Calico Captive
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Calico Captive

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,962 ratings  ·  222 reviews
In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War. It is a harrowing march north. Miriam can only force herself to the next stopping...more
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Published July 1st 2005 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1957)
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Lars Guthrie
There's a good reason why 'Sign of the Beaver' and 'The Witch of Blackbird Pond' are so frequently assigned (over-assigned) in elementary school. Historical fiction is a staple of language arts classes. Elizabeth George Speare is at the top of the field. Besides teachers finding merit in the two books, kids go for them.

Which makes it all the more shameful that Speare's two other novels (in print, anyway) are virtually ignored.

I read 'The Bronze Bow' a few years ago, and thought it was unbelieva...more
Wendy
Problematic portrayal of American Indians, though it seems quite in keeping with the real feelings of the captives--based on the historical narrative--for what that's worth. I read this over and over as a child, especially savoring the descriptions of life in Montreal--the dishes, the furniture, the food, the hot chocolate, and especially the clothes. I really didn't understand, at age 10, why (SPOILER) Miriam wouldn't want to marry Pierre and stay at home in a fine Montreal mansion while he exp...more
booklady
Calico Captive is the fictionalized version of A Narrative Of The Captivity Of Mrs. Johnson told from the perspective of Susannah Johnson’s younger (by ten years) sister, Miriam. As would be expected with any captivity story, it’s fascinating, fast-paced and hard to put down. The author does an excellent job of portraying a young woman confronting the competing dangers of trying to stay alive, keep family together and maintain cherishes values amidst the perplexities of multi-cultures, (English,...more
Laura
Such a romantic book! I first read it in Junior High, and I liked it as well the second time I read it twenty years later! For those of you who love historical, romantic fiction that's wholesome - it doesn't get much better.
Annette
Dec 19, 2009 Annette rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This is the beautifully written first novel of Elizabeth George Speare. Although I enjoyed all of her other books, this one is my favorite. I am completely baffled as to why this is the only book by Ms. Speare that did not win a Newbery award.

I love all of the characters! I love the high-spirited, red-haired main character, Miriam Willard, as well as her delightful, and good natured, best friend, Hortense. I couldn't help but admire her sister, Susanna's quiet, steady strength as she endured on...more
Melinda Ross
This book is based on a true story of a family living in Connecticut during the French and Indian war. The family is kidnapped by Indians who had sided with the French. They are forced to march north and then are at periodic times turned over to the French. The family is scattered and must work hard to try to find their way back to each other. The original book was written by the older sister--Susanna years after the ordeal (and was actually made into a made for TV movie years ago). Speare takes...more
Lily Sacharow
This is one of my favorite novels from my elementary school days when I was infatuated with Native Americans and their customs. The novel is based upon the story of Susanna Johnson (although the story is centered around her younger sister, Miriam) a captive of the Abenakis Indians. Along with her family, Miriam is taken away from home and traded from the Indian society into an elite French community. I picked this one up again because I recall how taken by it I was when I first read it; though i...more
Krystal
Loved this book. Its written for the younger crowd and based on a true story of a family captured by Native Americans and sold into slavery to the British. Before I read this book, I didn't have a clue that this was apart of the history. It's incredible, the lack of my knowledge, I know.

A family of white settlers survives the Indians capture, sold into British slavery, half are thrown in the stockades, and then their journey home. It held my attention several reads through, and its one I'll rec...more
Michelle
I read this in fifth or sixth grade, and loved it. I appreciate fiesty heroines, of course, but my favorite parts where when the French suitor buys Miriam a cup of real hot chocolate, and when the French governor's wife offers her a luxurious bolt of fabric and she gives it to her good friend Hortense. Oh! I love this book. Where is my copy? Gotta read it again...
AlixJamie
Elizabeth George Speare is one of my favorite girlhood authors. Every book I've read by her has been excellent. I loved the romance and adventure this book held and also the strong themes of marital love, friendship, and family ties. Ms. Speare is an excellent writer! Highly recommended!
Grace Sun
Jun 22, 2007 Grace Sun rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like historical fiction
This book was pretty good. I generally like EGS books. It is about colonial America as well as about France and Native Americans. It has action and a trace of romance
Emily Ellsworth
Calico Captive was Elizabeth George Speare's first novel. Another one you might recognize of hers was "The Witch of Blackbird Pond." Calico Captive was inspired by the journals of Susanna Willard Johnson, who was captured by Indians in 1754 (during the French and Indian War). Susanna was captured, along with all her family, including a 14-year-old sister that became Miriam in the story. The book details their capture, and captivity in the indian settlement St. Francis. They were later sold to th...more
Angie
All right. We're stretching back a ways this time around and featuring a book written by a very well-known author but oft overlooked in favor of its famous big sib. I know there are plenty of you The Witch of Blackbird Pond fans out there. I am one of you. How could you not love wonderful, brash Kit Tyler? And Hannah and Nat and Mercy? I loved it back when I was a little girl and my mom read it to me and I love it now when I re-read it for myself. In fact, after I finished it the first time, I i...more
Kjirstin
Calico Captive is one of my favorite books from childhood; I picked it up in the library when I was 9 or 10 and consistently returned to it over time.

The story is set during the French and Indian Wars before the American Revolution; the main character, Miriam, lives with her sister, Susannah and her husband and several small children. They are taken captive by Indians, then eventually traded to the French to live in Montreal, where they serve as domestic staff to a wealthy family.

Miriam's story...more
Jill
There were two books I read in sixth grade that impacted me enough to remember I loved them 17 years later. This was one of the two. The storytelling, the characters, the description of crossing rivers and the living conditions were captivating. I appreciate the story now more than I did years ago. The struggle the characters dealt with as their long-held prejudices were altered by circumstances far out of their control was captivating. I was so drawn into the story that I was reading it in a do...more
Savanna
Summary: This book is a historical fiction novel about a girl named Miriam. Miriam and her sister’s family are kidnapped by Indians and split up. One of the boys is taken in by the Indians, the sister is kept as a slave in an Indian camp, Miriam is sold to a French family in Canada, both of the little girls are taken into different families, the brother-in-law is sent to get the ransom to free the family. This is the story of Miriam in this difficult time and how her family is reunited.

I liked...more
Laura
A very interesting book, really. Miriam Willard, the Calico Captive, is kidnapped along with the rest of her family by hostile Indians. After a hazardous journey and a close shave at an Indian camp, Miriam and her family are sold as slaves to a French settlement in Canada. While Miriam's brother is trying to arrange for their ransom, the French and Indian War breaks out complicating matters and throwing Miriam and James' wife Susanna on their own abilities. Will Miriam and her family ever escape...more
Rusticgirl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lee
A young adult fiction based in a true story. This story was based in the time of the French and Indian war beginning in America when a family is kidnapped by Indians and taken from their home in New England to Canada. It is a great adventure showing the ingenuity of a young woman who against all odds survives and thrives in the wilderness and then in the unfriendly French town of Montreal. I have read other books by this author and would willingly read others.
Lissa Chandler
I wish I had read this book as a fifth or sixth grader, because it would have been my favorite (just like The Witch of Blackbird Pond). I loved how feisty the heroine is, even when she gets wrapped up in wanting to be glamorous, and I really didn't expect the ending, but it was definitely believable. Also, because I am super nerdy, I went from liking it to loving it when I found out it was based on a true story.
Jennifer
A girl and her sister's family are captured by indians outside their fort in colonial america, transported to canada, and sustained by the french. This is based on a true story. I never knew what happened to prisoners of the french-indian war; it was really interesting to read about. I like the main character's spunk and resourcefulness.
Jinnie
Based on a true story, this book captivated me at age 10 or 11. It set a bar for historical fiction I was to read in the future. I read it many years later and still felt the same appreciation for historical accuracy that has sustained my enjoyment of the genre to this day. I'd say this is the book that made me appreciate historical fiction.
Lara
Reread it because Rose reminded me that part of it's set in Montreal. We haven't visited that part of the city yet.

It's classic Elizabeth George Speare--well-researched and thoughtful, and at least attempts to give the "Indian" characters a fair shake. Still, it's no Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Hannah
It's hard to read only a little! You won't want to put down this fascinating, based on a true story, book about the Johnson Family and Miriam Willard and their lives as captives. The story starts in 1754 as the French and Indian War is about to begin. I recommend this book for ages 13+
Sarah
Compare a flirtatious french nobleman who is charging out to war to fight for King and country to a Lilly-white-hands cornbread fed scholar named Phineas Whitney who's greatest quality is schooling. I'm not French but there's just something more romantic about Pierre....
Haley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madison H.
What can I say about this book that would do it justice? Its just so wonderful and engaging! Just like all of Elizabeth George Speare's books this one FEELS real. Its not wishy washy or poorly written, its REAL.
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8 272 pgs


1754 Charlestown, New Hampshire/ Montreal, Canada. Set around the time of the French and Indian War, Miriam, her sister Susannah and her sister's family are taken captive by a group of Abenaki Indians. After spending some time in the Abenaki village, they are sent to Montreal until they can be ransomed. Separated from each other, Miriam must find a way to hold onto the hope of one day being freed and reunited.

Most of the story focuses on Miriam's time in Montreal and her treatment...more
Krithika
Apr 15, 2008 Krithika rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves to hear stories about fiction character from different times
This was one of the best booksI've read(not in series). I think the end was a little weird though, because she didn't seem to love Phineas as much as she loved Pierre.
Ella
I love all of Elizabeth George Speare's books, but my response to this one is always "WHAT ABOUT PIERRE? WHY ARE YOU SO HEARTLESS?"
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7549
I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908. I have lived all my life in New England, and though I love to travel I can't imagine ever calling any other place on earth home. Since I can't remember a time when I didn't intend to write, it is hard to explain why I took so long getting around to it in earnest. But the years seemed to go by very quickly. In 1936 I married Alden Speare a...more
More about Elizabeth George Speare...
The Witch of Blackbird Pond The Sign of the Beaver The Bronze Bow The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Related Readings The Prospering

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“I have no word of yours to assure me that our brief friendship held for you the same significance it held for me, but I must go on believing so. Every hope of the future is meaningless unless I have faith that you and I will share it together.” 18 likes
“...of the few young men and boys at the fort, now that she was too old for racing and climbing trees with them, she felt both shy and critical...” 2 likes
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