The Primrose Wayby Jackie French Koller
Koller's story about a missionary family and the Pawtucket tribe is an exciting glimpse of North American history in the 1630s.
Ilene CooperSixteen-year-old Rebekah Hall thinks she knows what awaits her in the New World, where she is joining her father in a Puritan settlement. She is in for a surprise. Her missionary father has moved to the wilderness, and though life is rough, Rebekah finds solace in what she believes will be her life's work--she will save the souls of the Pawtucket tribe. Two Indians become particularly important to her: Qunnequawese, a maiden who is learning English (and teaching Rebekah the Algonquian language in return), and Mishannock, a holy man, for whom Rebekah finds her feelings growing. Koller has a few awkward moments at first. Her characters' British syntax seems forced, and there are instances when she buys into the "noble savage" ideal, offering a group of Indians who are almost flawless. Her attitude toward Mishannock is positively reverential; he's wise, kind, good, and handsome. No wonder Rebekah runs off with him in the end, defying religion and family. Still, the story itself, both as history and as romance, is quite compelling, and Koller hits on a key issue as Rebekah must decide not only if her culture is the only "correct" one, but also what values of another group she can accept as her own. The source note at the back, the glossary of English and Algonquian words, and the bibliography show Koller's done her homework, and the research gives the book the ring of authenticity.
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