The River Between Us by Richard Peck

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Richard Peck is a master of stories about people in transition, but perhaps never before has he told a tale of such dramatic change as this one, set during the first year of the Civil War. The whole country is changing in 1861-even the folks from a muddy little Illinois settlement on the banks of the Mississippi. Here, fifteen-year-old Tilly Pruitt frets over the fact that her brother is dreaming of being a soldier and that her sister is prone to supernatural visions. A boy named Curry could possibly become a distraction.

Then a steamboat whistle splits the air. The Rob Roy from New Orleans docks at the landing, and off the boat step two remarkable figures: a vibrant, commanding young lady in a rustling hoop skirt and a darker, silent woman in a plain cloak, with a bandanna wrapped around her head. Who are these two fascinating strangers? And is the darker woman a slave, standing now on the free soil of Illinois? When Tilly's mother invites the women to board at her house, the whole world shifts for the Pruitts and for their visitors as well.

Within a page-turning tale of mystery, adventure, and the civilian Civil War experience, Richard Peck has spun a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact that one person can have on another. This is a novel of countless riches.


About Richard Peck

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Richard Peck has won almost every children's fiction award, including the Newbery Medal, and he has recently received a National Humanities Medal from the White House.
Published January 1, 2003 by Dial. 164 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, War, History, Romance. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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“Imagine an age when there were still people around who’d seen U.S. Grant with their own eyes, and men who’d voted for Lincoln.” Fifteen-year-old Howard Leland Hutchings visits his father’s family in Grand Tower, Illinois, in 1916, and meets four old people who raised his father.

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Publishers Weekly

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In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "The author crafts his characters impeccably and threads together their fates in surprising ways that shed light on the complicated events of the Civil War."

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Publishers Weekly

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A showboat's arrival on the Mississippi, and Tilly and Delphine's trip to the battlefront in search of Noah, occasion further revelations about Delphine and Calinda's background as well as fascinating details of the complex New Orleans society.

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Common Sense Media

Rarely has war in general, and the Civil War in particular, been portrayed so clearly and realistically for young readers, perhaps only in Gary Paulsen's Soldier's Heart, which spanned the war and many battles.

Sep 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The River Between Us

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