Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

Written by Amy Belding Brown
Review by Bryan Dumas

In 1676, Mary Rowlandson finds herself face to face with the enemy. Her village is burnt to the ground in an Indian raid, and she is captured and sold into slavery. All her life, Mary is taught that the Indians who inhabit the darkened forest are heathens and sinful. Now, living among them, she sees both the quick brutality and genuine kindness of their way of life. When she is sold back to the English—and her minister husband—she realizes that she has more in common with the ways of the Indians than her Puritan world. She questions her husband, her community, and her God, and is torn between a life she wants and a life she must lead.

In this amazingly written and deeply researched book, Amy Belding Brown delivers 17th-century Massachusetts to the reader with a prose that springs from the page and wraps you in wonder. Flight of the Sparrow showcases the author’s imagination bound by her dedication to historical fact. Her writing engages with a passion and longing as Rowlandson struggles with a life she desires living in the woods with the Indians or reverting to a subservient Puritan wife and mother. As Mary tells her husband, “The truth is… that my time in the wilderness has changed me. Forever.” And so will you be. This is a book for both readers of literary fiction as well as those who love a well-researched work of historical fiction.