Excellent Historical Fiction that takes place in 1665 on an island called Great Harbor, now known as Martha’s Vineyard. A Puritan family settles on the land and the father, a minister, teaches the Native Americans the ways of the church and schools many in reading and writing. The minister’s daughter, Bethia, befriends Caleb, a Native American who along with his best friend learns at a fast rate qualifying them for the Indian School at Harvard University in Cambridge. Life is not easy and there are many hardships in the journey of life from the island, to Cambridge/Harvard, and back to the island for each character.
Geraldine Brooks offers the reader many historical facts and good visuals of life in the 1600s for Native Americans, Puritans, Educators and Women. She shows the difference for class structure, how beliefs and spirituality can work and how people can help each other. Plus, having the setting be of local history adds to the story.