The Last Pilgrim Kindle Edition
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- Publication Date : May 30, 2020
- File Size : 2128 KB
- Print Length : 458 pages
- Publisher : Realization Press (May 30, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B089G9J83K
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #316,818 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The year was 1620. An old, battered and leaking ship, the Mayflower, arrived in the new world. Aboard are more than a hundred passengers, plus about thirty crew. They gaze at the land, grateful to have arrived in one piece, as they have survived storm, overcrowding, scurvy and death at sea. They anchor in the harbor at Cape Cod hook, now known as Provincetown Harbor. Here they draw up the Mayflower Compact and, led by William Bradford, established a colony in the new world.
All of us know these facts from history we were taught. As children we learned the dates, the names, the numbers of people, looked at paintings that represent the arrival at Plymouth Rock and dressed up as puritans with black paper hats and made turkey paintings by outlining our off-hands for Thanksgiving in first grade.
But history can be a cold thing, and the trials and tribulations of the Separatist English Puritans were very real. To feel what they felt, I recommend ‘The Last Pilgrim’ without reservation.
Of the passengers on the Mayflower, Ms. Granger picks the family of Isaac Allerton, and in particular, Isaac’s daughter Mary Allerton, as the vessel to show the reader what it was like to live in that time and place. On the voyage to the new world Mary is but a small child, intelligent and full of life. She has too much energy to be easily constrained to the quiet studious life of a rigid separatist, and so explores this new world as much as she can.
There is a tendency of historical fiction to overplay the history, to overload the narrative with as much information as possible, as if the writer were trying too hard to show how much they know. Ms. Granger does not do this. She weaves history seamlessly into the story using the known facts of Mary’s life. The clothes they wore, the shelters and houses they built, details of midwifery, the food and how they made it, the colony’s relationships with the natives, plus their frustrations with competing colonies and their own sponsors back in the old world, all appear naturally in the narrative. It’s very clear Ms. Granger has more than done her homework, but does not burden the reader with leaden textbook verbiage. I found myself learning without being aware I was learning, a true joy.
A particular pleasure was to read this book written from the standpoint of a woman of the time, to see the events of the day through her eyes. First as a child, then as a teenager, a young woman, a mature woman and finally as what we would now call a ‘senior citizen’, we are treated to Mary’s inquisitiveness, her courage and her strong heart as she navigates the joys and sorrows of life in her time.
I don’t want to give you the details of the story. Better for you to enjoy Ms. Granger’s well-crafted story for yourselves rather than me giving you a second hand Cliff Notes version. Suffice to say you will be transported to the time and will laugh and cry right along with her.
There is nothing dry or tedious about this book. Rather it is populated by vibrant people, familial struggles, loves, losses, friendships, danger, and triumphs. As someone who was only marginally familiar with this time period, I found it not only a compelling story, but also an education that has left me with an increased admiration for the women and men who populated our earliest colonies. Highly recommend!
Top reviews from other countries
Most unusually, the author tells her story not through the actions of male leaders but mostly through the eyes of a woman whose family joined the desperate venture when she was just a small child. Mary Allerton Cushman lived through all the triumphs and disasters of the colony until almost the end of the seventeenth century, 80 years after the day in 1620 when their leaky ship set sail from Plymouth, England, bound, they hoped, for lands to the south of Cape Cod.
Page by page, you see the colonists’ bitter struggles through the experiences of those involved, complete with the emotions which drove them either to hold out in the darkest moments or give up. Despite their professed attachment to the colony’s beliefs, several members grew weary and went elsewhere. Others openly lived in a manner inconsistent with their sect’s doctrines. Nothing went easily for the colony, despite growing numbers and prosperity. Indeed, this very growth produced constant friction between the original colonists and those who came after. There was a surface brotherhood, but one constantly at war with all the individualism and personal desires the human race is naturally prone to. The Plymouth colony saw no golden age of harmony, but a seething mass of disputes and antagonisms, held together by the few who set being true to their beliefs over the opportunities available in a land still lacking any kind of central authority or government.
If you want to get a powerful insight into a time of conflict between set religious dogma and burgeoning individualism, a time when people discovered that freedom from the rule of the English king brought its own drawbacks, this book is a must-read. All praise to Noelle Granger for bringing it to the general reader with such care and skill.