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Flight of the Sparrow
A Novel of Early America
Amy Belding Brown

NAL Trade
July 1, 2014/ ISBN 9780451466693
Literature & Fiction – Biographical Historical, 1672 New England

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Mary Rowlandson’s Puritan minister husband is away when a tribe of Nipmuc Indians attack her village, capture Mary and her three children and kill several others before they set fire to the town. Mary carries her mortally wounded daughter during the forced march to the Nipmuc settlement, but her daughter dies and she becomes separated from her children. Fortunately, James Printer, an educated Indian who speaks English, befriends Mary and several times saves her life. Mary is given to Weetamoo, a female tribal leader of high status. As Weetamoo’s slave, Mary works hard, but gains more freedom and independence than she had ever known as a Puritan. She soon adjusts to native ways.

Mary’s emotional growth was the main focus of this novel for me. A woman who bows her head in obedience to her husband, Mary’s life with the native Indians reveals the vast differences between her culture and that of the natives. The natives show their children love, not harsh Puritan discipline. Females like Weetamoo have power and respect.

After Mary returns to Joseph, the community regards her as “tainted” though she protests that she was treated kindly and never molested. Soon Mary feels as caged as the sparrow her husband gave her. She misses the freedom that life with the natives provided. I easily identified with the longing for her rapport with James, whose many kindnesses made Mary’s life with the Nipmuc bearable and for whom she eventually feels more than mere friendship. It’s due to her feelings toward him that the story of her captivity is finally told.

Flight of the Sparrow is a mesmerizing tale, based upon historical facts and persons who lived in Colonial America – a truly engrossing and entertaining novel I found hard to put down.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2014