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The River Between Us (2003)

by Richard Peck

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1,4875011,505 (3.86)39
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

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I haven't read historical fiction in a while and I really appreciated the brevity of this Civil War novel as well as the story within a story. When a young man goes to visit his grandparents in southern Illinois with his father on the eve of WWI he has no idea what he is about to learn. His family is hiding a wealth of secrets dating all the way back to the Civil War. When his grandmother recounts the summer that her life changed forever - both her grandson and the readers are captivated. Two young women exist a steamboat in a flurry of petticoats and finery and change the little Illinois town forever. No one knows if they are rebel sympathizers or society girls - but one thing is for certain - one of the young woman is black - is she a slave or freed? Because there are no suitable lodgings in town Tilly's mother opens up her house to them and life is never the same again. Interesting story that covers aspects of the war that many are probably unfamiliar with. Two fantastic narrators really make this a story worth listening to! ( )
  ecataldi | Dec 17, 2020 |
The year is 1861. Tilly Pruitt lives in Illinois with her brother Noah, her sister Cass and their mother. With their father gone, they are struggling to make ends meet. Then a stranger from New Orleans steps off a steamboat headed to St Louis. Delphine and her companion Calinda are like nothing the small town of Grand Tower has ever seen. They cannot continue their journey to St. Louis, so Mrs. Pruitt takes them in as paying boarders. Rumors begin to fly around town immediately. Residents wonder if the darker woman, Calinda, is a slave, or if the two women are spies for the south. And why is the Pruitt family harboring southerners? Little do they all know the deep effect they will all have on each others lives and futures.

This story is told as a flashback, as Tilly's grandchildren come for a visit in 1916. The children learn the story of their dad's family, and a family secret or two.

This is just a lovely story. It has such vibrant descriptions and memorable characters. I just happened to find this book at the local thriftshop and picked it up. I'm glad I did. It was a very enjoyable read.

Richard Peck has written many books for children, including A Year Down Yonder, which won the Newberry Medal in 2001. This is the first book I've read by him. I plan to read more! Wonderful story!

( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
In my opinion this book was okay, but what I liked about it is that it gave various perspectives to the Civil War. It displays the stereotyping that many cultures had to deal with, the horrifying war lifestyles, the upset families at home, and the strength that many people had to help themselves and others. This book put you right into that point in history. It referenced many things from that time period, such as the clothing, cooking, heating, eating, and entertainment details. For example, one quote from the book "The paper was loose and peeling on the walls. I wondered how many layers you'd have to scrape away until you came to the time when these old people were young. If they ever were. I wondered how quiet you'd have to be to hear the voices of those times.", p. 15. I really liked the writer’s ability to create imagery for a time period I was not alive in. Another thing about this book is that is pushed students to think about the complexity of race, cultural status, love, and war while reading this novel. ( )
  ksteir1 | Mar 2, 2020 |
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To me, the best part was that we'd make the trip by car. When I say car, I mean a Ford, of course, a Model T touring car, and they don't make them like that anymore.
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During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

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Average: (3.86)
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