Over the River

( 1 )


A young girl comes to terms with the father she thought didn't love her.

"Your daddy isn't a bad man," Aunty Rose said. "He just doesn't have anything to do with us. So why do you keep asking?"

It seems like everything eleven-year-old Willa Mae wants to know just isn't proper material for her curiosity. But some mysteries have a way of unraveling on their own. When her ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $33.46   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


A young girl comes to terms with the father she thought didn't love her.

"Your daddy isn't a bad man," Aunty Rose said. "He just doesn't have anything to do with us. So why do you keep asking?"

It seems like everything eleven-year-old Willa Mae wants to know just isn't proper material for her curiosity. But some mysteries have a way of unraveling on their own. When her long-absent father returns after the war and sets about laying claim, Willa Mae finds her quiet country life suddenly stirred into a mix of buried secrets. Why does Grandpa despise her daddy, and what does it have to do with Mama's death? But before Willa Mae can find the answers to these questions, she is pulled away from her rural Illinois home to begin a new life with her father across the river in Oklahoma. As pleased as Willa Mae is to finally have her daddy back, she misses her home and wants desperately to return. Will she be forced to choose one side of the family over the other?

In this beautifully written novel set in the late 1940s, Sharelle Byars Moranville explores a critical time in a young girl's life, as Willa Mae comes to accept her parents, her sense of home, and especially what it means to be loved.

Sharelle Byars Moranville is a professor of writing and literature. This is her first novel for young readers. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband.

In 1947, after the war, Willa Mae's father returns to the Illinois town where she has lived with her maternal grandparents for the last five of her eleven years, and Willa Mae finds herself struggling to understand old family tensions and secrets.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her debut novel, Moranville adroitly parallels the changes occurring in post-WWII rural America with more personal disruptions affecting Willa Mae, the narrator who turns 12 during the course of the book. The first scene, set in a cemetery, introduces three compelling mysteries: the cause of death of Willa Mae's mother and infant son (whom Willa Mae can't recall ever being born) and uncertainty about why Willa Mae's guardian grandparents hold such a grudge against her long-absent father. Although the narrative occasionally moves awkwardly from one dramatic turn of events to another (e.g., Willa Mae's father suddenly returns from the navy and whisks his daughter off to Oklahoma), the author creates a palpable sense of place. Readers enter the rhythms of life on Willa Mae's grandparents' farm and can nearly smell a pie baking in the oven or hear Grandpa milking the cows. Willa Mae describes crossing the Mississippi River in a way that youngsters can experience her thrill. At last, truths about the past come to light, unfortunately leading to a rather contrived resolution. Implications behind her mother's second pregnancy and sudden death may sail over the heads of middle-grade readers. Still, Willa Mae's loyalty and affection for her grandparents and teenage Aunt Rose communicate her sense of homesickness while she is on the road with her father, and her feelings for her father remain credibly ambiguous during and after her trip West. The narrator's strong, appealing voice and detailed setting mark this author as one to watch. Ages 9-14. (Oct.)
Since the death of her mother six years earlier, eleven-year-old Willa Mae has lived with her grandparents in rural Illinois. She enjoys the company of her sixteen-year-old aunt and helping with the chores of running the farm. Although her father's family lives in the same town, she has only polite contact with them. She knows that something happened to cause a rift between the two families when her mother died. As she begins to wonder about her father, he returns from an extended stint in the Navy and whisks her away to a new life. She must adjust to moving to Oklahoma, away from her livestock and the family she has known. Willa Mae learns to help her father with his new trade installing electricity and sees great wonders such as the Mississippi River. She does not want to choose between her mother's family or her father's and tries desperately to think of a way to repair the relationship between her father and grandfather. This book shows what life was like in the late 1940s as electricity reached rural areas and men returned home after the war. Willa Mae is a strong, likeable character. The reader discovers much of Willa Mae's past along with her, including the mystery of a baby's grave near her mother's. Although the ending is fairly predictable to adults, it will be an acceptable ending for junior high readers. This book will be a good choice for readers who enjoy historical fiction. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Henry Holt, 240p,
— Cindy Faughnan
Children's Literature
On Memorial Day 1945 (perhaps known then as Decoration Day), eleven-year-old Willa Mae decorates her mother's gravesite and begins to question the baby buried nearby. Willa Mae has lived with her maternal grandparents and her sixteen-year-old aunt, Rose, on their Illinois farm ever since her mother's death. Her father has been gone, too, serving in the military as World War II raged far away. Willa Mae's questions stir up old memories and family secrets, especially when her father returns to take her to start a new life in Oklahoma. When an accident disables Granddad, Willa Mae's father steps in and alleviates the struggle between the two sides of the family. Willa Mae's narration presents a simpler time and place in which complicated relationships are placed. The child's voice is authentic, her pleasures naive, and the setting credible. Characters and the tensions between them move this quiet novel to its satisfying though not contrived conclusion in this laudable first novel. 2002, Henry Holt,
— Maria Salvadore
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Having been raised for the past five years on an Illinois farm by her devoted maternal grandparents, 11-year-old Willa Mae Clark wishes for answers she suspects everyone else has. Why didn't her father come home when her mother died? Why is he still not home even though World War II ended two years ago? And why is the mysterious Baby Clark buried near the cemetery fence? Eventually, her father does arrive, but, unable to overcome Grandpa Shannon's anger or find work, he takes Willa Mae with him to Oklahoma for a fresh start in a rundown apartment. When he realizes how homesick his daughter is, he decides that he has earned enough money to return home honorably. There, in tiny Huxley, things remain the same with a powerful distance between the Shannons and the Clarks until a terrible storm arrives. Willa Mae's narration allows her character to unfold beautifully. There is a wonderful juxtaposition of custom and place as illustrated by the solemnity of a Decoration Day visit to the country cemetery; the delight in the luxury of a first-time bath with indoor plumbing; the marvel of rural electrification; the naive appeal of chenille bedspreads that hang on roadside clotheslines; and the natural charity of good, homespun people. Somewhat reminiscent in theme and setting of A. LaFaye's Nissa's Place (S & S, 1999), Moranville's offering is superbly crafted and has a dramatically tensioned climax.-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Complicated family relationships are the heart and strength of this fine debut. It’s two years after the end of WWII, but 11-year-old Willa Mae’s daddy still hasn’t come home from the Navy. Her maternal grandparents have raised her with love and kindness, but they refuse to speak of her daddy or of the mysterious gravestone in the cemetery that reads only, "Baby Clark." Only rarely will they speak of her mother, who died six years ago and who Willa Mae can barely remember. Then Daddy does return. Willa Mae is delighted, but feels torn between her father and her grandparents, who cannot get over their mutual resentment. All the adults try to do right by Willa Mae; her grandparents do not try to prevent her father from taking her away from them. Her daddy teaches Willa Mae to help him wire houses for electricity; he buys her a beautiful dress for the first day of school; most important, he understands her conflicted heart, and permits her to love people who despise him. An occasional over-abundance of period details and a climactic ending that stretches a little too long are minor faults compared to the subtle emotional moments that make this a story to savor and a writer to watch. (Fiction. 8-12)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440419778
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/12/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharelle Byars Moranville is a professor of writing and literature. This is her first novel for young readers. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    A beautiful book

    Sharelle Byars Moranville's "Over the River" is an exquisitely written, hauntingly told story of an 11 year old girl who must deal with the upheaval of her formerly safe, comfortable life. Moranville's beautiful writing makes us clearly see the unfolding events as if we were viewing them through her eyes. Her descriptions of country life in the postwar 40s are accurate and evocative. Her plotting and pacing are superb, and the climactic events keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. Don't miss this one. It's a winner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)