Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Light Across the River

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to review a great book by Stephanie Reed called Across the Wide River.  If you didn't read my review, click on the book's title to check that out.  If you haven't read the book, I would encourage you to do so.
Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to preview Stephanie's newest book, The Light Across the River, which is a sequel to Across the Wide River.  This book continues the saga of the Rankin family and the underground railroad;  this time highlighting young Johnny Rankin (one of Lowry's younger brothers).  It seems young Johnny can't keep a secret, though he longs in the worst way to help his family in their quest to free runaway slaves.  Johnny's father sees something in young Johnny and decides to trust him with a big job~ helping to transport Eliza and her baby to the next stop on the Underground Railroad.  (If you've ever read the classic Uncle Tom's Cabin, then you're already familiar with Eliza's story.)
I must say that I enjoyed this book even more than its predecessor!  It captured my interest from the  very beginning and held it straight through to the end.  Stephanie tells this tale in the third person, but you get both Johnny's and Eliza's perspectives;  and it's all extremely interesting, intriguing, and exciting.
If you've read the first, you must read the second.  If you haven't read either of these books yet, you're missing out!  Though fictionalized, these would make a great addition to any study of 1800's America~ especially one related to the slaves and/or the Underground Railroad.  The publisher (Kregel) classifies these books as "Juvenille Fiction"~ that may be so, but I promise that you adults will love these books too (I know I do)!

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