Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

This novel is based on historical facts.  Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians and returned to society for a ransom.  She came back a different person than she was when she left...

NAL Trade and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 1st, so grab a copy then.

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676, was settled by Puritans.  Mary was taught to obey her husband, offer no opinions of her own, and to follow the rules of the bible.  The fact that her husband's interpretation of them is different than Mary's doesn't matter.  She must do what she is told.

The Indians are uprising after mistreatment and stolen land, and the town Mary lives in is getting nervous.  Her husband and a contingent of men go to ask for soldiers to help protect the town.  As soon as they are gone, the Indians attack.

I like the way Ms. Brown portrays the Indians:  They are savages and act cruelly.  But that's not the whole picture.  As you watch Mary's captivity, you learn they can also be kind.  They share their food with all, even when there's nothing much to eat.  They cloth her, fix her hair, and give her freedom to do what she wants after chores.  She never had free time at home. Many times what Mary learned in the Indian camps almost made her sick, but it wasn't long before she was helping harvest squirrels and using everything to make soup.  When food is a precious commodity and others will steal it if you don't eat it fast, you start eating fast!

Coming back was hard for both Mary and her husband.  She hadn't been violated but no one believed her.  Her husband wanted to, but he still didn't want to lay with her.  She was depressed, missed the intimacy they had before, and she didn't like staying in the house all the time.  He got nervous when she went walking because he thought she might run away.

Mary had sorrow in her life.  She also saw both sides of life and was more sympathetic towards the Indians than she had been in the past when she didn't know any of them.  She was always an outsider to the city folk because of her experience, but she managed to go with her life and even fall in love.  As long as you don't give up, there's always hope.

Anyone who likes historical novels, information about Indian life, or stories of captives will enjoy this story.  It held my interest all the way through and I'm not a big history fan.  I admire Mary for her strength of character and was glad to read about her.

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