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Flight of the Sparrow    by Amy Belding Brown order for
Flight of the Sparrow
by Amy Belding Brown
Order:  USA  Can
New American Library, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown takes the reader back to 1675, the time of the settlement of Boston and its environs, and subsequent Indian raids. The story is based on the amazing true life of Mary Rowlandson.

Mary was the wife of a straight-laced minister who swallowed any emotion he might have had and expected his wife and children to do the same. He believed it was the Lord's bidding. No love was shown in his house. No respect. No compassion. There was hard work and very little play. Everyone in the house had to toe the line, down to the smallest of the family. A hard way to live.

Mary is captured in a raid and taken back to an Indian village. She witnesses the killing of her neighbors and family members and carries Sarah, her tiny daughter, who was sorely wounded. The child dies and others of her children were also taken in the raid.

Mary is sold to a female tribal leader as a slave. Life is hard. Too little food. Too much labor that needs strength. Her sleep is filled with dreams of the raid and those beloved figures in her life dead. She mourns for Sarah. And waits for her husband to come looking for her. One of the male Indians speaks English and, to her horror, Mary feels drawn to him. He treats her with compassion and respect.

She's impressed by the freedom of the women and children in the village. Even she, a captive, is permitted to wander by herself when she has no chores. Eventually she's ransomed and returned to a burned out house. Her husband seems in no hurry to join her. But he can't force himself to touch her. She's now tainted! Living in an Indian village, everyone is sure that she was forced into sexual acts. And they look down on her for it. This really got my dander up.

Her husband's life is no longer the life she desires. She wants a chance to explore her own world and contribute to it. His life is rigid, demanding, and full of quotes from the Bible to suit the moment. She is to submit to God's will. But she can't believe in a God who would permit the ordeal she was forced into and for which she is now being ostracized.

This is a very interesting depiction of the time. I found it a restrictive life. But the language, the foods, the houses, the clothes were extremely interesting. I've always loved history and this took me back to a time I was happy to read about. But I am very glad to live today and not then.

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