Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson is captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the on-going bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.
Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meaning of freedom, faith, and acceptance.
Mary Rowlandson an English woman, mother, wife, married to her pastor husband when she is kidnapped by Indians when her town is raided. Mary feels disdain towards her captors in the witnessing of family and friends viciously slaughtered during the raid.
Mary’s faith keeps her going during her uncertain days in captivity. Despite her animosity and fear she takes notice of the kind gestures and goodwill her captors grant her. Mary begins to take solace in the Indian way of life and questions her ‘freedom’ prior to her abduction. She begins to understand how oppressive and stifling her way of living was in comparison to the Indian way of carrying on.
She finds herself heavily conflicted with the difference between English and Indian societal beliefs and way of life. The biggest question facing Mary is freedom, she is confronted with defining and understanding freedom in toto. Wrestling with her societal expectations, religion and loyalty versus severe conflicts of mind, body and spirit she desperately navigates her way to find answers.
Brown really brings the question of freedom to the forefront, leaving the reader fully engaged and provoked in deep thought. The conflict Mary faces is another thought provoking element making this novel fascinating. Entertaining historical fiction read addressing many issues of our nations past and present.
Mary Rowlandson was a strong woman who embraced and relied upon her faith through a difficult trial. A woman unafraid to speak her mind or rebel when critical situations arose. A woman who is unknown to many and I applaud Brown for bringing her to light.
I was put off by a few instances in the book preventing me from giving it a higher recommendation. Nothing worth noting, merely personal pet peeves. I’m sure most readers will undoubtedly enjoy Brown and Flight of the Sparrow.