Posted by Book Mavens on 27th March 2012
Title: Caleb’s Crossing
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. September 2011
Review/Summary: Caleb’s Crossing is a wonderfully written historical fiction novel based on the first Native American to graduate Harvard College in 1665. The story is told through the voice of Bethia Mayfield, the daughter of a minister dedicated to spreading the Christian word among the Wampanoag tribe. Denied a formal education, Bethia improves her mind by secretly listening to her brother’s lessons and teachings of her father. At 12-years-old, Bethia meets Caleb, a young tribesman and the two form a secret friendship. Bethia teaches Caleb the English language, which becomes the foundation enabling him to further his education, and Caleb provides her with an understanding of his people, which helps her in dealing with natives.
Christian and tribal beliefs are challenged, along with the ability to cross over from one culture to another. After many hardships and tragedies, Caleb’s and Bethia’s characters remain strong, determined, and inspirational. Caleb’s Crossing provokes much discussion and is an excellent choice for book clubs.
Who will like this book?: Readers of historical fiction who like to be transported to another area. Those who want to know more about Native Americans and the colonial era.
If you like this, try this: If you like the way Geraldine Brooks writes, you can check out her other historical fiction books, including “People of the Book”, or “Year of Wonders”. If the subject matter interested you, try “Mayflower”, by Nathaniel Philbrick as a prelude to the events depicted in “Caleb’s Crossing”. Or, try some other authors famous for historical fiction like Ken Follett, Charles Frazier, or Diana Gabaldon.
Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation staff
If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check its availability and/or place a hold!
Tags: 2011 Releases, America, Colonial, Hardvard, Native Americans, New England
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 3rd July 2008
Titles: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Summary: It was sheer coincidence that I read these two novels back to back, so I thought it would be nice to review them together. The two stories have a lot in common and share many similar themes, but each one evokes a completely different (and wonderful!) reading experience.
Garden Spells is a delightful story about two half-sisters, Claire and Sydney, their magical garden, and life in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina. The Waverly women have always had mysterious gifts, but they’ve not always embraced them. Claire’s magic comes through the herbs and spices she uses from the famous Waverly garden, while Cousin Evanelle intuits exactly what item people will need the most and gives it to them. Sydney spent most of her life running away from her gifts, but finds herself returning to Bascom with her daughter when her boyfriend becomes abusive. As the bond between Claire and Sydney grows, so does their appreciation of their unusual talents. This book was a pleasure to read, the perfect summer novel.
If Garden Spells is the perfect summer novel, then The Lace Reader is its perfect cold weather counterpart – it’s a bit darker, but still a fantastic read. We meet another family with mystical powers, the Whitneys of Salem, Massachusetts. The Whitney women can read your future in patterns of the Ipswich lace that they help to make, which leads some people to believe they are witches. Towner Whitney thought she’d left all of that behind when she moved to California, but she’s called back home when her beloved Aunt Eva goes missing. Her return to the family home sets off a series of events that are a more than a little unsettling. There are some fascinating people and places in this novel. I particularly loved reading about Salem and Yellow Dog Island, a fictional island of the coast of Massachusetts that’s inhabited by hundreds of wild Golden Retrievers.
By the way, The Lace Reader is one of the books that created a buzz at this year’s Book Expo America. It’s being published in hardcover this month, but we happened to have a previously-published paperback edition on our shelves – and I’m so glad we did!
Who will like these books?: Any fan of Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel.
If you like these try: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman; The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen.
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian
Tags: American South, Massachusetts, Mental Illness, New England, North Carolina, Psychics, Romance, Salem, Sisters, Twins, Witchcraft
Posted in Fiction, Literary | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 3rd January 2008
Title: The Arsonist’s Guide to Writer’s Homes in New England
Author: Brock Clarke
Summary: Take one part fictional memoir, one part mystery and add as self-confessed bumbler with a sprinkle of literary landmarks and you have this delightful book.
Sam Pulsifer, the narrator, accidentally torches the Emily Dickinson house and kills two people. After serving 10 years in prison, he returns to Amherst to begin his life anew with college, marriage, and fatherhood. His idyllic life goes up in flames as an arsonist begins to torch more writers homes, leaving him as the unlucky suspect. Our bumbler only wishes he had read more mysteries as a guide to help him in his quest for the arsonist instead of literary works of art.
Who will like this book?: Mystery readers who like humor in their books, and readers who wish to take an irreverent literary tour through New England
Recommended by: Sandy, Technical Services
Tags: Arson, New England
Posted in Fiction, Literary, Mysteries & Thrillers | No Comments »