Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Calico Captive

Calico Captive is a historical fiction novel written by Elizabeth George Speare and published in 1957. While classified as a book for children, it is an excellent book for any girl wishing to curl up on a rainy day and be transported hundreds of years back in time into the life of a girl not so different from herself.

Calico Captive was based off true events of a family living in New Hampshire in 1754. Susanna Johnson recorded her experiences in a book Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson, and the book is built on the events recorded therein.

The main character is Miriam Willard, the younger sister of young wife and mother, Susanna Johnson. Miriam lived with Susanna's family just outside the town of Charlestown, New Hampshire. One day, Miriam's life is full of hope and promise of happiness. But the next day, her hopes are dashed, and she and Susanna's family are trailing bound through the woods, looking forward to nothing but possible death or slavery. Bound by Indian captors and facing near starvation and difficult terrain, Miriam struggles with hateful feelings towards the strange enemy people, anxiety for her expectant sister, and fear of what might lay ahead.

After the Johnsons and Miriam reach the notorious St. Francis, things seem to take a turn-- rather for the worse-- as the family is broken up bit by bit. Miriam, her brother-in-law, and two of Susanna's four children, are taken to Montreal, where they are further split up, and Miriam is sent to work for a well-to-do family as a servant. A whirlwind of events work to change her from the frontier girl she had always been. Will her family ever be together again? Will she ever again see the man she left her heart behind with, or does Montreal hold other plans for her?

While the book is not written from a particularly Christian perspective (though Christianity mentioned in a historical way), the reader of Calico Captive still gleans much of both the early history of our nation and also the close bonds of the family and the nature of true love and friendship. The writer does an excellent job in catching the reader up in the adventures; while reading it, the reader can feel Miriam's loneliness, confusion, and struggles with pride, fear, and anger. The reader's heart aches with hers as her family is torn apart and rejoices with her as she discovers the qualities of life that really matter--and that people are the same, whatever their nationality, and that honesty, goodness, and love are far more important than any of the riches and prosperity the world may have to offer. Calico Captive is an excellent companion to learning early United States history and a fun candidate for a rainy-day quick-read to any who enjoy a good history and romance!

6 comments:

Rosebud said...

Another one I need to read again! =D

Marie said...

That sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.

Stephanie12 said...

I LOVE that book...I really need to read it again. :-)Good book report!

Alaina said...

That book sounds really good! Where can you find it?

Melanie said...

I think you can get it from Amazon and other places on line. It IS a VERY good book! :-)

Miss S. said...

Ooh! I love this book. I ought to read it again.
~Miss S.