THE PROSPERING by Elizabeth George Speare


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Traces of Mrs. Speare's previous three historical novels for "young people" (two of which won the Newbery Award) still linger in this, her first novel for adults. This, too, is an historical novel, concerning the settling of Stockbridge, Mass. in the early 1700's, by young missionary John Sergeant, who hoped, and failed, to integrate Indians and whites in his colony; and its viewpoint character is a child, Elizabeth Williams. Elizabeth is a likable heroine, if basically one for "young people." The plain daughter of an ambitious family, whose beautiful sister marries John Sergeant, Elizabeth makes friends with the Indians, learns medicine, and in time comes to a sort of sturdy swanhood through a late, compromise marriage. Her imaginary life story tends, however, to dominate a history in which (in actuality) she is scarcely recorded. Zealous missionaries and stoic Indians, wars in the forests and abroad, and the struggle and failure of the Stockbridge Utopia are too often seen through her eyes, or through instructive dialogues. A pleasant novel of growing up, but transplanted rather than rooted in its history.
Pub Date: May 15th, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1966


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