Flight of the Sparrow
Amy Belding Brown
New American Library
New York, New York
"We have both sold our souls to gain acceptance in this new and terrible world."
Living as a Puritan woman in 1676 as a resident of Massachusetts Bay Colony is not easy, even for Mary Rowlandson, who is a local minister's wife. Her daily life is always demanding with raising children and providing for her family. Her position is one of service, night, and day, to her loved ones and church. She does not have free time to reflect, think, or read.
While her husband is away, her home is attacked by Indians. Unfortunately, there is not enough defense to protect her family and friends from the attacking natives. Very few men were left behind to defend them.
During the attacked, she was grazed by a bullet that hit her daughter. With little defenses, her friends and family are either killed or captured as slaves.
Being dragged through the cold and snow while carrying your injured child while being hurt is overwhelming. The prisoners are roped together by both the neck and hands to person both in front and behind her. Somehow she continues while frantically looking for her son and daughter among the prisoners. She witnesses abuse to her friends and neighbors on this arborous journey, even death.
Flight of the Sparrow is Mary's story relating her life as a Puritan woman, through her survival as a slave and even through her return to Puritan life. The reader is with Mary as she quickly learns how to survive as a slave while living day-to-day as a Native American. With the challenges of a new culture and language, while fighting the winter cold, hunger, and exhaustion, she also experiences immense kindness and a way of life that makes her envious of their way, even though their culture is dying.
For Mary, this realization is precisely the opposite of everything in her upbringing whether hating Indians, submitting to her husband and fearing God. She is shocked to learn that this new life is preferable to her Puritan ways.
Flight of the Sparrow is an enthralling novel seen through Mary's eyes. The reader journeys through her experiences both in the daily life of both the Puritan and Indians creating an outstanding example of setting for both the pace of the area of Massachusetts Bay Colony around the year of 1676. The reader is with Mary in both time and place.
While rich in history, I did find fault with this gem weaving itself into a romance novel. This story is well written. For such an excellent fictionalized account based on the published journal of Mary, the intended audience is adult women who enjoy historical romance novels.
Amy Belding Brown is currently a writing teacher at Granite State College. She is married to a minister and has raised four children. Previously she has written numerous articles for various magazines and one novel, Mr. Emerson's Wife.
Overall, Flight of the Sparrow is a wonderful historical romance novel of the Puritanical and Native American times.