Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've had mixed experiences with Geraldine Brook's novels. Although I appreciate the amount of research she obviously does for each book, I wouldn't say that the first two that I read had blown me away so I was reticent to even read this novel. But, the reviews were so good and the premise so compelling that I gave it a shot. And, I am very glad that I did so. Although not a five star read for me, it was a really good novel with amazing characters and historical context.
Again, this one was obviously well researched ... Brooks made the time period come alive for me. I love that the novel was told from the perspective of Bethia ... I had expected it to be Caleb given the title. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the book came from a female perspective! One of the things I loved most about this novel is the authenticity that permeates the entire novel. The characters were beautifully written. Brooks made them come alive on the page. And, through them, the time period being explored became real to me. I didn't know a whole lot about that time period prior to reading the book. I love how Brooks made that history come alive through the journey of her characters.
There was something about it that keeps me from a 5 star rating that I'm not entirely sure that I can even explain. At first I thought that it was perhaps the fact that the novel is written in the language of the time, the pacing or the old fashioned feel of the narrative. But, I don't think so. All of those things were interesting but something keeps this novel from going from good to great. Something I'm having trouble fully explaining.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, then you will most definitely enjoy this novel. It's well written and brings the time period alive. I really liked it and definitely recommend it widely!
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