Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing

By: Geraldine Brooks

Published: 2011

# of pages: 320

Official description:

Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

The narrator of Caleb's Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe's shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb's crossing of cultures.

Like Brooks's beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha's Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb's Crossing further establishes Brooks's place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

My opinion: Excellent read! I'm a fan of Brooks, she writes great historical fiction. So I was excited about this book and it didn't disappoint me. I was impressed with the details that went into the setting, dialogue, and the historical facts. She writes an afterward that includes the research she did and what is fact and what is fiction in the book. It's neat that she used real characters, but changed some of their names. Historical fiction is my favorite genre (okay, so it's tied with fantasy!) and I recommend this to other fans of historical fiction.

All that said, this isn't making it to my favorites list. In order to be on my list, this book has to consume my every waking moment. I have to have a really hard time putting it down and after I do, I have to keep daydreaming about it, imagining myself in it, thinking about it, wanting to talk about it. This book wasn't like that for me. It's hard to completely relate to the characters, but it's supposed to be that way.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Well written, interesting characters, emotionally swaying, unique & original story.

Other reviews:

Book Nut
life by candlelight

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