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Publisher's Summary

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, 15-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.

In this 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.

©2003 Richard Peck (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"Peck reaches new depth with this Civil War-era novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"This unusual Civil War novel really boosts Peck's credentials as America's best living author for young adults." (The Washington Post)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love Peck's way of writing about history!

What made the experience of listening to The River Between Us the most enjoyable?

The story is great. I am looking forward to teaching this book to my 8th graders.

What other book might you compare The River Between Us to and why?

Like Peck's "Fair Weather," I love how he takes his characters to historically accurate entertainment venues. In "FW," we visited the Chicago World's Fair and a Wild West. In this story, we learn about actual Show Boats of the era. I plan to try singing "Old Man River" to my soon-to-be embarrassed 8th graders when we come to the Show Boat part.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LynnG
  • NY United States
  • 08-04-18

Tender, rich and layered.

This book left me in a whirl of so many emotions, If I had to describe one of them, it would be, Love. Love for the characters, who I had unknowingly bonded with. Love for the irresistible storyline. Love for Richard Peck (May he Rest In Peace). I am not sure how, after all these years I have not seen his work before. He definitely deserves to be up there with J.R.R Tolkien and Jane Austin.

I won’t give you any spoilers, but I think that the Civil War topic was phenomenal!