Book Review Thursday: Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America


In early America the English and Native Americans were clashing in a conflict which came to be called “King Phillip’s War”.  This book is based on the real-life experiences of Mary Rowlandson, wife of a Puritan minister, who is taken captive when their town was overrun by a band of Phillip’s warriors.

Her husband is away at the time and Mary witnesses the horrors of the attack, watching several of her loved ones killed, and is then forced to march away into captivity.  She became the slave of a female sachem (chief), at first traumatized by her abrupt introduction to Native American culture.  Her youngest daughter died and the whereabouts of her other two children is unknown.

She finds kindness and compassion in the person of James Printer, a Praying Indian, who had previously lived among the English and was a Christian convert at one time.  As time goes on she finds herself, surprisingly, adapting to life among the Indians.  Yet, it’s still a struggle for her to leave behind the English ways and her faith.  Mary is eventually returned to her husband, followed by the release of her children.  However, she knows things will never be quite the same.
Although the book is fictionalized based upon Mary Rowlandson’s own account, author Amy Belding Brown manages to weave an emotion-filled tale based on an actual event, filling in characters and situations that were known to have been part of that historical era to bolster credibility.  I am cautious when I select books which are said to be works of “historical fiction” – I want them to have some element of truth and not be totally blown out of proportion as to what actually occurred.  This one seems to fit that criteria.

I found the book engaging and well-written with a meticulously-researched story line, even though some elements may or may not have actually occurred.  For the most part Ms. Brown used actual names, changing only a few to avoid confusion.

It’s an era I haven’t read nearly enough about and I definitely found it worth the long wait at the library. Anyone interested in early American history, especially events long forgotten, would find it a great read.

Rating:  ★★★★

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2015.

Leave a Comment