Book Review: Mary Rowlandson's captivity

By Elizabeth Prata

Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Mary White Rowlandson

It's a riveting account of a Puritan woman's travail through an Indian massacre and three months' captivity, and eventual ransomed release. (1675-6). It was the time of King Philips War and the colony had gotten very bloody very quickly.

Mary is articulate in her afflictions and fervent in her reliance on God through the ordeal. Contains many scriptures and references to God. If a reader is not a Christian they will likely not enjoy the account as much or at all. I enjoyed  seeing how Mary relied on certain scriptures as she saw her family killed, her children ripped from her, and as she endured hunger, thirst, physical hardship, and the devastating emotional loss of her child dying in her arms and her other children taken to different Indian villages, fate unknown.

In one scene that remains vivid in my mind, she looked to the left and only saw hundreds of Indians, and looked to the right and only saw hundreds of Indians, and became aware of the fact that she was the only Christian for miles and miles.

Some say the antiquated English the narrative is written in makes it hard to read. I didn't, I found it less difficult than Shakespeare and enjoyed it at every part.

I first heard of this book (short narrative at 55 pages) when author Nathanial Philbrick referred to it in his book Mayflower, which I also enjoyed.

Free on Kindle.

Represents one of the first publications of a woman in the New World (Anne Bradstreet's poetry was first).