Calico Captive

Calico Captive

4.7 26
by Elizabeth George Speare
     
 

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In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War.

It is a harrowing march north. Miriam can only force herself to the… See more details below

Overview

In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War.

It is a harrowing march north. Miriam can only force herself to the next stopping place, the next small portion of food, the next icy stream to be crossed. At the end of the trail waits a life of hard work and, perhaps, even a life of slavery. Mingled with her thoughts of Phineas Whitney, her sweetheart on his way to Harvard, is the crying of her sister’s baby, Captive, born on the trail.

Miriam and her companions finally reach Montreal, a city of shifting loyalties filled with the intrigue of war, and here, by a sudden twist of fortune, Miriam meets the prominent Du Quesne family, who introduce her to a life she has never imagined. Based on an actual narrative diary published in 1807, Calico Captive skillfully reenacts an absorbing facet of history.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
Superior historical fiction.
Children's Literature
On the brink of the French and Indian War in 1754, Miriam Willard is captured along with her sister Susanna Johnson and her family by an Indian tribe in a raid on Charlestown, New Hampshire. The family is taken to an Indian camp where Miriam is pursued by an Indian boy, Mehkoa, whom she despises. Miriam and part of the family are then sold in Montreal to the French. Miriam becomes a servant to the DuQuesne family and quickly endears herself to the self-centered, socialite daughter, Felicité. The memory of loving Phineas Whitney, a beau met on the eve of the kidnapping when she wore her new calico dress, helps Miriam throughout her trials. Miriam's adventures with her one true friend, Hortense, a fellow servant, take her into the dangerous streets of Montreal, providing a page-turning adventure in each chapter. When Miriam and her sister are ejected into the streets by the DuQuesnes, she turns for help to Pierre Laroche, Felicité's heartthrob. Laroche has taken a fancy to Miriam and proposes marriage. The harsh dilemmas faced by the family are ultimately resolved by Miriam, who gains the family's freedom when her dressmaking skills lead her to the Governor's wife. An Epilogue tells of the family's safe return and Miriam's marriage to Phineas. The spirited, fictionalized story is based on an actual account of the journey written by Susanna Johnson at nearly seventy years old. While the language is a bit formal for today's readers, the vivid characterizations and events make for compelling reading, especially for girls seeking strong heroines and a taste of first romance. Filled with fascinating portrayals of life in Indian captivity, French life in Montreal in 1754, and thedangers of life for English pioneers, here is an ageless treasure. The author is a Newbery Medal winner for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow. 2001 (orig. 1957), Houghton Mifflin, $6.95. Ages 10 to 15. Reviewer: Elaine Wick
From the Publisher

"Vital and vivid, this short novel based on the actual captivity of a pre-Revolutionary girl of Charlestown, New Hampshire, presents American history with force and verve." Kirkus Reviews

"Superior historical fiction." Horn Book

"Convincing historical romance set during the French and Indian War." Booklist, ALA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547530970
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/29/2001
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
168,788
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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