Monday, August 15, 2011

Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed

book cover

Across the Wide River
by Stephanie Reed

ISBN-13: 9780825435768
Trade Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Released: November 25, 2004

Author's Website
Author on Twitter

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Some take it for granted.
Others consider it worth dying for.

Lowry Rankin knows all too well the cost of freedom; after all, his family’s red brick home is the first stop on the Underground Railroad north of the Ohio River.

He’s seen friends beaten for the color of their skin. He’s watched simple farmers make a difference. He’s even risked his own life transporting escaped slaves. But will Lowry be able to conquer his greatest fear when he’s called to speak out?

My Review:
Across the Wide River is a novel for young adults and adults based on an actual family's biography. It's a historical novel (with a romance) that's rich in historical detail and set starting in 1825. Lowry, the main character, was presented as a complex, realistic young adult who wanted to help the runaway slaves but who also resented the hard work involved in helping them.

The story ended a bit abruptly. While several things about Lowry's future were resolved, several other major issues were left open-ended in a way that made me suspect a sequel. (There is a sequel: The Light Across the River.)

There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and enjoyable novel to those interested in the Underground Railroad.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The boy sprinted along the forest's edge in the bright Kentucky sunshine. As he plowed through scarlet maple leaves, they crackled under his shoes and clung to his white knee stockings. The sweet, dusty smell wrinkled his freckled nose. The sleeves of the boy's loose white shirt fluttered as he ran, and he kept one thumb firmly tucked under the waist of his gray breeches.

"Hurry up, Father!" Lowry yelled over his shoulder. Why were adults always slow as molasses? "Sherwood will think we ain't coming for Bible school!"

"Lowry Rankin!" Father sounded far away. "You know better than that."

"Honest, Father, I ain't kiddin'!" He hopped the creek that meandered along a green rise to the distant ridgeline. Suddenly something rolled under his foot and he sat down hard. Rubbing his hip as he retrieved his straw hat, Lowry rustled through the leaves until he uncovered a moldy wooden handle about two feet long. He fingered one gnawed end as Father towered above him with a stern face.

Read more from chapter one.


Stephanie Reed said...

Debbie, thank you! You're a good guesser. I've learned a lot about writing since I wrote Wide River and I hope I never stop learning.

If your readers have any questions for me, I hope they will ask away.

Thanks for providing a sample, too. Readers can find the first two chapters of both books here:

Genre Reviewer said...

Stephanie, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. (I did get your e-mail with the links, by the way. Thank you.)

Stephanie Reed said...

You're welcome!