Sailing Out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer

About The Book

Young woman walking on water
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Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.


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.

Awarded: Aspen Gold, Selah, and Maggie Finalist 2014 (1st edition)


About the AuthorAuthor Photo

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).

My Review

What I Loved

The setting is portrayed in such a way that you feel like you're there. You can taste and smell the food and see the scenery. For someone who has never been out of the country, it took me to places I'd never been before. The author is very detailed with the scenery and the thoughts of the character. She added elements of the Italian culture that are intriguing. 

Samantha and Theo are both characters with difficult pasts which many people can relate to. These characters are trying to find peace in the midst of their past sins and tragedies. 

What I Didn't Like

There are thoughts by the characters that left me very uncomfortable. While the characters are broken and struggling, certain actions and thoughts didn't ring true to me for Christian fiction. I would not advise this book for someone with more conservative views. There are a few times that I came across God's name being used in vain. If it had seemed like a prayer, I might have been able to look past it, but it didn't. There are sensual thoughts that, although are human realities, I don't believe have a place in Christian fiction. 

I didn't like the emphasis on wine each time they ate--which was often. I understand that this takes place in Italy, but I would have preferred the author to have focused her detail elsewhere. In Christian circles, this could be a major turn-off. I'd prefer we keep the focus off of alcoholic beverages so we can enjoy the story and learn more about the way Christ works in someone's life. These  are some examples of questionable distractions that take away from the plot.

There is too much focus on small-talk, food, and art for the plot to move forward. I could cut entire scenes without losing anything from the story. It felt long and the suspense from the beginning of the book was lost until the end. 

I would give this book two stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A review was not required. All opinions are my own. 


Guest Post from 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.




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!




  1. Jennifer Fromke

    Wow – I’ve read this story and I consider myself pretty conservative and definitely Christian. I did NOT see God’s name used in vain. There were several mentions of God which I felt were truly prayerful – conversation with God. The “sensual” thoughts you mention were by no means scintillating or inappropriate in my view, and I actually loved how real this book seemed. I thought this book was stylistically refreshing for Christian fiction because it didn’t make everything look too perfect or dressed up like Sunday. The overall vibe is definitely consistent with Christian views and it’s an empowering story for women recovering from deep hurt.

    1. momentsdippedinink

      Thanks for commenting. I didn’t see the references to God’s name as prayerful, but again this is my opinion. In one instance, Samantha was in danger. If she’d added something about needing help, it would’ve seemed more like a conversation to God. I read it several times in trying to understand and came at a different viewpoint than yours.

      I would like to add that I am not the reader who looks for something perfect and dressed up. I love to see the inner struggle that we all have. But I didn’t think it was tied up well. Again, this is my opinion. We all have different perspectives when we read. The fact that you commented means my readers can see two perspectives and make a decision about whether they’d like to try a book.

  2. Robin Patchen

    Interesting perspective. I loved Sailing out of Darkness because it was so real and honest. As a Christian who loves to read, I’m tired of the scrubbed-clean stories so often found in the Christian fiction market, the ones that are so sweet they’re Saccharin. I believe fiction should be reflective of reality, even when that reality isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I can identify with the characters in Sailing out of Darkness. They are written as real, human people with real emotions, real needs, real fears. This is the kind of story that can touch nonbelievers, stir a desire for the grace the author illustrated. For me, it’s easily a 5-star novel.

    Of course, there’s room in the market for all kinds of books. I’m glad to see more diversity in the Christian fiction market, and I pray it leads to a more diverse readership.

    1. momentsdippedinink

      Thanks for commenting. I can’t stand scrubbed-clean stories either. Several of my favorite authors go deeper and show reality, but this was too much for me. Again, these are my opinions. I really think it depends on perspective. I gave a two-star review for more than just the things I disagreed with, but that is as a whole my opinion. I think I would’ve been more understanding toward the thoughts they had, if the message in the end tied it better to God’s grace, but personally I didn’t think it delivered.

      I’m glad you shared your thoughts. Any reader who sees my review can also see another perspective. In the end, it is their decision to pick up the book and give it a try.

  3. Jen

    Thank you for your thoughtful review!

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