A liberal interpretation of the lives and thoughts of the women of the early years of Plymouth, Boston and their daughter colonies. It is absorbing reading, for the author has succeeded in vividly recreating these women and it is a sensitive presentation of the period as well. She traces them from their English backgrounds, their coming to these shores, the first years of fighting the wilderness, sickness, starvation, savages, homesickness, fearfulness of what the new life would bring -- and then a gradual emergence into a somewhat easier way of life, broken by the bitter hatreds engendered by the witch persecutions and so on. The author has sought and found little known figures as well as the traditional ones, and through them all she explores the heritage of today's women from their pioneer ancestors. Fascinating reading.