I had to read this book for my "American Novel" English class my senior year at Washington State University Vancouver. Professor Wendy Dansler-Johnson...moreI had to read this book for my "American Novel" English class my senior year at Washington State University Vancouver. Professor Wendy Dansler-Johnson had it on our book list. The class meets only once a week for 3 hours at night and is mostly run like a book club. This was the second book we read this term (Fall 2011).
Normally, students think of required books as "okay" or "boring" or something to that affect. I have to say however, that Hope Leslie is one of my favorite books and is by far the best book ever required for a class.
Hope Leslie starts off in England and follows the doomed relationship of William Fletcher and his cousin Alice. Alice's father and Williams uncle hates the Puritans whom William is friends with and eventually becomes one himself. Alice's father forbids her to marrie William and William ends up leaving England for the Massachusetts colony in order to heal his broken heart. Years go by and William and Alice are married with children of their own. The story then shifts gears and follows the Fletcher family on their isolated property Bethell outside of a village in Massachusetts. William learns that Alice's husband has died and she attempted to bring her two daughters and herself to Bethell but ended up dying on the journey. She has left her daughters to William. Because of the increase burden on Mrs. Fletcher two small children will cause an American Indian girl Magawisca and her brother Onaco are sent to live with the Fletchers as their slaves. Magawisca and Onaco are actually the children of the Chief from the local tribe that was attacked unprovoked by the English settlers. Magawisca and William's oldest son, Everall, have a very special bond that borders on romance. Tragedy hits the home at Bethall and many years pass again. Now over 7 years after the tragedy, Everall and Hope (daughter of Alice) have a flirtations relationship but another man Sir Philip has his eyes on her as well.
So much happens in this book that it is literally impossible to give an accurate summary without spoilers. That above paragraph was extremely difficult to write and even then it does not to do the book justice. Hope Leslie reminds me very much of Twilight with star-crossed lovers, a romantic triangle, and fate constantly causing problems. The book was written around the 1830s by Sedgwick who wished to show the American Indians in a more positive light. It does include an "Indian Captive" storyline but it is much more positive than the more famous Mary Rowlandson . The book is very moving in parts, furiating in others. Many places in the story are so full of action that you feel as if you are watching an adventure movie like Pirates of the Caribbean than reading a 19 Century novel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Twilight although there are no vampires or other supernatural beings in it, the core romance and relationships in Meyer's books are present in Sedgwick's. I also would recommend this book to History fans as Sedgwick did use some real historical figures and events in her novel although it is not 100% accurate in all areas.
Overall, I have to give this book a 5. It is beautifully written, without being a difficult and tiresome read. It has interesting and complex characters. Several strong woman protagonists and is one of the best books I have read in a long time. (less)
While it was very well done, well written, great interesting and complex characters, I am only giving it 3 stars. It isn't the type of romance that I...moreWhile it was very well done, well written, great interesting and complex characters, I am only giving it 3 stars. It isn't the type of romance that I enjoy. I think it is vital reading for Victorian Canon but the story moves very slowly, Catherine Earnshaw is annoying and selfish, and Heathcliff is constantly villianized despite the fact that he is the only character that actually understands the true meaning of love.