Caleb's Crossing is a Story that Spans Through Time
A story that spans through time, Bethia Mayfield reveals the complex and troubled thoughts of a girl pinned by age, sex and moral upbringing.
Geraldine Brooks gives breath to Bethia to tell her story. A tale that is so complex that as a reader you can’t dare to try to think ahead. In Caleb's Crossing we are allowed to walk inside Bethia’s brain as she struggles with accepting death, shouldering guilt and allowing love to touch an immature heart.
Geraldine’s use of visual words and time stained wordage, gives this book a timeless feel. As much as I personally enjoyed the pace of speech from the characters, I couldn’t help at times but feel lost in their time. Having to frequently admit I had no idea what the word was, Geraldine is able to provide adequate context clues to guide the reader through the unfamiliar tongue.
Bethia is a well constructed character with a natural appeal to a reader as she struggles through conflicting thoughts that are well beyond the era that she was born in. Contrasting thoughts at times, her story ebbs and flows with emotion; taking the reader on an emotional journey. Bethia’s struggles become the reader’s own as you will her to make certain decisions and then scream at her when she does the opposite.
One of my favorite parts of Caleb’s Crossing was a scene where Bethia is literally torn between the “way of doing things”, personal obligations and the desire of the heart. In the written words you see her heart and mind do a vicious battle. Clinging to faith, yet intrigued by the intense spiritual cries from the Native Americans; Bethia is desperate and weakened. Through all of our childlike innocent ramblings that the reader is introduced to, this part strikes hard. We see the reluctant acceptance of feelings versus priorities in that moment and it resonates with the heart of a reader.
Geraldine is an extremely gifted writer with just enough truth to make you believe the fiction. I would recommend this book to friends who enjoy a period piece, historical backgrounds and a narrator’s voice. I do not believe someone who is not familiar with a period piece would be able to fully enjoy this gift of the book without trouble deciphering archaic terms and a forgotten way of speaking from the Early Americans.