Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Crimson Cap by Ellen Howard

crimson I’m not usually a fan of this type of historical fiction, but I found The Crimson Cap really interesting.  I didn’t know anything about the time period (1687) or the setting (LaSalle’s expedition to find the Mississippi River and the route to New France), but I got hooked into the story pretty quickly because Pierre Talon is such a great character.  He is only a boy when he is chosen (because of his ability to learn Native American languages quickly) to accompany LaSalle’s expedition, and he must leave his mother and siblings behind.  He is afraid, but feels a heavy responsibility because his father has run off and left the family to fend for itself.  The settlers are starving, and LaSalle is going to try to find help.  Pierre makes friends with a slightly older boy along the way, and has to contend with some pretty horrible behavior from some of the men on the expedition.  When LaSalle is killed by his own men, and Pierre falls ill, he is taken in by the Hosinai and nursed back to health.  He has to choose several times between the Native Americans who have adopted him and Europeans who haven’t all treated him very well.  The story is realistic, and makes the point that your enemies are those who don’t treat your own people well.  They’re not necessarily good or evil.  Review by Stacy Church

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