Friday, November 30, 2007

Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed

I just finished reading this great book last night!  Wow!  Though fictionalized, this book is based on actual facts about the Rankin family- a very influential and active family in the Underground Railroad. 

Across the Wide River is the story of Lowry Rankin.  We follow his life from being a young boy, all the way to early adulthood.  His father was an abolitionist minister, and the Rankin family helped over 2,000 slaves find their way to freedom.  Lowry was the one who snuck most of those slaves, under the cover of night, to the next stop on the "railroad". 

I really enjoyed this  book.  Stephanie has done a fantastic job of telling the Rankin family's story.  By the end of the book, I felt as though I knew Lowry Rankin as a friend.  I could relate to his thoughts and feelings, though I cannot even fathom how stressful their lives must have been, but how fulfilling!

One thing that impressed me about this book was the summary and author information on the  back cover- what prompted Stephanie to write this book was reading the historical landmark signs while passing through Ripley, Ohio as a child.  I have a confession to make~ I am crazy about those signs, and always have been!  I think I thought I was the only one.  Now, I have a "kindred spirit" in Stephanie! 

I was excited to find that Stephanie has a new blog right here at HSB.   I encourage you to visit her blog, where you can see a picture of the actual Rankin family home or read how you can help get the Rankin home added to the World Heritage List

I also encourage you to read this book!  Though categorized as "Teen Fiction", I think this book is a great read for anyone.  Not only would this book make a wonderful supplemental reading for someone studying the Underground Railroad, but I think it's the kind of book that everyone should read, just to put life into perspective.  Oh, and I hear that there is a "sequel" to this book in the works~ yeah! 

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