Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Calico Captive” as Want to Read:
Calico Captive
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Calico Captive

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,596 Ratings  ·  298 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
Published July 1st 2005 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1957)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Elizabeth George Speare is best known as the author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, winner of the 1959 Newbury medal and a long-time favorite comfort read of mine, but I've never read any of her other books. But a few weeks ago one of my friends, Carol Storm, strongly recommended Calico Captive in her GR review, so I decided to grab it at the library and give it a read.

Calico Captive is a fictionalized version of a few years in the life of Miriam Willard, a teenage girl who is kidnapped from he
Lars Guthrie
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah Markus
Welcome to another episode of Deborah's Library Book Is Overdue! Today's special guest is a YA novel by Elizabeth George Speare, author of the modern classic The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Although Deborah read this book in a couple of hours and her library now allows her to renew books twice provided no one has placed a hold on the title, she still managed to put off reviewing it long enough to rack up some minor but humiliating fees.

Deborah also deserves some public mocking for the fact that, w
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2007
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.
Carol Storm
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Fifties classic is one of the greatest YA novels ever written -- in some ways it's even better than THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND!

Elizabeth George Speare had a very special gift. She was able to create teen heroines who were strong, self-reliant, and independent -- but always with a soft spot for a cute boy. She was able to use all of the danger and intrigue of the past -- witch trials in Puritan New England, terrifying Indian raids on the frontier -- as a backdrop for the heroine's romantic
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
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5/5 stars

I was thrilled to be reading this book, having recently read and adored Elizabeth’s other novel, ‘The Witch of Blackbird Pond’. I didn’t like the story in this novel as much as I did in the other one, although I still enjoyed it and rated it 3.5/5 stars. The writing was wonderful, it was well paced, I just didn’t find the story all that interesting.
This novel featured many wonderful characters and messages, such as faith, hope, and sacrifice.
I loved our main character
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
Michelle Young
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, history
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...
Laura (Book Scrounger)
Elizabeth George Speare was one of my favorite authors during my adolescent years. I fell in love with The Bronze Bow, and really enjoyed The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I loved how Speare incorporated romance into her stories in a very subtle way, and how her endings always seemed to finish on just the right note.

Somehow I never got around to reading this one, until a few months ago when I found it at a used book sale.

Overall I really enjoyed it -- unlike her other works of historical fiction, th
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
This was just as good as I remembered! There is just the right mix of adventure, suspense, romance, friendship, and character growth . . . and ball gowns and hot chocolate. Plus, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting. I think this would make a great movie, if done right. My favorite parts of the book are once they get to Montreal (thankfully, that's the majority of the book). I just love how the city at this period is brought to life. Elizabeth George Speare is a master ...more
Melinda Ross
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Laura Verret
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
Lily Sacharow
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advisory-books
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
Dec 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book left me sooo mad. And I really don't know why. A typical story of a young girl kidnapped by Indians and how she earned her freedom. However, she ends up dumping a couple guys along the way, and although I don't necessarily think she should have married them like they wanted her too, she got rid of them in a shameful and disgraceful way. She had no concern for their feelings. Okay for younger readers, however, I would, as a parent, discuss the views of Miriam and her suitors with my chi ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written historical fiction for young people. There aren't many stories set in colonial America during the Seven Years/French & Indian War. I loved this story when I was elementary-age. At that time, the early part of the story detailing Miriam and her family's lives with Native Americans was my favorite part of the book. Decades later, I find Miriam's life in Montreal more interesting. Since this makes up about 3/4 of the story, it was a nice change from my original readings!
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
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
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Reread September 2017;
Taking this down to four stars, I liked it still, but it was not the same as I remembered. And just not a five star book anymore.
scary-ness with indians and all that, but nothing really happens because they were not bad to them.
A man gets drunk and some idle language very briefly (not any hard language, but they do use " devil" as swear word.

First time:
Five stars! My heart was always so with the family and rooting for them. And I was just in the same mindset for m
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good historical fiction book with a touch of romance.

I found the characters a bit hard to relate to though....

This story is based on the true story of a girl and her sisters family settled in the New World. It follows them as they get attacked and captured by Indians and then taken to Quebec, Canada. It has a good story line and I like that the characters are resourceful but I find them very hard to relate to. The main character has an intense hatred for the Indians, which, though I know it i
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I randomly saw it on the shelf at the library and checked it out because I enjoyed Witch of Blackbird Pond. Not sure how I made to 40 years old not knowing Elizabeth George Speares was an excellent writer. I liked this book as much as Witch of Blackbird Pond. I like her ability to write historical fiction with a hint of youthful romance. It inspired me to research more about the French and Indian War, an event in history I admit I don't know much about. I would recomm ...more
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth
  • Sarah Bishop
  • Time Enough for Drums
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile
  • The Ramsay Scallop
  • Snow Treasure
  • Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison
  • A Murder for Her Majesty
  • The Old Testament (Great Courses, #653)
  • I Am Regina
  • The Last Crusader
  • The Winged Watchman (Living History Library)
  • The Sherwood Ring
  • Madeleine Takes Command
  • Shakespeare's Scribe (Shakespeare Stealer, #2)
  • The Iron Peacock
  • The Shining Company
  • Betsy Was a Junior (Betsy-Tacy, #7)
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...

Young Adult Deals

  • Things I Should Have Known
    $9.99 $2.99
  • These Vicious Masks
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Queens of Geek
    $7.80 $2.99
  • The Lovely Reckless
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Door Within (The Door Within, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Crash (Crash, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Memory of Things
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Love, Lies & Spies
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Perfected (Perfected #1)
    $5.99 $0.99
  • Allegedly
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Unspoken (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation, # 2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama (Ala Notable Children's Books. Middle Readers)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (The Adrian Mole Series)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Been Here All Along
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Season of Fire (The Remnants, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
“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.” 26 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
More quotes…