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Hope Leslie: Or, Early Times in the Massachusetts (American Women Writers)

3.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813512228
ISBN-10: 0813512220
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A splendid conceived edition of Sedgwick's historical romance." -- Choice

"Develops the connections between patriarchal authority within the Puritan State and its policy of dispossessing and exterminating Indians...." -- Legacy

"makes available after many decades the New Englander's tale of seventeenth-century Puritans and their relations with the indigenous Indian population." -- Nineteenth-Century Literature

During the 1800s, Catharine Sedgwick was considered one of the founding authors of American literature; unfortunately she was relegated to obscurity in our century and only recently rediscovered. But there's more to Catharine Sedgwick than historical interest - she was a writer who considered political and ethical questions through marketable, often fast-paced literature, in the process producing some of the most spirited women in fiction. Hope Leslie whirls off the pages like a combination of Pippi Longstocking, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Gloria Steinem. A free-thinker in the midst of a repressive eighteenth-century Puritan tradition, Hope is determined to follow her own conscience, and she repeatedly rebels in ingenious, dangerous, and often humorous ways. She frees imprisoned Indians, challenges the restrictions placed upon women by Puritan leaders, refuses a suitor she does not want - and that is just the beginning. Surrounding Hope are three very different women: articulate, angry Magawisca, one of the few Pequod survivors of a massacre by white men; Esther, Hope's close friend, a meek and subservient Puritan woman; and Rosa, who dresses as a boy to follow her lover to America and then exacts a powerful revenge when rejected. Through them all comes a story packed with romantic misunderstandings, politics, and philosophy, presenting a potentially dark world whose hope is the democracy symbolized in its adventurous, quick-thinking heroine. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

From the Back Cover

Set in seventeenth-century New England, Hope Leslie (1827) portrays early American life and celebrates the role of women in building the republic. A counterpoint to the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, it challenges the conventional view of Indians tackles interracial marriage and cross-cultural friendship, and claims for women their rightful place in history. At the center of novel are two friends. Hope Leslie, a spirited thinker in a repressive Puritan society, fights for justice for the Indians and asserts the independence of women. Magawisca, the passionate daughter of a Pequot chief, braves her father's wrath to save a white man and risks her freedom to reunite Hope with her long-lost sister, captured as a child by the Pequots and now married to Magawisca's brother. Amply plotted, with unforgettable characters, Hope Leslie is a rich, compelling, deeply satisfying novel.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Women Writers
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (May 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813512220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813512228
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Written in the early 19th century and portraying the New England Puritan lives of the late 17th century, Sedgwick creates multiple patterns for what women can be, maneuvering between what is "appropriate" behavior according to men and the church and what is the motivation of the heart. Hope Leslie, the eponymous character, is almost always motivated by her heart rather than the rules of Puritan New England, and this lands her in all kinds of trouble. Still, her heart wins almost everyone despite her breaking of rules. Catherine Maria Sedgwick offended readers from the West when this was published because they felt her representation of Indians, through her female character, was too noble. But for women reading the novel today, almost 200 years later, the inspiration of this book lies in the many female characters, all of which represent some "pattern" or model that individual women may find themselves identifying with. There is not ONE model of womanhood, femaleness, but many. Interestingly, there are two women blown up on a ship near the end of the book. One is given a funeral ceremony (although she was Catholic, not Puritan, masqueraded as a male, and lived with a male lover unmarried); the other woman is never missed by anyone. Reading to find out who and why is worth the ride. Enjoy the book!
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Format: Paperback
The book was required reading for my American Lit Before 1865 class. I had never heard of it or the author before then. I am glad I was introduced to both. The narrative is fast paced and will not lose your interest. Sedgwick used the storyline to comment upon several issues peculiar to this country. It is amazing how many of those issues are still with us nearly 170 years after the book was written and over 350 years after the story's setting.
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Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a college class on American Women writers, and found it especially intruiging. Sedgewick speaks with a literary voice that needs to be heard. You get so caught up in the story that you almost miss out on the intentions that the author has set out to convey through her story. The reader is captivated by the unfettered spirit of Magawisca, and feels remorse for Mrs.Fletcher and the hardships she must endure. While Hope becomes the main focus near the middle of the book, you find yourself rooting for other characters as well. Sedgewicks writing style is fresh, and you truly never know what to expect. She takes an old story and brings it to life with her own little twists and turns. You'll become absorbed, and although it is a rather long novel, you'll never want to put it down.
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Sedgewick wrote this book almost 200 years ago. It was hard to read this book without comparing just about everything.
I compared her vocabulary, her descriptions of indians vs the british, the descriptions of appropriate behavior, the mores of the puritans.
Particularly delightful was the way she portrayed Native Americans speaking in old english "thither he went" "thy hands"
I have read other books from this era, and normally they have a terrible ending, so we can all mourn the (dead) heroine.
This book had some skillful twists and turns. Surely as some of our less sophisticated readers have remarked, the plot
was rather romantic and maybe even foppish, but consider the era in which it was read. it is a valuable window to the past.
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read
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Format: Paperback
Hope Leslie is an enjoyable tale that was remarkable in its day. The women characters are strong and it brought attention to racial issues with the Native Americans. The author wrote it at a time when most people thought nothing about the way Native Americans were treated. But don't forget, this book is a romance. That means that parts of it, just like Last of the Mohicans, are unrealistic. However, I felt this story was much better than Last of the Mohicans, because Sedgwick's characters actually have more depth to them. Cooper seems to care more about the American landscape than he does about his characters interactions, whereas Sedgwick addresses matters of the heart.
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Format: Paperback
Hope Leslie starts out with conflict, with love, with deception, and willing exile to a new land. The story is neatly woven, with plenty of action, romance, and adventure. It is written in a bit difficult of a style, but this book is much worth the decoding. Sedgwick delicately places passeges of savory descriptions of the beauty of the wildlands of New England, and glorifies aspects of both Christianity and Native American theology, but does not disregard small ugliness hidden within both. If looked at carefully, one can see the way that Sedgwick has shown that the Native American and colonist cultures are not as different as they seem.

This is a story of bravery, of love, and of the true nature of all of mankind. Think not, though, that there is no humor in it. Hope Leslie is a witty, passively rebelious girl who fights for what she believes in. She is an enigma that will remain in the hearts of all who read her story. Sedgwick has breathed the breath of life into all her characters and their stories, and their lives will leave imprints on all who read _Hope Leslie._
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