Caleb’s Crossing: A Novel

Caleb's Crossing
Published: 2012-04-24
Forging a deep friendship with a Wampanoag chieftain's son on the Great Harbor settlement where her minister father is working to convert the tribe, Bethia follows his subsequent ivy league education and efforts to bridge cultures among the colonial elite. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March. Reprint.

Caleb’s Crossing is a captivating historical fiction novel by Geraldine Brooks, set in 17th-century colonial America. The story is told from the perspective of Bethia Mayfield, a young girl growing up in a Puritan settlement on Martha’s Vineyard. The book beautifully captures the spirit of the times and explores the complexities of the relationship between the Native Americans and the English colonizers.

One of the most striking aspects of the novel is its masterful and absorbing storytelling. The book is filled with suspense, tragedy, and sadness as Bethia navigates the challenges of her own life and the upheavals of the colonial world around her. The author has a gift for creating vivid characters that feel authentic and relatable, even when grappling with unfamiliar cultural practices or beliefs.

Brooks’ writing style is also worth noting, as it is beautifully crafted from beginning to end. Her descriptions of the natural world are particularly impressive, painting a vivid picture of Martha’s Vineyard and the surrounding area. Additionally, her prose is lyrical and evocative, making the novel a pleasure to read.

The quote, “But it was his light temper and his easy laugh that drew me close to him, over time, until I forgot he was a half-naked, sassafras-scented heathen anointed with raccoon grease,” is a perfect example of the author’s ability to capture the complexity of human relationships. In this sentence, Bethia describes her growing attachment to Caleb, a Wampanoag Native American who becomes her friend and intellectual equal. Despite their vast cultural differences, Bethia is drawn to Caleb’s personality and charm, ultimately forgetting the barriers that divide them.

Overall, Caleb’s Crossing is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel that will captivate readers. With its richly drawn characters, immersive setting, and masterful storytelling, it is a book that is hard to put down. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or literary novels exploring human relationships’ complexities.

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