Flight of the Sparrow – Book Comment

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America
Author: Amy Belding Brown
Publisher: Penguin 2014
Genre: Historical fiction
Paperback Edition: 326 pages plus Author’s Note, Conversation with the Author, Reader’s Guide
Source: Personal copy

This novel offers a contrast between life for a woman in the Puritan Colony in 1676 and life as a captive among the Indians of Massachusetts. It is based on the autobiographical narrative of captive Mary Rowlandson and much other research. The reader is truly transported into these two environments. Survival in each seems hard from a 21st century perspective.

One of the major themes in this story is slavery. Captured colonists are slaves of the Native Americans; Native Americans and Blacks are slaves of the Puritans. In this story no one really likes these arrangements nor takes responsibility for such. Our heroine knows what it is like on both sides of the issue. She questions everything and is changed by her experiences.

Even when the story seems a bit predictable, it is still a very enjoyable read. It is not always predictable. New to this reader was the powerful role played by the native woman who enslaves Mary. She rules not only over her own wetu, but over the entire tribe. She does this in a somewhat subdued way, but her power is never threatened.

Life in that time is ably presented by the author. If you like well-researched historical fiction, if you are drawn to captivity narratives, this is the novel for you. Goodreads gives it almost four stars. This reader give it four stars, remembering it is a favored genre.

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