Crow Hollow was chosen as my free book of the month from Amazon. There were no YA titles offered, and I was intrigued by the description of this adult historical fiction title. I was not disappointed in my choice.
James Bailey, on the commission of the King of England, arrives in Boston harbor in December of 1676 along with his Indian/Quaker friend, Peter Church. Though they traveled in secret, they are met at the docks by a dour group of men with muskets. These men assume that James and Peter are there to look into the death of one of the king’s agents. Told to stay on the ship and return to England, James tells them that he and Peter are on the King’s business. James has been given license by the king to discover what happened at Crow Hollow when the agent, Sir Benjamin Cotton, and most of the residents were attacked by the normally peaceful Nipmuk Indians and the village almost destroyed – but this is their business.
The agent had a wife who was taken by the Nipmuk, and a 1-year-old, Mary, who was, it was believed, killed by them. Prudence was convinced that her baby was still alive and was determined to find a way to get her back. James has his reasons to learn the truth, and when he tries to leave Boston quietly, he is joined by none other than Prudence Cotton. She demands that he listen to her story, and though he does not know what to believe about her daughter, Prudence’s experience with the Nipmuk, her observations about the Godly men who exist in her world, and her own conclusions about the death of her husband confirm to James that there is more to the story than what meets the eye.
At first, I was not sure about choosing a story that took place during the days of the Puritans. It seems like the very story would be so constricted by the values, virtues and strictness of that time. I was pleasantly surprised that even though it was Puritanical through and through, there was plenty of room to make it a good, three-dimensional tale. It is very interesting, too, to hear the differences in beliefs when James, who is Church of England, and Prudence, whose own sister is married to the local reverend, speak of the differences between the religions. I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that the Puritans are a humorless lot. But to learn that they didn’t celebrate Christmas (too pagan!); that everyone, and I mean everyone, had to attend church services, no excuses (they’d come find you!); and, if they were wrongdoers, they had to submit to lashings and being pilloried and put in the stocks for various offenses (read from the pulpit!). It makes you wonder how people waited until almost three hundred years later to become hippies.
The tale is wonderfully written, and I certainly felt transported to that time period. There’s a wonderful mystery or two, and the cover is quite striking. If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.
Crow Hollow by Michael Wallace was published today, June 1, 2015 by Lake Union Publishing. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page by Amazon.
Genre: Adult Fiction Historical Romance