Charis in the World of Wonders, a novel by Marly Youmans
"When I swung over that windowsill, everything changed for me. We are meant to go in and out of doors in civilized style, but my mother bade me climb into woodsy wildness and a darkness flushed with crimson light and torches …"
Clambering into the branches of a tree, a young woman flees flaming arrows and massacre. She will need to struggle for survival: to scour the wilderness for shelter, to strive and seek for a new family and a setting where she can belong. Her unmarked way is costly and hard.
For Charis, the world outside the window of home is a maze of hazards. And even if she survives the wilds, it is no simple matter to discover and nest among her own kind—the godly, those called Puritans by others. She may be tugged by her desires for companionship, may even stumble into an intense love for a man, and may be made to try the strength of female heroism in ways no longer familiar to women in our century.
Streams of darkness run through the seventeenth-century villages of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Occult fears have a way of creeping into the mind. What young woman can be safe from the dangers of wilderness when its shadowy thickets spring up so easily in the soil of human hearts? Much will oppose Charis' longings for renewal and peace; she must pursue and discover the hero's path to a larger, more vivid life.
Paperback. 331 pages.
"Charis is a prismatic grace journey that awakens our dulled senses and ignites our adventurous hearts. A seventeenth-century girl pilgrim, with dark shadows of Salem foreboding over her, begins a refractive journey as a faithful exile toward a golden sea."
— Makoto Fujimura, Artist; Author of Culture Care and Silence and Beauty
"Imagine if William Faulkner had decided to rewrite Last of the Mohicans. What you would have is something like Charis in the World of Wonders—a wild adventure tale written with grace and insight. Youmans' prose is fluid, sharply witty, and deeply rich in symbolism—the work of a master."
"Youmans' magnificent storyteller brings the early days of Europeans on the American continent vividly to life, in all their wonder and sorrow."
— Emily Barton, Author of Brookland and The Book of Esther
"Charis in the World of Wonders confirms once more Marly Youmans' place among the magi. There is indeed 'a dark and amazing intricacy in the ways of Providence', as this spellbinding novel attests."
— John Wilson, Contributing Editor, Englewood Review of Books
"From the pen of an award-winning novelist and poet comes the story of Charis, a girl who loses everything and finds love and acceptance in an age of fear and uncertainty. This book is that rare thing, a novel containing characters who are both historically accurate and completely relatable."