Authors: Amy Belding Brown
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF AMY BELDING BROWN
FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW
“Brown’s voice transforms a remote period into a fresh and immediate world and, in Mary, gives us a heroine who is broken by sorrow but determined to survive. This is a novel about the true meaning of faith and freedom.”
—Kelly O’Connor McNees, author of
The Island of Doves
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
“The story of Mary Rowlandson is the story of one of the darkest episodes in our nation’s history, and yet Amy Belding Brown manages to turn it into a soaring tale of light and hope. In telling her story of a courageous woman’s search for freedom, independence, identity, and love, Amy Belding Brown never strikes a false note, never lets us down by snatching us out of time and place. While keeping faith with existing historical fact, she fills in the gaps with the delicate strokes of her art, transforming historical figures into living beings, vividly resurrecting long-lost ways of native and Colonial life.
The Flight of the Sparrow
reminds us of the promise of America and that the fulfillment of that promise relies on every human heart.”
—Sally Cabot Gunning, author of
Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard, The Widow’s War
The Rebellion of Jane Clarke
“A fresh, engaging chronicle of the human heart that breathes life into a vital but oft-neglected chapter of our history. Amy Belding Brown has turned an authentic drama of Indian captivity into a compelling, emotionally gripping tale that is at once wrenching and soulful.”
—Eliot Pattison, author of the Mystery of Colonial America series
“A mesmerizing tale of survival and awakening.
Flight of the Sparrow
breathes life into Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. The deftly depicted cross-cultural friendship reminded me of
and the fast-paced story kept me up turning pages. Belding Brown has crafted a fine-limned portrait of a remarkable and resourceful woman.”
—Donna Thorland, author of
The Rebel Pirate
MR. EMERSON’S WIFE
“This is the book I longed to read. It is the story of Lidian, the fascinating woman who was loved insufficiently by Emerson and perhaps too much by Thoreau. Amy Belding Brown has brought her back to life in a novel that glitters with intelligence and authenticity.”
—Geraldine Brooks, author of
“In this extraordinary book, Amy Belding Brown has brought the nineteenth century to life. We may think of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family and friends as static daguerreotypes, but in this story they lightly spring off the page with all the inconvenient desires and ambitions that are the texture of our own lives. A soaring imaginative leap, this book combines detailed history with a page-turning illicit love story. It’s a look at a rich moment in American history and a great read, a rare combination.”
—Susan Cheever, author of
My Name Is Bill
Note Found in a Bottle
“Amy Belding Brown’s novel is a beautiful work that renders effortlessly the sentiments and sensuousness of a woman who is, to use Ms. Brown’s own terms, ‘at war with herself, a woman of opposites who yearns to reconcile her mental acuity with her emotional sensitivity.’ The spiritual, emotional, and intellectual lives she is after illuminating for us are wonderfully ambitious, and it is quite refreshing to see that ambition backed up with a quality of writing that bears up to the weight of its subject matter.”
—Bret Lott, author of
A Song I Knew by Heart
Mr. Emerson’s Wife
explores the complex relationship of the famous philosopher and his less well-known partner in a novel that has a sturdy fabric of fact, embroidered with imagined events and emotions. . . . Brown’s writing is graceful, at times giving Lidian a poetic voice. . . . In an age when scholarly biographers meticulously document every detail in the actions and settings of their subjects, Brown has escaped to the freedom of fiction to suppose ‘what might have been.’”
—Ruth Johnstone Wales,
The Christian Science Monitor
Mr. Emerson’s Wife
, Amy Belding Brown creates a fascinating view of one of America’s greatest minds, the brilliant Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, more specifically, his wife, Lidian. This is a story of just how restrained women were only two centuries ago and how choices can affect one’s life.”
—The Copperfield Review
Other Novels by Amy Belding Brown
Mr. Emerson’s Wife
New American Library
Published by the Penguin Group
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New York, New York 10014
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A Penguin Random House Company
First published by New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC
First Printing, July 2014
Copyright © Amy Belding Brown, 2014
Readers Guide copyright © Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2014
Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Brown, Amy Belding.
Flight of the sparrow: a novel of early America/Amy Belding Brown.
1. Rowlandson, Mary White, approximately 1635–1711—Fiction. 2. Indian captivities—Massachusetts—Fiction. 3. Indians of North America—Massachusetts—History—Colonial period, ca. 1600–1775. 4. Massachusetts—History—Colonial period, ca. 1600–1775—Fiction. I. Title.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Eleanor Kellogg Belding,
In the face of adversity
she chose hope, curiosity, and grit:
the thirsty leaf reaching for the rain,
the night moth questing at the window,
the bloom that does not fold at twilight.
GRATEFUL APPRECIATION TO
my dear friend and first reader, Margarite Landry, for her insightful comments, her companionship over countless lunches, and her encouragement through many revisions and other hard times;
my aunt, Patricia W. Belding, for her meticulous reading of my manuscript, her contagious passion for reading and poetry, and her unflagging intellectual curiosity;
my friend and fellow contrarian, Wallace Kaufman, for his critical eye and straightforward advice on the early versions of this novel;
my agent, Susan Ramer, for her assistance, reassurance, support, and patience over the many years of our association;
my editor, Ellen Edwards, for her warm enthusiasm, generous guidance, and good humor;
my children, Daryl, Nathan, Samara, and Matthew, for their affectionate toleration of my eccentricities, and their compassion in providing me with so few reasons to worry about them;
and especially my husband, Duane, for his steadfast devotion, which has been a daily miracle for more than forty years.
Our soul, as bird, escapéd is
out of the fowler’s snare:
the snare asunder broken is;
and we delivered are.
—Psalm 124, Verse 7
The Bay Psalm Book,