Caleb's Crossing Surprised Me

BlogHer Review

I wasn't sure what to expect with Caleb's Crossing. I'm generally not a fan of historical novels, and tend to naturally gravitate toward only a few types of books (i.e. mystery, crime, chick lit, etc.)

It didn't take long for me to get into the story, which centers around a young girl named Bethia Mayfield, who lived in the 1600's on Martha's Vineyard and later, Cambridge. She lives among a group trying to bring religion to the local tribes, which remain resistant. Bethia is a young girl who has had to take on enormous responsibility and endure tragedy beyond her years. She seems constantly conflicted between what is expected of her and customary among her colony, and wanting more for herself and deeming herself worthy of an education and brain that she can use. She longs to involve herself in intellectual conversation, but must learn secretly by eavesdropping on her father's teachings.

Bethia meets Caleb, a Wampanoag Indian, and they become friends, unknown to her family. Caleb eventually joins the family to further his education and to learn what Minister Mayfield has to teach about Christianity and God. The story follows his (and Bethia's) journey to Cambridge.

I have mixed feelings about the book. I breezed through it. I found it quite interesting, but I feel that many pieces of it were unfinished. I feel like the story between Bethia and Caleb was unfinished and largely ignored after piquing my interest so strongly at the start. I think many will disagree with me, considering how the book ended, but it wasn't the exploration or resolution of their relationship that I was hoping for or expecting.

The ending of the book left me a bit confused. The story was resolved, we understand where the characters are, but I'm not quite sure I completely understand why Bethia made some of the choices that she did. I didn’t see them coming. I don’t think I missed clues or obvious foreshadowing. I feel it may not have been discussed thoroughly.

With that said, my interest in this book surprised me. I was quickly sucked in, and did not want to put it down. I wondered what would happen. I would certainly recommend it to someone interested in this genre.

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