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Monday, August 15, 2011

Kregel Blog Tour: Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed

Publication: September 2004



176 pages
Trim Size: 5.25 x 8
Publisher: Kregel Publications

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 to the next "station". But will Lowry be able to conquer his greatest fear when he’s called to speak out?

About the Author: During her childhood, Stephanie Reed’s family would often pass through Ripley on their way to her grandparents’ home. The signs she read there about the Rankin house were what prompted her to write Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River. After working for nearly a decade with the Dayton Metro Library, Stephanie is now a volunteer spotter for the National Weather Service. She lives with her husband and two children in Dublin, Ohio

You can visit the author's website by clicking here.

To read an excerpt from the book click here.

Across the Wide River was an outstanding read!  I would say it was the best Historical Fiction I have read in a long time.  The author does a wonderful job of telling the "story" of real life character Lowry Rankin and his family.  Not only do we get to see what amazing things the Rankin family (and others) do during this difficult time in history, we also get to see Lowry and what is going on inside his head and his heart.  We learn that even though his acts are courageous, he has little self confidence and even at times is resentful of what he knows he needs to do.  This adds an amazingly real human element to a very heroic story.  I loved this quote when Lowry saved his sister from a wild hog, "For a week, Lowry had been a hero in Carlisle, the envy of his schoolmates.  Privately, he thought that if he had to battle a wild hog to be a hero, he would just as soon let somebody else have all the honors."

The author also does a fantastic job at describing the scenery and activities going on around the characters.  It truly makes you feel like you are part of the story.  As I read the novel I could hear the annoying sound of the cicadas and feel the itchy bites that the chiggers left behind. 

Although the book is written during a very violent period of time, the author does an excellent job of portraying the violence and fear without being overly graphic or making the book inappropriate for children.  Across the Wide River would make a great read aloud for a family or independent read  for ages 9 and up  who are studying the era leading up to the Civil War or the Underground Railroad.  It also is great if you are looking for an excellent read about true American heroes.  Now, I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Light Across the River.  I am compelled to find out more.

I received a complimentary copy of Across the Wide River from Kregel Publications for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

1 comment:

Stephanie Reed said...

Oh, thank you so much, Lisa! I'm so glad you enjoyed Lowry's story on so many levels. You may be interested to know he really did save his little sister from a wild hog. :-)

You can start finding out more about the Rankins right away, and so can your readers. Read the first two chapters of both books here: http://bit.ly/rdRKvp