I have recently finished reading "Across the Wide River" by Stephanie Reed and was immediately swept away. The story follows the Rankin family as they aid in the underground escape of slaves during the mid to late 1800's. I was captivated by their bravery as well as the historical background of the treatment of human beings.
It is also a coming-of-age story as the oldest son, Lowry, must decide to continue down the path his father has chosen as a well spoken anti-slavery minister or forge his own future. He is faced with many difficult decisions as well as witnessing much hypocrisy within the people of his and surrounding communities.
In our current society, slavery is merely a topic we learn about in history class. We may remember a few details and a few important people in abolishing the practices but often don't fully grasp the depravity and depth of persecution. By weaving a first hand account of a family making bold choices to assist despite great risks and the well described setting of the times, I felt as though I was there and could actually witness what it was like to live in such a divided and difficult culture. I was on the edge of my seat during much of the book as I couldn't wait to see what would happen, if they'd be caught, if they'd continue to risk their safety and the safety of their family, and how each of the characters would develop throughout.
Although the book is a well-written piece of fiction, it is based on the real Rankin family. The author had the amazing privilege of meeting a descendant of the family and touring the Rankin home to learn first hand what life was like for them and how they accomplished so much. Stephanie Reed spent years doing research to discover as much as she could about this family to create the most factual and riveting account.
The story is captivating, the characters real and easy to relate to and the message truly inspirational. To enter to win a FREE copy of this amazing book, leave your name in the comment section at the end of this post and the winner will be notified by email.