On the island of Nantucket in the 1660’s, a young girl named Bethia grows up in a Puritan household. The daughter of a minister, Bethia has the opportunity to meet members of the Wampanoag tribe, and she develops a particular (and secret) friendship with Caleb, the son of a chieftain. Author Geraldine Brooks discovered the history of a Wampanoag youth who became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard. This is the foundation for her character Caleb. Through the eyes of Bethia, the reader becomes acquainted with this young man, and the conflicts and rewards that arise when he crosses over from his native world into the white colonial culture.
There is something about reading a Geraldine Brooks novel that makes you want to sit back, smile, and say “Ahhhh.” Brooks is clearly a master of the art of historical fiction. I’m sure, like me, you have picked up book after book and while somewhat enjoying it, you feel that somehow the research could have been better, certain questions answered or the prose taken to a more eloquent level. This is the book you’ve been waiting for. The one that compiles all those elements of a truly remarkable work of historical fiction!
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011