Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There are some books that, as soon as you hear about them, you know you must read them. For me, Across the Wide River was one such book. Having grown up in Southern Ohio and lived and worked in and around the Ripley area, I can validate Stephanie Reed’s accurate portrayal of the region.

Though a novel, Across the Wide River is loaded with factual information. Stephanie Reed presents history in a close-up, personal way. The main character, Lowry Rankin, and his family were real people involved in a true struggle against a pervasive evil of their time. Relying on their deep-seated faith and Christian principles, they chose to take a stand on the side of a disenfranchised and down-trodden people. By telling the story behind the story she highlights the motivations and risks individuals of that era faced.

Much has been made of the way in which Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, galvanized the abolitionist movement in the United States. While certainly true, this overlooks the fact that people like the Rankins were already on site and hard at work well before Stowe’s novel appeared. Driven by their sense of justice, they had banded together to form the loose federation known as the Underground Railway.

The book is rated YA, or Young Adult. This in no way bars an adult from opening the cover. Rather, it simply guarantees the book contains no offensive language, sexual references, or violent episodes that would make it unsuitable for a younger reader. Adults can, and should, read Across the Wide River. They’ll find it an enjoyable experience. Here’s a suggestion on how to go about accomplishing that. The book makes a great gift for a child or grandchild. Buy if for them and, if you’re lucky, they may let you read it when they’ve finished. —E G Lewis

Product Information:
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0825435768

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Edward! Love how you picked up on how long the Rankins had been helping slaves by the time Uncle Tom's Cabin was published. In the sequel, The Light Across the River, the Rankin family's working relationship with the Beechers and the Stowes is highlighted. The Rankins helped the real Eliza after she escaped slavery on melting Ohio River ice, and the story doesn't end there.

    You and your readers can sample both books free, the first two chapters of each, at

    Thanks for sharing your blog with me.