Item description for The Light Across the River: A Novel by Stephanie Reed...
Overview In this powerful sequel to "Across the Wide River," the Rankin home is still a beacon of freedom on the Underground Railroad. Johnny, the seventh of thirteen children in the Rankin family, is growing up quickly and in 1837 is eager to take on the same responsibilities as the rest of his family. But Johnny's father and his brother Lowry think Johnny is too young and too hotheaded to help with something as important and secretive as the Underground Railroad. Johnny understands the need for secrecy, but sometimes the secret is just too good to keep to himself! This engaging novel for young adults offers a further glimpse into a dark period of America's past, and profiles the courageous and godly people who helped bring about its end.
In this powerful sequel to "Across the Wide River," the Rankin home is still a beacon of freedom on the Underground Railroad. Johnny, the seventh of thirteen children in the Rankin family, is growing up quickly and in 1837 is eager to take on the same responsibilities as the rest of his family. But Johnny's father and his brother Lowry think Johnny is too young and too hotheaded to help with something as important and secretive as the Underground Railroad. Johnny understands the need for secrecy, but sometimes the secret is just too good to keep to himself This engaging novel for young adults offers a further glimpse into a dark period of America's past, and profiles the courageous and godly people who helped bring about its end.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Light Across the River: A Novel by Stephanie Reed has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Romantic Times - 04/01/2008 page 70
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Studio: Kregel Publications
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.02" Width: 5.31" Height: 0.58" Weight: 0.46 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher Kregel Publications
ISBN 0825435749 ISBN13 9780825435744
Availability 0 units.
More About Stephanie Reed
Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs she glimpses along the byways of Ohio. For her previous books, Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River, the sign told of the Reverend John Rankin and family's station of the Underground Railroad. For The Bargain, the sign said, "Harness Shop, Closed Sundays."
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Light Across the River: A Novel?
A winner! Mar 22, 2010
Have you ever read Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe? Mrs. Stowe claimed that the stories in her book were based on actual people and events. How did she learn about the account of Eliza's harrowing escape across the Ohio River on the breaking ice? The family of John Rankin, an abolitionist minister, lived in Ripley, OH. Author Stephanie Reed chronicled the coming of age of the oldest Rankin son, Lowry, in Across the Wide River. In this sequel, she focuses on Lowry's younger brother Johnny. In the fall of 1837, a Kentucky slave woman who has come to be known as Eliza helps her husband George escape; he is rescued by two other of Johnny's older brothers, Cal and Sam. Then in March of 1838 Eliza herself escapes with her baby Mose across the breaking ice. Now twelve, Johnny gets to see her and hear her story before Cal and another brother David spirit her on to the next station of the Underground Railroad from which she eventually reaches Canada. Johnny wants to help too, but he has a bad habit of blurting things out. There was a saying, "If you want to know what's going on in Ripley, go ask Johnny." Afraid that he might accidentally spill the beans about the "family business," Mr. Rankin sends Johnny with Lowry to Cincinnati where he is to study at Lane Seminary. However, while there he tells the story of Eliza to Harriet Beecher Stowe. His conscience bothers him about it, but he figures that everything will be all right--until three years later Eliza returns to the Rankins with a French Canadian to help her daughter and grandchildren escape. Will they succeed, or will they get caught? And will Johnny be able to help this time, or will his having told the story to someone else present a possible hindrance? Our family did Across the Wide River as an after-lunch family read aloud and enjoyed it immensely. We used The Light Across the River for the same purpose and really enjoyed it too. While both books are great, we felt that The Light Across the River actually had more excitement. Reading good historical fiction based upon real events and people of the past is a wonderful way to appreciate and understand history. And it is especially beneficial to learn about the lives of those whose actions were guided by a sincere faith in God and His word. Stephanie Reed's The Light Across the River, which is based on written records by several Rankin family members, including John, Cal, Sam, and Johnny himself, is a winner on both counts!
A must-read for home schoolers and those who want to know more about the Underground Railroad Aug 28, 2009
The Light Across the River is a historic fiction that is almost non-fiction. It's basis is true history. Rev. John Rankin and his family were strong abolitionists who, from their farm perched above the Ohio River, helped around 2000 slaves on their way to freedom. As they grew old enough, his thirteen (yes, thirteen) children became part of the family business. One of these children was Johnny Rankin, and this novel is basically seeing events through his eyes. This is where a lot of the fiction comes in, imagining his life. While the bigger picture is all about the escapades and drama of conducting slaves safely to the next station, there is also the more personal story of Johnny maturing and learning some valuable life lessons. Johnny is known as a blabbermouth, so it isn't an easy thing for his parents to trust him with any knowledge of the people moving through their home or of other conductors. So many lives would be affected if he blabbed any secrets. He also needed some attitude adjustments about his oldest brother Lowry and his place in the family. On one hand The Light Across the River deals with the true story of the Underground Railroad, but on the other it is the story of a young boy growing up and dealing with problems many others of his age can identify with. Personally, I was intrigued with the story of the real Eliza from Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe's world-changing book. As it turns out, Eliza (which was not her real name, we're fairly sure) was a real traveler who came across the Ohio on breaking ice, stopping at the Rankins' home. Eliza's incredible story mingles with Johnny's and eventually, through the Rankins' connections to Lane Theological Seminary, becomes part of a novel that helped to spread the ideas of abolition. This is a book I highly recommend for any mid-grade readers, and I even encourage older readers to look into it and the previous Rankin novel, Across the Wide River. For any home schoolers, I urge you to include these books as part of your reading program, something that you can discuss along with studies on slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad.
A captivating read Mar 18, 2009
Reviewed by Nicole Bonia for Reader Views (3/09)
As the seventh of thirteen children Johnny Rankin is eager to establish a place for himself in his large family, and wants to prove himself by helping in the family business of conducting slaves through the Underground Railroad. But Johnny has trouble keeping secrets, and based on the way that he blurted out information in the past, neither his father nor the rest of his family, thinks that he can be trusted to help with such an important and dangerous undertaking.
One night when a slave woman, Eliza, arrives at the Rankin household looking for help, Johnny gets to see firsthand the way his family springs into action and each plays their part in rescuing slaves, but afterward Johnny is sent to live with his brother for a time so that the family can continue to protect their secret. A couple of years pass and once again the Rankin family has to help a woman in need. Will they be able to depend on Johnny to help and more importantly will he be able to keep quiet?
I enjoyed this wonderful book about the Underground Railroad and the Rankin family. The fact that the story was closely based on real events added to the impact that it had as I discovered more information about how the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin came into existence. I loved the rich use of detail and was fully drawn in by the vivid descriptions of the safe houses and the methods that the families used to help the escaping slaves to safety in other locations. The real joy however comes from the rich characterizations of the Rankin family and the inhabitants of the town, getting to experience the different personalities and eccentricities and also seeing the way the community comes together to help the Rankin family.
The novel unfolded through a series of narratives that alternated with Johnny Rankin and also a slave, Eliza, whom the Rankin family helped to escape. Having Eliza speak in the novel anchored the story to just how much was at stake, and I was riveted by her experiences in trying to escape and saw the danger firsthand as she took the necessary steps to get herself family to freedom.
Written for young adults, and advertised in the Religious/Christian genre, this novel offers much to those beyond those audiences. The story was written in such a complex way that even an adult would be fascinated and eager to see how everything worked out. The religious aspect of he story came across in the faith of the Rankin family (the father was a preacher), and I enjoyed the way the family was consistent in applying their religious faith to their life, and is non-intrusive to those who don't usually read this type of fiction. This novel is a great mix of love, duty, mystery, suspense and history. "The Light Across the River" by Stephanie Reed was an exciting read, and definitely a page turner.
The Light Across the River video trailer Dec 5, 2008
The Light Across the River is an inspiring story based on true events. Stephanie Reed has done her homework in researching the Underground Railroad at the Kentucky-Ohio border and has brought to life the lives of the men and women who sought to protect the lives of slaves, even at their own peril and that of their families. Johnny Rankin grows up in this book, not only in age and stature, but in patience and understanding.
The book earns five stars for engaging prose like this: "Snowmelt roared down the hillsides, crashed on the riverbank, sloshed into the air, and cascaded back to the ground. The yellow runoff foamed over the ice until it was half a foot deep in spots. With the muddy water above and the swollen surge below, the ice on the river shivered like an old man."
And this was the river that Eliza crossed to freedom. We all can learn from this book.
Cindy Thomson, author of Brigid of Ireland: A Historical Novel Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story