Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three on Thursday: The Colonies

It's funny how thoughts collide.  For instance, the recent storm has had many of us learning to make do without electricity here in the Northeast recently.  And we're coming up on Thanksgiving.  Somehow, the combination has me thinking about the early colonies in America, and what you have here are a few titles that might get you thinking about how thankful we are for some of our more modern conveniences...

Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks.  I cannot tell a lie.  I love Geraldine Brooks.  She has the ability to take a slim stalk of fact and use it to weave the most amazing novels.  Here, a young man in 1665 becomes the first Native American to graduate from Harvard.  This much is fact.  The lens we view his story through is that of a young woman, envying Caleb his education as it is closed to her, and following his relative freedom from her own position as an indentured servant.  Bold and wild as an untamed continent.

Blackbird House, by Alice Hoffman.  Set in the outer reaches of Cape Cod, in a single dwelling, these interconnected stories follow the women who live in Blackbird House over the course of two hundred years, from the British occupation of Massachusetts to the present day.  These lives are full of love and hope, fear and betrayal, secrets and the sharing of truths.  Bonus: if you like this collection of stories, you might also enjoy Hoffman's The Red Garden, which has a different location and set of characters, but a similar span of history across a number of stories.  Both give some great insight on the endurance of the human spirit, and an illuminating look at certain periods in our history.

The Fort, by Bernard Cornwell.  If you'd prefer your fiction with a bit more military flair, The Fort may be just what you're looking for.  Set in Maine during the American Revolution, the story follows events of the summer of 1779, when much of the major fighting had moved south in the colonies.  Yet on the coast of New England, a small contingent of British soldiers set up a garrison, sheltering loyalists and harassing privateers.  Among those caught up in the ensuing skirmish is one young colonel, Paul Revere.  Think you know how this story goes?  You might be very surprised.

Have some favorites set in this time period that you'd like to recommend?  Leave me a comment!

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