Caleb's Crossing

Brooks, Geraldine

  8 Reviews

Bethia and Caleb's friendship bridges a cultural divide: Bethia is the daughter of a Puritan minister and Caleb is the son of a Wampanoag chieftain. Set in the 1660s in Martha's Vineyard, this is the story of their friendship that pushes the boundaries and expectations of their respective cultures resulting in Caleb becoming the first native American to graduate from Harvard College.

Inspired by real events, this remarkable story of Caleb's achievement casts light on the beliefs, aspirations and prejudices of an evolving society.

Comments from Groups

An interesting and enjoyable book. The author took such a small thread of actual known fact and created a marvellous historical novel. `Caleb` became a person whose early death we all felt so sad about! Recommended. Wellington 041

We enjoyed this book and the insight it gave into the lives of both American Indians and the colonists. We admired the authors integration of her research into the story-it was so smooth. We reacted to the misogyny of the Europeans and were fascinated by the Harvard details. Those of us who hadn't read her other books were encouraged to. At least one member questioned the reality of Bethia's character (being so good). Ngongotaha 001

This was a great book, most of us rated it 8/10. Stimulating discussion-generated from very good questions. Rotorua 006

All enjoyed it except two. Thought provoking. Well researched and written. Language appropriate for the time. Could be a good choice for a book read on radio. Christchurch 009

Rather uneven - slow start then tried to compress a lot into the second half. Members were divided in their opinions which led to a lively discussion. Wanganui 008

Everyone enjoyed the book and the discussion covered many topics. her style of writing appealed to all. Motukarara 001

We unanimously voted this a good book...appreciated the insight into life in the 1600s. There is 'a lot to this book' and for such an unusual topic we found it held our interest the whole way through. Napier 021

Mixed reviews. A number of members found it difficult to 'get into' but were pleased they persevered. Auckland 105

All except two members enjoyed the novel. Very interesting and informative history. Characters well drawn and believable. Comprehensive research filled out the story round the real people. Blenheim 003

We ranged from very enthusiastic to those who had been unable to finish it due to disinterest. All acknowledged it was very well written, and described the Puritan society and its interaction with the local environment well, but it was too long and wordy, so some members skipped a lot. Wellington 117

A wonderful book; thoroughly recommended by all of the book group. We had a lively discussion about the role of women at that time, and the relationship between the indigenous people and the English...Taupo 006

We are glad we, as women, didn't live in this period!! The world hasn't changed much for some countries though. Auckland 013

Wonderful weaving of the social mores of the time. Beautiful writing and authentic scene setting, but not universally loved. Nelson 044

One of the best books we have had in the last year. The story of an Indian boy and a Puritan girl's friendship in the mid/late 1600's. It described the differences between their lives and religions, and how their lives changed when they got to Harvard - Caleb to study, and Bethia as an indentured servant. Christchurch 010

Half of the group found the book difficult to get into. The remainder found it interesting, with the language of the era cleverly done. The discussion centred around the oppresion of women at that time, then moved on to similar regimes in other parts of the world in modern times. Christchurch 317



WINT 001
Everyone enjoyed this book. The writing is very descriptive and the author's depth of research bought the story to life. It was interesting to read a story with content that no one knew anything about beforehand. Highly recommended.
This book was enjoyed by all of the group. Lovely discussion had. Thank you!
CHCH 137
Great book - well written, and wonderful use of the "contemporaneous vernacular" - phew! Also excellent use of scant resource material. Interesting history including that on Harvard. Several members thought it a difficult 'start', but once into it they were hooked.
HAST 014
We enjoyed the general premise of the book, and the amount of research Geraldine had put into it. Two people did not complete the book as they struggled with the style of writing. We felt it meandered during the middle, then tied everything up nicely at the end...
AUCK 055
A wonderful book - Geraldine Brooks' mastery of the language of the time makes this novel so believable. The main character Bethia succeeds so well as a convincing woman of her time, that we were all drawn into the story.
RICH 001
We had a good discussion and felt we should read more of Geraldine Brooks. We knew very little about the colonial settlement of east Coast USA. and early contact with the Indians. The book gave us a new perspective on spiritual thought/religion.
CART 001
Language really good - gave an insight to the times (1700s).
CHCH 449
Although there were some interesting aspects of this story it was not rated highly by members. We didn't feel the title was totally appropriate or reflective of the storyline which didn't keep any of us totally engrossed. It was interesting reading of a different culture in another time but, overall, a book we would not recommend.