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Hope Leslie: or, Early Times in the Massachusetts

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,105 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Hope Leslie (1827), set in the seventeenth-century New England, is a novel that forced readers to confront the consequences of the Puritans’ subjugation and displacement of the indigenous Indian population at a time when contemporaries were demanding still more land from the Cherokees, the Chickasaws, and the Choctaws.

"This handsome reprint ... makes available after many
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 1st 1987 by Rutgers University Press (first published 1827)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nancy Oakes
I have to say I'm very surprised at the number of one-star and two-star ratings for this book. Then again, maybe not. I suppose few people have too much patience for old-style writing these days. That's a shame.

While published in 1827, the author chose to set her novel in the mid 1600s and in the milieu of the Puritans of Massachusetts in order to examine her present and America's future "by way of the past." More here re plot, etc.

I can't possibly begin to expound on all of the issues that Sed
Sedgwick was raised Puritan but ultimately broke ties with the religion because of the harsh treatment of nonbelievers. It is very obvious in this novel that she really struggled with her decision. Her description of the massacre of the Native Americans is heart breaking. But the revenge massacre of the white family caring for two native children is just as terrible. She describes the natives as savages but also raises the question of why whites believed they had a right to evict them from their ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English Majors, Anyone
Recommended to Melissa by: Professor Wendy Dasler-Johnson
I 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
Sarah Echo
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary historical romance about the complex relationship between the Puritan settlers of New England and the Native Americans they encountered. Hope Leslie is a spirited heroine who seems out of place in this repressive society; but at the same time, she is able to bring out the best of those around her. She has an amazing effect on her friends, and has almost a sorceress-like quality with which she bends them to her will. In no way, however, is she an anti-Christian heroine. S ...more
I was sort of gung-ho about this for a while, but my interest tapered about halfway through. Then I was down to having one more chapter to read but wasn't able to finish it before I went out of town; so coming back to it today to finish even those last few pages was sort of like being told I missed a test in some class I skipped.

I picked this book up because it was referenced in depth in Ann Douglas's The Feminization of American Culture and I had a copy so why not see for myself what Douglas wa
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little hard to get into because the language is so archaic since it was written over 250 years ago. However, it had been recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trusted, so I kept going. I'm glad I did. I began to get caught up in the story and to care about the characters. The author had an interesting attitude about people for someone of her time: race, culture and upbringing don't matter as much as goodness of heart. Also, outward professions and acts of righteousness don ...more
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting themes going on here with the Puritans, Native Americans, and women's rights/place/ideals...the early American writers do quite like to ramble on, but the sensationalist/slightly gothic plot in the last hundred or so pages is quite riveting. Would be interesting to read alongside "The Scarlet Letter"...
Anna C
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I'm really not a fan of early American literature, taking "The Birth of the American Novel" was maybe not the smartest idea. After trudging through some truly appalling books, I was pleasantly surprised to catch myself enjoying "Hope Leslie."

Recently, there has been a movement within literature and feminist studies to uncover great women writers who have been excluded from the canon. "Hope Leslie," which achieved only moderate popularity in its own time, was rediscovered and instated in many
Samantha Baugus
Charlotte Temple was the biggest best teller in American, basically until Uncle Tom's Cabin came along. Considering the intensity with which female sexuality and expressions are strictly controlled throughout the entire book, I am somewhat surprised the book was so popular. But, I suppose, at the same time I'm not. Published in the 1790s, there was a dark cloud of female suppression hanging over America at this time. I supposed I just wanted to believe that women would have recognized their own ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
While this book offers interesting commentary on the colonists' relationship with Native Americans, women's role in society, and hatred that arises from a lack of tolerance for anything but strict adherence to religion through a dark story line and unique characters, Sedgwick's straying from the narrative with pages and pages of description really bogs the book down.
Often categorized (and thus demeaned) as a female Last of the Mohicans, Hope Leslie is a historical romance that accomplishes the unimaginable feat of making Puritans seem half-human. A full decade or so before Hawthorne would depict them as craggy, humorless grouches ("The Maypole of Merrymount"), Sedgwick manages to invest some real depth and conflict in the men and women of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, c. 1630-42 or so. This is at heart, however, a book about Native American relations, and o ...more
Read #1
Started on August 23, 2012
Finished on September 16, 2012
3.5 stars

I think my favorite character in this has got to be Magawisca (will be writing my essay for American Literature about her). A satisfying enough ending, but I sometimes wished there was more about the Native American/Puritan conflict instead of the love triangle between Hope, Everell, and Esther. I enjoyed Sedgwick's writing, but the sidebar conversations she had with "her readers" started to annoy me and became incredibly ti
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to start off with the fact that I read this for a class, so my mind was in an entirely different place than where it would be if I was reading for fun. That said, I did enjoy this book, but I'm not sure if I enjoyed the story in itself, or, as compared to the other stories that I'm not quite enjoying as much. Or, I truly loved the Hope Leslie, but I don't know if I liked her liked her, or was just starved for someone better in comparison.

The particular adventures of the title lady had me
Ashley Elliott
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-classes
I just read two-thirds of this in basically one sitting, so excuse me if I yawn.

All in all, this book was surprisingly good. I'll be honest - I'm not into classics very much (something I've tried to remedy over the past few years). This book was assigned to me for a course on the American novel, and I underestimated how much I'd like it. It's very much a romanticized version of life in the 1700's, and kind of a response to James Fenimore Cooper's novels. Very feministic, too, which I appreciated
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Before it was assigned reading for an American Lit. class, I'd never heard of this book or its author. As I started reading, I figured that was for a good reason. The prose is rife with flowery language and subordinate clauses that make each sentence a slog. However, Hope Leslie surprised me. It has these shining moments of sarcastic humor that poke through unexpectedly and, while most of the main characters are flat and boring, some of the side characters are pretty engaging. (Sir Phillip, colo ...more
Havalah Turner
This is my new favorite book. I read it for my American Literature class just recently and could not put it down. I even had to stop reading a few times because I was crying so hard.

It was written by Catharine Maria Sedgwick in 1827. The book is set in seventeenth-century New England amongst the Puritans in the Boston area. It was an interesting perspective into the lives of the puritans and their dealings with the indigenous Indians. Through the book, she displays all sides of the puritans. Sh
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Maria Sedgwick put America on the literary map with Hope Leslie. Written in 1827 and takes place in the 1630's, Sedgwick uses a romance plot during the early settlement of New England to get across her political view of the early 19th century politics on Indian Removal. Published only three years before the Indian Removal Act of 1830, this novel was put out during the middle of heated debates.
She also uses female protagonists, Hope and Magawisca, which also played a role in women's rig
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Early-American history buffs and lovers of period pieces
Recommended to Rachel by: College Course
Shelves: 3-liked-it
I am so glad I re-read this book. Hope Leslie is a fantastic story about early America - the search for a national identity, the adventure and danger of exploring new territories, the tensions between the American settlers and the native inhabitants, and the struggle between following your heart and supporting your cause. It also explores many timeless themes, such as the folly and innocence of youth, the balance between justice and mercy, and what makes a person good. And within all of that lie ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book about a year ago, but was interrupted after the first 50 pages or so. I picked it up last week & finished it today. I don't know if it was because the start of this book was interrupted or not, but for me, the first third of the book was a little slow. After that, I didn't want to put it down. I loved how this Early American female author created such strong female characters - Magawisca, who was brave, loyal, and proud; and Hope Leslie, who was strong-willed, tru ...more
Natalie Thompson
This book is a social commentary on the inequalities of both Native Americans and women. Its very subtle, as it is based in times where both parties were denied basic rights, thus the actual plot might not be liberal, but the attention/detail the narrator pays to the characters/scenes argue against the aforementioned inequalities. It is occasionally difficult to take in the character's actions, as they are sometimes racist or misogynistic, but one must remember that these characters have been sh ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first venture into anything by CMS, and I must say, it was much more entertaining than the lone Indian girl on the cover implied.

Strong female characters outshine the males by quite a margin, the occasional action/adventure scene livens things up (it grows a bit stale during the middle parts), and the romantic element is in full-bloom. Love is the air, and thy name is Everell. Guy must have been a stud.

Read this immediately after Cooper's The Pioneers and both paint an interesting picture of
if this book was written today, it would have gone completely unnoticed. It's all about timing. The book has nice things to say and all (cruelty to Native Americans, for example), but beyond that, everything here is moldy with outdated and flat writing. It makes constant reference to the reader, which derailed the reading for me every time it did so. The romance is sappy and the character sentimental and the writing uses commas more than periods, which is one of the problems I had in my Brit Lit ...more
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
A classic story about how love prevails all with an undertone of incest, manifest destiny, and white man's burden. The Indian characters in the story are, at first, portrayed quite strongly with many having their own opinions and trying to find the balance between white and their own native background. However, they fade to the back after a couple chapters in and appeared only to move the plot along to help Hope Leslie move on to her happily ever after ending.
Still quite an interesting read, es
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, 2013
Some interesting ideas at play here but I feel disconnected from most of the characters after reading--Sedgwick never really lets us inside of their heads. I find myself just not quite able to suspend my disbelief that this story would happen, that people would act like this--it's over the top. Good for Sedgwick for not demonizing the Native Americans here and I did enjoy reading this more than I expected. But while it's certainly pleasant, it doesn't go as far as it could and feels a bit shallo ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discovering Sedgwick's best known work made me angry, that I hadn't been urged to read it in high school. Penguin's edition is enhanced by a particularly illuminating introductory essay, which explains that 1820s American authors were attempting to forge a national literature distinct from European literature in theme and style. Although its a 200-year-old book of historical interest, there is nothing anachronistic about the characters, who leap to life from the first chapter. The book is more s ...more
I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed watching this story progress and how it all unfolded. I'm not entirely sure what the overall plot is, other than following a group of Puritans, who are all connected in some way, through events involving Native Americans, romance, and a man posing as a Puritan to obtain the main character as his bride.

I enjoyed many of the characters, Everell, Hope, and Magawisca especially. I also liked the ending, how Sedgwick gave readers a summary of what happened to all of the
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
The author of "Hope Leslie" is a contemporary of James Fenimore Cooper to give a frame of reference. This book is fun, it was for my class, but I would reccomend it to someone that likes to read about the early days in America (or New England). Hope Leslie is the main protagonist and she is always getting into scrapes, but she has such a charming personality that she always gets out of it too. :) I really like how Sedwick has some strong female characters and also how she shows both sides to the ...more
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Cooper wrote Last of the Mohicans, he created idiot women. Seriously. There are only 2 female characters. The smart on is killed off and the other one spends half the novel unconscious because she's always fainting.

The year after Cooper wrote his book, Sedwick wrote hers. Not satisfied wtih Cooper's depiction of American history without women, Sedgwick shows a wide variety of women--Native American, Puritan, Anglican, young and old, married and single. Sedgwick shows how important women we
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Catharine Maria Sedgwick was born December 28, 1789 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. As a young woman, Sedgwick took charge of a school in Lenox. She converted from Calvinism to Unitarianism, which led her to write a pamphlet denouncing religious intolerance. This further inspired her to write her first novel, A New-England Tale.

With her work much in demand, from the 1820s to the 1850s, Sedgwick mad
More about Catharine Maria Sedgwick...

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