first place. How can she know accepting Teo’s love is a healthy relationship choice rather than simply grabbing for the next thing that will satisfy her neediness?
The last third of this book is truly gripping and a stark reminder that we don’t always see the pain others carry around with them. It’s a story that brings home not only the grievousness of sin, but also the beauty of unconditional (and unselfish) love and the freedom and healing that comes from forgiveness both given and received.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field as an editor. She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, to care of her aging mother and enjoy her two grown children and her grandchildren. She is the author of six books: Becalmed (2013), Heavy Weather (2015), Twilight Christmas (2016), Two from Isaac’s House (2015), From Fire into Fire (2016), and Sailing out of Darkness (2013 and 2017).
~ Guest Post by Normandie Fischer ~
In Sailing out of Darkness, the female protagonist longs for something, anything that will validate her after her husband leaves. She’s propelled into such an emotional wasteland that she becomes vulnerable to what seems a safe friendship.
It isn’t. And so she flees to Italy, but the repercussions of her actions continue to affect her and others—as consequences are wont to do.
After my divorce, hurting women seemed to flock to my vicinity. (Either that, or suddenly husbands in the church were leaving in droves.) These were abandoned women, angry women, women searching for love in the wrong places. I wasn’t in any shape to minister to them as I too was struggling at the cross, but that period helped me understand how woefully ignorant and unprepared many church goers are when it comes to hearing the cries of the hurting. I know of two women (to whom I dedicated the book) who actually killed themselves because no one listened or reached out a hand when they needed it.
The process of divorce and healing taught me about grace in a way that I’d never fully internalized. I’d ministered and counseled for years about the Love of God. I’d preached and written about it, but part of me, the part that needed healing, still held on to the idea that I had to be perfect to be loved by God and by man. I knew better, but the heart and the head weren’t working well together, especially during my years of living with an alcoholic husband and during divorce recovery after he left. As I wrote about Sam’s guilt and helped her find peace, I think new pieces slid into place for me as well. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God. And that’s probably the most powerful message we have to share with this hurting world.
~ Giveaway ~
To celebrate her tour, Normandie is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b630
~ Blog Schedule ~
May 30: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
May 31: Reading Is My SuperPower
June 1: Genesis 5020 // Fiction Aficionado
June 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews
June 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
June 4: Zerina Blossom’s Books
June 5: Pause for Tales // By The Book
June 6: Book by Book
June 7: Carpe Diem
June 8: JosephineAnneWrites
June 9: Edits & Reviews by Leslie // Cafinated Reads
June 10: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses
June 11: Bigreadersite // The Power of Words (spotlight)
June 12: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations