Suzanne's Reviews > Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
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Nov 26, 2011

Read from November 26 to 29, 2011

I didn't really care for this. It reminded me of Light in the Forest, Scarlet Letter, Girl With a Pearl Earring and a few other books which I preferred.
I found the language stilted. Imagine, Pilgrims living in Massachussetts, many, uneducated, always speaking in complete sentences, no contractions, "American diction". The natives were Christlike and Makepeace,the white man, brother of Bethia and son of a preacher,envious and unchristian. I thought this contrast was heavy handed. I really couldn't even understand the romance between Bethia and Corbet. Yes, he was an intellectual and admired her wit. But he really didn't appreciate her independence. Then he did. Too fast for him too fall in love and totally change. I thought of Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy announcing his love. At least "we knew" that he was proud.
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02/04/2017 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Gary  the Bookworm Not having read any of the novels you cited I had nothing to compare this to. It seemed completely original to me and I don't agree that the dialogue was stilted. This is a book about educated people who most likely spoke in complete sentences. As to your assertion that the love affair seemed implausible because of the heroine's streak of independence, may I suggest that many successful marriages were, and are, made between people who learn to overlook differences in outlook and decorum and to them I say, Viva la difference!

message 2: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Yes, they learn to overlook differences. Corbet seemed to have learned overnight.
If I remember correctly, Bethia's father and grandfather were not particularly educated, except in religion. Certainly, the Merry's were not.

Gary  the Bookworm True but an educated clergyman was expected to know English and Latin, not to mention Greek and Hebrew. As for the Merrys, we have no idea if they were well-educated. Even the well-educated had to eat. During early colonial times that meant farming. I would also suggest that sexual desire helped Corbett to overlook his partner's streak of independence.

Susan I'm not done with this yet but "heavy-handed" is exactly the right description of the contrast between Makepeace and Caleb. And many events and scenarios seem predictable as well.

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