This is one of the best books I read this year. Caleb's Crossing takes place during the early Colonial period of the Massachusetts Bay colony. I have done a lot of reading about this time period, so I was interested to see how accurate the author portrayed the era. She did a magnificent job revealing the problems of the period: the cruelty of the Puritans, their relationship with the Indians, the plight of the women, and the different viewpoints in governing, education and treating the Indians. But the book was great because of the writing shows beautifully the heart-wrenching problems of the settlers and the Indians. Bethia wants to be educated. She wants to learn Latin, Greek, philosophy with her brother, but her father refuses to teach her. However, as her father is teaching his son, Bethia listens as she works and absorbs this knowledge much quicker than her brother. Much of the book shows the different ways Bethia becomes a well-educated woman.As a young girl, she meets Caleb, an Indian boy, and learns about his culture. He in turn decides to learn the English way of life. The character of Caleb was actually based on a real man. Caleb and his friend, Joel, are the first two Indians to attend Harvard College and Caleb is the first and last Indian from Martha's Vineyard to graduate from Harvard until 2011. However, the story of the real Caleb is unknown, so the author creates a believable character, who is torn between the old traditions of the Indians and the new knowledge taught by the English settlers. Caleb makes the transition from one culture to another, but the cost to himself is high.Once I started reading this book, I literally could not put it down. I enjoyed the history, the gutsy Bethia and the brave, intelligent Caleb who defied all odds and unbelievable prejudice to graduate from Harvard.