When Rebekah Hall sails to Massachusetts to join her father in the new Puritan colony she is shocked by the harsh conditions of "the New Eden". Unlike the paradise described by her father, houses are small, drafty quarters dug into the earth, food is hard to coax from the rocky soil, and the weather is harsh. Rebekah is also shocked to discover the Native American peoples that populate the area. Convinced to get to know them better, she invites a Pawtucket girl named Qunnequawese to live with her so they can teach each other their traditions. She succeeds in learning the language of the people, and quickly becomes the colony's ambassador to the native's village. But as Rebekah interacts more and more with Qunnequawese and her family she startes to turn her back Puritan ways. Her eyes are opened as she begins to question which people are the true "savages".
I honestly simply picked this book up because it looked long enough and sounded somewhat interesting enough to keep me entertained in the 8 hour drive to San Diego on my family vacation. The first few chapters were rather slow, and seemed to confirm my original thoughts. Then the got me more and more involved, and I soon was unable to put it down. In addition to the huge amount of historical detail (including a glossary of Pawtucket words) this book also included suspense and a little romance. I was upset as it came to an end because it looked like there wouldn't be a happy ending. To my surprise, there was a major plot twist in the last two pages of the book that changed my prediction greatly. But you'll just have to read it for yourself to see.
This is a great story for any reader of historical fiction, especially those interested in early colonial history. This was really good and has quickly become one of my favorites. I recommend it to anyone.
Shady Glade rating: 9/10
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