Move over, Jacob: Caleb from Caleb's Crossing is my new hero
I have a confession to make: I decided to read Caleb's Crossing because I had just finished reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, and my mind was full of middle-aged housewife fantasies about the Native American werewolf, Jacob Black. Another tale of romance between a hot, shirtless Native American and his white, book-loving, doesn't-feel-like-she-belongs-in-her world childhood best friend? Bring it on!
Although I started the book for Jacob, I finished it for Caleb. Saving Bella from evil vampires is a piece of cake compared to the hardships and sacrifices faced by the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Geraldine Brooks has taken this piece of real-life history and has woven around it a wonderful story about the triumph of friendship and the human spirit over prejudice and ignorance.
Through old-fashioned language and detailed descriptions, Caleb's Crossing takes you into the harsh realities of life of in 17th-century America, when women and children died regularly in childbirth, when a bad drought meant a failed crop and a winter with no food, when soured milk meant a witch or shaman had cursed you. With so much stacked against them, you can't help be amazed by how Caleb and Bethia, the narrator of the story, managed to accomplish everything they did. I cheered as Caleb and Bethia managed to forge their friendship and keep it a secret. I cheered as Bethia, through that friendship, rid herself of the prejudices against Indians and heathens drummed into her since birth. I cheered as Caleb ignored the insults and struggled through the hardships to prove himself equal to any white man. I cheered as Bethia found a way to satiate the thirst for knowledge that women were not supposed to have. And I cheered as Bethia found a partner in life who respected and admired her intellect and spirit (Will it be Caleb? Will it be Noah Merry, the man her father and brother want to see her married to? Or will it be someone else? Read the book and find out!). How they overcame these obstacles makes for a great story, one I would recommend to anyone who likes romance, historical fiction and a gripping read.