In 1665, Caleb became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. His story is told by Bethia, a totally fictional friend who is the dIn 1665, Caleb became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. His story is told by Bethia, a totally fictional friend who is the daughter of a minister. Bethia's father feels that it is his calling to convert the Wampanoag on Martha's Vineyard to Christianity. Caleb is torn between the two cultures with his medicine man uncle and the Calvinists fighting for his soul.
It was an colorful story that kept my interest. The characters were fascinating and well developed. As usual, Geraldine Brooks did a wonderful job researching the history and customs of the time....more
4.5 stars (rounded up to 5) Vine, a beautiful Cherokee woman, spent her childhood in the Kentucky mountains in the early 1900s. There is a superstition4.5 stars (rounded up to 5) Vine, a beautiful Cherokee woman, spent her childhood in the Kentucky mountains in the early 1900s. There is a superstition that she puts curses on the lumbermen that come near her. Saul, a man with an Irish heritage, falls hard for her. Vine leaves her Cherokee community to become his wife and join his family. When World War I begins, Saul leaves their area for a job cutting pine trees which will be used in the production of turpentine. Vine is left behind to care for their young daughter. Vine is upset because Saul's brother Aaron is stalking her and she feels unsafe. But when she tells Saul about her fears, he will not speak to his brother about it. Vine realizes that Saul's "great fault" is that he would always choose his family over her. Eventually a confrontation occurs, and Vine keeps a secret from the rest of the family. Forgiveness of others and herself is an important theme in this story.
Vine loved the natural world and she senses the presence of God when the wind rustles through the trees. She misses her Cherokee family from Rosebud Camp so she planted a tiny rosebud tree at her new home. Vine "talked to the tree every day, willing it to live." She describes the leaves, "They were like parchment that holds words of wisdom. Simply holding them in my hand gave me some of the peace a tree possesses. To be like that--to just be--that's the most noble thing of all."
The story is also about the prejudice that some of the townspeople have against the Native Americans. Silas House's great-grandmother was Cherokee, and she was an inspiration for this book. The author transports us to the Kentucky mountains a century ago with characters talking in the local dialect, fiddle music, poetry, and everyday events on a farm. There are great descriptions of wash day, a snake bite, a pig roast, a country dance, and a Pentecostal service. This book has a winning combination--beautiful writing and an engaging story--and would be a good selection for book clubs.
A white family of farmers was murdered in North Dakota, and a group of Native Americans was unjustly accused of the crime. Some townspeople bypassed tA white family of farmers was murdered in North Dakota, and a group of Native Americans was unjustly accused of the crime. Some townspeople bypassed the courts and took their own vengence. The book revolves around the people involved in this incident and their decendents.
The author's writing is very beautiful and lyrical as she tells the story from the points of view of multiple characters. She combines a little magic (or spirits) with reality. I only wish there had been a geneology chart in the book since there were so many characters, and interconnected relationships, involving three generations....more
A white boy named John Butler had been captured by Native Americans when he was four years old. His adoptive father took him to Ohio, taught him the NA white boy named John Butler had been captured by Native Americans when he was four years old. His adoptive father took him to Ohio, taught him the Native American culture,and renamed him "True Son." When he was fifteen, True Son was taken back to his white family in the Harrisburg area as part of a treaty agreement. He could not adapt to the white culture, and had been taught to not trust the white people.
This adventure story of a boy caught between two cultures was written for young adults. It tries to present both cultures in an evenhanded, fair manner. This is an engaging story that kept my interest....more