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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Book: The Light Across the River by Stephanie Reed

The Story

It's 1837 and the Rankin home continues to be a beacon of freedom along the Underground Railroad. Johnny, the seventh of the thirteen Rankin children, is eager to help his family in their fight for freedom, but his father and his older brother tell him he's too young to keep a secret as important as the Underground Railroad. Johnny knows he should keep his mouth shut, but he cares so much about what his family does that he can't keep quiet.

Johnny is called upon to help a woman escape to freedom. Will Eliza reach the North, or has Johnny let the wrong secret slip out at the wrong time? This tense and touching sequel to Across the Wide River offers another glimpse into a dark period of America's past and profiles the courageous and godly people who helped bring slavery to an end.

My Review

This exciting page turner does a fantastic job of transporting the reader to another time period and showing what life must have been like for those involved in the Underground Railroad. I can tell the author did lots of homework to recreate the environment with authentic characters, dialogue, and other historical details. I truly felt transported to another time. The hair-raising escapes also had me on the edge of my seat, particularly for the last fifty pages as I wondered whether Eliza, Beulah, and her children would escape to freedom.

I particularly related to Johnny's struggle. Who has never opened his mouth and later regretted something he said? The author did a wonderful job of making Johnny three-dimensional and sympathetic. Poor Johnny couldn't keep this mouth closed, but what an important lesson he learned about God's forgiveness in spite of his mistakes!

I really like how the author tied Eliza to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The ending historical note added context to this powerful and fascinating detail. Again, the author deserves lots of credit for spinning such an engaging tale within the context of accurate historical record. The story concluded with a strong, satisfying finish that left me wanting more. I'm hoping for another novel about the Rankin family and their God-fearing ways. Don't miss this one!

Read more about the book at

For more about Stephanie Reed, the author, check out her website.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Adam--this is a wonderfully reassuring review. I am looking forward to the ARC of your book. It will be here before you know it.