In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. From the few facts that survive of his extraordinary life, Geraldine Brooks creates a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. When Bethia Mayfield, a spirited twelve-year-old living in the rigid confines of an English Puritan settlement - and the daughter of a Calvinist minister - meets Caleb, the young son of a Wampanoag chieftain, the two forge a secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. As Bethia's father feels called to convert the Wampanoag to his own strict faith, he awakens the wrath of the medicine men. Caleb becomes a prize in a contest between old ways and new, eventually taking his place at Harvard, studying Latin and Greek alongside the sons of the colonial elite. Fighting for a voice in a society that requires her silence, Bethia becomes entangled in Caleb's struggle to navigate the intellectual and cultural shoals that divide their two cultures. Once again, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks brings to vivid life a shard of little-known history, and through Bethia and Caleb explores the intimate spaces of the human heart.
Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning March, Year of Wonders, and the non-fiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Previously, Brooks was a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East. Born and raised in Australia, she divides her time between Sydney and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. She lives with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons, Nathaniel and Bizuayehu.