Penguin Books, $26.95, 320 pages
Pulitzer Prize winning author, Geraldine Brooks’ latest novel Caleb’s Crossing is set in the 1600’s in Martha’s Vineyard. Young Bethia Mayfield and her family struggle to make a new life as farmers while her father is the pastor of the town’s church. Bethia yearns to learn all she can; how to read and write and speak other languages, but women in those times did none of these things. She eavesdrops on her father’s teachings at night and sneaks out during the day to explore the island. On one of these outings, she meets Caleb, a man from a local tribe who went on to graduate from Harvard as the first Native American to do so, in 1665.
Caleb’s Crossing is a tale of this young man’s quest for knowledge and his relationship with Bethia. The hard life they led in the early days of America shines through in the award winning author Geraldine Brooks’ book, adding authenticity with the Old English dialect-style writing. It is difficult to get started reading but once readers get past the strange language, it’s hard to put down. Applause for Brooks’ attention to detail and research in this heart-wrenching tale!