- Paperback: 278 pages
- Publisher: Red Dobie Press (June 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0981595448
- ISBN-13: 978-0981595443
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#3,272,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #12201 in Historical Fantasy (Books)
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The Spruce Gum Box Paperback – June 30, 2010
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Author Elizabeth Egerton Wilder, a born storyteller, has created characters that snap with personality. The protagonist, Jed, is a tall lanky white male, transplanted from England to Maine. How the author keeps Jed holding his own against a fatherly sagamore, a wizened tribal great grandmother, plus a set of precocious triplets, escapes me. But she does it very well.
After Jed is forced into the wilderness as sole caretaker of his infant son, salvation comes in the form of an Indian Micmac settlement and its leader. The generosity and caring nature of these people helps Jed to survive, and his son to thrive. During this time, the source of Jed's dilemma hovers in the background, always threatening to prevent or destroy any happiness for Jed and the child.
With this conflict looming, Wilder's historical novel unfolds amid a suspenseful blend of border disputes, greedy individuals, and the risks inherent in lumberjacking. Several tense logging scenes mesmerized me. Pleasantly predicable passages added to the enjoyment of reading this story. Unexpected subtle humor, and an often frustrating display of human nature, kept me emotionally invested throughout.
This is a well written, informative story about a little known era of American history. The storyline crosses the Atlantic and reaches into the wilderness with a sense of hope that must have been imperative for people living in a untamed land. Ben Wingate is an endearing character that I'd love to see in an epic series. I'm putting "The Spruce Gum Box" on my highly recommended list!
Even if you are not normally into historical novels, this book makes you think as it reveals that caring for others is as important as making it through the tough times of your own life. It covers a time when survival was self-contained to family and friendship groupings as well as how well you fended for yourself. You may want to take the time to transport yourself back to a time. It's worth it!
The Spruce Gum Box deals with a chapter in American history I knew nothing about. It takes place during the early nineteenth century in Maine at the time of the border dispute between Great Britain and the United States. A lot of research must have gone into this book. The reader gets a vivid picture of the struggle of the people who were trying to carve out a life for themselves along the Aroostook River as well as of the relationship between the pioneers and the native people, the Micmac Indians.
The heart of the story, however, is the destiny of individual people, their hopes, loves, fears, and hardships. It tells of the forbidden love between young Jed and Addie, of the tender love between Jed and his son, Benjie, as well as the friendship between Jed, Benjie and the native people of the Micmac tribe--Jacob, Nuga, Hanna, Birdie, Bear, Nettie. It is also a tale about community, the importance of belonging and adjusting, of overcoming prejudice.
The characters are vividly portrayed and convincing and they stayed with me long after I finished reading the novel. These are complex but lovable people and their fate touched me. It's been a while since I cried reading a book, but my eyes misted over more than once while I read this novel.
This is a work with a leisurely pace, one that lets you enjoy and savor the natural beauty of the landscape, leads you slowly into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and explores their everyday and often harsh but meaningful lives. Leisurely, however, does not mean boring. On the contrary, each event, each chapter drives the story forward and makes you want to turn the page (or flip the page, in the case of an eReader).
I can only recommend this heart-warming and sensitive tale and if you want to know what a spruce gum box is (and I bet you don't know), READ IT!