What a wonderful tale and read! I am trying to decide how to write a review to reflect my reactions. First and foremost, I truly enjoyed Caleb's Crossing. As I guessed early on, Bethia Mayfield, the writer of the tale in the book, is fictional. Generally, I read the author's comments both prior and following the read. Caleb is an admirable character who truly lived, much as Brooks described him. The story is about the friendship between Bethia and Caleb as well as Caleb's and Joel's experiences as they work to blend cultures, adapting to the white man's world while retaining some part of their own culture. This book, along with Year of Wonders, rank among my favorites by Geraldine Brooks. To those who read these comments: Do take time to read Caleb's Crossing soon as it's an emotional high from beginning to end.
If you love to read historical fiction then this book will satisfy your hunger! Each character is so well created and you feel like Bethia in her hardship of being a woman in a man's world. Her family choose to live on an island to bring the gospel to the Indian tribe and live and learn in peace with them. Not all English people could look on the Indians as breathern but as savages, and resented their education as well as their advancement into their society. For women also it was a sin to be educated. Bethia struggled for both her breathern, Joel and Caleb as well as herself. This story is told with such emotion that it will transend you back to the time of Caleb's Crossing. An excellent read and great book club discussion.
First off, I have to say that I am a fan of Geraldine Brooks, loved Year of Wonders, People of the Book, and March...but this is my least favorite. I just found the voices stilted, and this is probably due to the Puritanical speech of the 17th century, but I could not get past it. The submissiveness of the female main character, although again, probably true to the times, was hard to bear. I finished the book, but about halfway thru, I found myself just wanting it to be over.