Elizabeth Speare’s legacy

For the love of books

The Witch of Blackbird PondCalico CaptiveThe Sign of the Beaver, and The Bronze Bow were all written by one novelist, Elizabeth Speare, and they share a common theme.

In all four novels, the main characters are faced with difficulties and hardships that they overcome despite their personal beliefs and loyalties.  The heroine in The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Calico Captive is forced to be away from the people and the land that she loves, while having to conform to a strange lifestyle and new customs.  In The Bronze Bow and The Sign of the Beaver, each male lead character is in the midst of complicated circumstances with only his instincts and skills to help him survive.

It is interesting to note that The Bronze Bow is the only novel by Speare that is not set in colonial North America but in ancient Palestine.  Religion and politics are concurrent topics in the four novels.  The start of Christianity, the debate between Christian values and Jewish beliefs, and the Roman occupation of Palestine are all discussed in The Bronze Bow, while the start of the American Revolution and the Puritan community have a main role in The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  The Sign of the Beaver focuses on Native American traditions, but Calico Captive also includes a special emphasis on the differences between the Catholic French and the Protestant British.  Elizabeth Speare transforms historical fiction into living, breathing narratives with believable characters and detailed settings.

Original review: Part 4: Lesser-known authors of books for children, Examiner.com

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