Across the Wide River: A Novel

Across the Wide River: A Novel

by Stephanie Reed
4.5 12



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Across the Wide River 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
Across the Wide River is a great fictitious retelling of the Rankin family's life in Ohio helping slaves escape to freedom. Told from Lowry's perspective, this is a great story of how even the youngest can be used to do great things. Stephanie Reed weaves in details about the period that make the book more authentic. A few chapters turned a bit more "history lesson" and - while interesting - didn't seem to add much to Lowry's story. However, young teens will enjoy this book for the incredible story as well as for the historical lessons. I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my fair and honest review.
ReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge historical fan. I love a good novel that captures the images, sites and sounds of days gone by. Stephanie Reed capture all these and so much more in her novel. I was instantly taken to back to a time and a place when freedom didn't always come free. While written to be a fiction novel, it's based on a real family and home. The love of God shines through each word, each page, each character. The Rankin family. Wow. I admire them. They are family who risked their lives, their home, to aid the slaves that were escaping into freedom through an underground railroad movement. This story is so full of amazing characters and a plot line that's worth shouting about. Each character made their way into my hearts and will be there for a long time to come. But, one character really stood out for me. Lowry. Bless his heart, he is someone I would have loved to have known. He took on the world so to speak. He was but a youngster, just 13 years of age, and yet he took on the responsibility of helping the slaves from one "station" to the next "station" and then returning home and acting as if nothing happened, and continued on with day to day life. All the while, God is guiding him. I truly loved this story and it was a fairly fast read as you become engrossed in the story. I highly recommend it to others as well, with a high 5-Book rating, especially if you love historical novels, and a well written Christian story. Well done, Ms. Reed! I can't wait for more work by this amazing author!
VicG More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Reed in her new book, "Across The Wide River" published by Kregel Publications takes us to Kentucky in the 1800's. When I was in school one of the subjects that I excelled at was History. I enjoy learning about what was going on and I especially like American History. European History was always over there but American History was here and somehow seemed more alive. "Across The Wide River" is a fictionalized account of a real family in the 1800's living in Kentucky and the actions they took against slavery. Lowry Rankin starts off as a young boy learning from his preacher father about life and the differences between the whites and the blacks, something he doesn't really understand. During the course of the book he ages and he finds out lots about slavery, slave owners, the men that tracked the escaped slaves and the things they would do to the re-captured slave. In an effort to help these slaves reach freedom Lowry and his family set up their home as a stop on The Underground Railroad. Stephanie Reed has written compelling history that can reach a wide audience at different levels. She brings to life a period in time through sights, smells and a great cast of characters. Sometimes we forget what actually happened or it was glossed over in class but "Across The Wide River" shows us the way things actually were. Ms. Reed has given us a book about history and just how precious freedom truly is. I highly recommend it. If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Your freedom. How often do you think about it? Do you take it for granted? Are you willing to fight for it? Lowry Rankin's family have been freedom fighters for quite some time. They are living in the midst of the war against slavery. While others think it's their God-given right to own one, the Rankin family is willing to risk their own lives to help slaves find freedom in whatever states in the US and Canada are willing to treat men as equals. John Rankin is a minister. A minister that believes that we should treat all men as the Bible tells us to and isn't afraid to teach about it in his church. However he can't be all places at the same time, and when a childhood friend is whipped to the point of death, the family believes its time to move from Kentucky to Ohio and begin over again. There are too many people that believe that there is nothing wrong with owning a slave, while he believes they deserve the same freedoms his family does. The Rankin's become one of the first families to use their home as a station for the Underground Movement. Just when Lowry thinks that his life has no point and school is unnecessary, his father has him help move men in the middle of the night to the next safe house. When a tortured and beaten slave by the name of David tells him during his rescue that he will forever remember Lowry, suddenly he feels a different calling in his life. I received Across The Wide River by Stephanie Reed compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review and in the process learned about a true story in the process. This book just isn't a story about the Underground Railroad movement but about the story of the Rankin family and their role as abolitionists at the time. They too had much to fear if people found out they were helping slaves to freedom. She spent years researching the material for this book and in the process we can see just how difficult this time in history was for everyone involved. This book is founded on the faith of Jesus Christ that is evident by the way they shared God with those that they helped along their journey to freedom. I rate this book a moving 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it!
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
Across The Wide River is based on the Rankin family, a family who lived in Ohio that did their part to ensure that slaves made it safely to freedom. We are introduced to young Lowry Rankin at the age of nine. He is content living in Kentucky and can't understand why his abolitionist preaching father would want to move to Ohio, but all that changes when Lowry witnesses his best friend Sherwood, a slave, being brutally beaten. He decides he can't wait to live in Ohio,a free state so that he will never have to see anyone suffer the way his friend Sherwood did. His first day of school in Ohio has him in a fight with a bully who makes fun of Lowry's Ky accent, causing Lowry to become self conscious and deciding to only speak when spoken to. He is rescued from the fight by Amanda Kaphart, and quickly becomes smitten with her. Lowry quickly is labeled as shy, so his father decides to give him some responsibility to help bolster his confidence. The responsibility is helping in the "family business" of the Underground Railroad. Lowry's father also hopes that perhaps Lowry will become a preacher as well, but that's the last thing that Lowry wants to do.Will Lowry follow in his fathers footsteps, and will he continue his work with the Underground Railroad? I felt as if this was a coming of age story for young Lowry Rankin. We follow his life from the age of nine until he hits his twenties. Lowry was a young man that was so easy to connect with. He dealt with self esteem issues often wondering whether what he did really mattered, but many around him envied him for doing what he believed in. He was a brave young man that didn't realize just how brave he was. I loved the fact that he was rescued from a bully by a girl, and fell in love with that girl. Based on the real life family of the Rankin's for me this book was easy to connect with because it takes place in areas that I am totally familiar with. It was easy to see that the author did her research with the story, and did an amazing job of bringing a tumultuous time in history to life inside the pages of this story. I am always in awe of the people who bravely did the right things to help slaves have a chance for freedom regardless of the danger of being caught. While I had never heard of the Rankin family before reading this book, I am certain I will never forget him or his remarkable family. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction based on actual fact set during the days preceding the Civil War. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
BookReviewerTG More than 1 year ago
In Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed we meet Lowry a sweet and compassionate nine year old who is the son of a minister. Lowry's father wants to move his family from the hills of Kentucky to the rolling plains of Ohio. At first Lowry isn't sure that he wants to move. He loves Kentucky. But when his family moves to Ohio he quickly adjusts and meets new people. Slavery has become quite an issue. Some folks don't care if a "colored person" wants to go to college to become a doctor while other white folks think that if their kids can't go to college then a colored buy shouldn't go either. Lowry becomes involved in helping fugitive slaves escape and make it to freedom. But along the way he meets some mighty mean and hateful rascals. One of those mean rascals is Mr. Biggerman, a salve hunter. Mr. Biggerman and his henchman stop Lowry and demand to know where and what he's been doing. Mr. Biggerman basically accuses Lowry of helping salves to escape. Lowry isn't quite sure what to say. So, Lowry says nothing - not.a.word! And Mr. Biggerman leaves him alone taking his henchman with him. Sometimes saying nothing at all simply says it all! This is a fast, smooth read. A wonderful, historical novel based on a true story. *This book was provided for review by Kregel Publishing*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of ACROSS THE WIDE RIVER by Stephanie Reed from Kregel Publications. It is an historic novel for teenagers, about the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. I love historical fiction and this book didn't fail to live up to my expectations. What is better, it is based on a true story. The Rankin family really existed. The story centers on Lowry Rankin. He begins as a child, but quickly matures. His family leaves Kentucky to live in Ohio, where they participate as a station on the Underground Railroad. Lowry's father is a minister, and the family strongly supports the abolitionist movement. I have my Bachelor's degree in elementary education, and while I read, I kept thinking about how perfect this book would be for a social studies class. It not only fits well with the Civil War era, but it is easily relatable for teenagers. Lowry leaves his treasured home in Kentucky for Ohio; moving is something many people have dealt with. He also learns how to fully welcome God into his life, and highly values religion, which is another positive trait for young adults. Lowry discovers how to deal with shyness, which is a new obstacle for him once he moves to Ohio. Many people, myself included, have had to overcome being shy around others. It is inspiring to know that if he can do it, so can the reader. He even worries it will keep him from becoming a proper minister, similar to how I once worried about being a teacher despite my shyness. Lowry also deals with bullies, family, and standing up for what he believes in - an end to slavery. Stephanie Reed paints a poignant image of the cruelties slaves faced, and their troubles with escaping. I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone interested in history.
JoyAnneTN More than 1 year ago
Lowry's family assists runaway slaves in getting their freedom. Lowry, age 13, transports slaves from his house to the next station, this happens during the night and takes several hours by horse. He usually returns just before dawn, piles into bed and sleeps for an hour then gets up to do chores and go to school. Lowry complains about having to do this but each time he sees the fear in the eyes of the slave he knows he must help this person get to Canada. His family believes his calling is to be an abolitionist minister, Lowry doesn't think so but does attend seminary briefly. This book wasn't what I expected, it was slow and there wasn't much to hold my interest, it was a chore to read. However, I did finish it and wasn't impressed with the ending either. I don't feel that Reed expressed enough emotion in the characters or the story. Lowry was a complainer, he was boring. Overall, I was very disappointed and give it 2 stars. I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Tours in exchange for an honest review.
lilredhenJP More than 1 year ago
When I opened this book, I could not put it down! I finished it in one setting! Lowry Rankin loved Kentucky, and never wanted to leave. But when he saw his black friend, Sherwood, whipped by someone who didn't think that slaves should be taught to read, at almost 9 years old, he decided he didn't like Kentucky anymore, and him and his family moved across into Ohio. Soon he was helping escaped slaves on their way north, to safety. He and his family risked their lives to continue this work for many years. This is a book that I would recommend to young adults and older adults alike, all who are interested in what life was like in pre Civil War days. I feel, that even though it is labeled as fiction, it is probably very close to the real story, maybe with a little less drama than the real thing. I received this book to read and review, from Kregel Publishers. No other compensation for this review was given. I'm not required to give a postive review, and all opinions expressed here are my own.
rtwins More than 1 year ago
He saw Father reach deep into the pile of wood and grasp a hand. Thunderstruck, Lowry watched as Father helped Mr. James's runaway slave sit up in the cart. The man was gasping for breath. Lowry's mouth dropped open and his eyes grew perfectly round. Lowry Rankin, had brought the slave away from town! ~ from page 52 of Across The Wide River Across The Wide River by Stephanie Reed is a novel heavily based on the true story of the Rankin family who moved from Kentucky north to Ohio, when the main character, Lowry Rankin, was still a boy. Although written for teens, this book would be a wonderful text to use in educating upper elementary through adults on the Underground Railroad. The author has a descriptive style of writing that holds the reader's attention. Yes, there are some descriptions of whippings and slave trading, but it is not so graphic as to frighten a child. This dark period of American History is sometimes hurried in educating our children, but it must be explained, learned, and taught in detail so that the horror of this behavior is never repeated. Lowry, as the son of an abolitionist minister, hides and aids in the family secret. Their home is the first stop on the Underground Railroad north of the Ohio River. This book takes you from Lowry's childhood through young adulthood, viewing his life through his eyes. You will see the extreme bravery and courage it took for adults and children to stand up in opposition to slavery, with the threat of their very life being taken. The author not only shares the history of the Rankin family but also historically what was happening in America during this time. She explains how politics and greed of businessmen helped put money in the slave traders pockets. As a former educator and home school mother, I highly recommend this book . The sequel to this story is The Light Across The River.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Across the Wide River is a work of fiction, but based on a real family, the Rankin Family, living in a time of slavery and abolition. The story, with its rich descriptions, draws you into the struggle for freedom so much so that you feel the anquish and intense longing of those desiring freedom and those who work so valiantly to secure that goal. Stephanie Reed introduces us to Lowry Rankin, nothing but a boy in the beginning of the book, who must face constant danger and moral dilemmas when confronted with the reality of the 'family business.' Will he become a preacher and abolitionist like his father? Or will his shyness overtake his desire to help the slaves and preach the Word of God? This is a story of courage and compassion with even a pinch of romance, but most of all - a story that won't be forgotten. Join Lowry in his adventures, and journey Across the Wide River.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though this is considered fiction, it is more like truth wrapped in fiction elements. The story is true and told in a way that draws the reader into the struggle for freedom, the role of the Underground Railroad and one family on that journey. The story follows the early life of a very real historical person, Lowry Rankin, his growth into becoming a part of his parent¿s mission to rescue slaves and send them north. It is a story of incredible courage and endurance, of struggle and conscience. This is a story, a real story that we must not forget, told with compassion and a feel for the time and the people. This should be in every school and library.