PERSONAL: Married; children: two. Hobbies and other interests: Storm spotting for the National Weather Service.
ADDRESSES: Home—Dublin, OH. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Kregel Publications, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2607.
Across the Wide River (novel), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: When Stephanie Reed was a youngster, she often traveled through Ripley, Ohio, in order to visit her grandparents. Even then she was intrigued by the town's Rankin House, a documented safe home on the Underground Railroad, an organized route providing black slaves with safe passage to the North before the end of the U.S. Civil War. As an adult, Reed began to research the Rankin family and their roles as guides for escaping slaves. Reed's debut book, Across the Wide River, uses one boy's life to illustrate this desperate moment in American history.
Across the Wide River is based on a true story of an abolitionist family. The eldest son, Lowry Rankin, becomes a believer in freedom for slaves after witnessing his African-American friend's brutal beating. When the family moves to Ohio, Lowry helps slaves to escape, even as he wrestles with his own sense of self-worth and his ambitions to work as a minister.
In a review of Across the Wide River for Dancing Word Writer's Network Online, Dell Smith Klein stated that Reed "writes of slavery's shame and its violence to the human body and spirit…. Her writing is clear and pulls the reader on from beginning to end." Book Review Café contributor Jill Eisnaugle called the work "a good-natured, heartwarming novel" and "a magnificently flowing story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kliatt, March, 2005, Hinton KaaVonia, review of Across the Wide River, p. 22.
Book Review Café, http://www.bookreviewcafe.com/ (September 28, 2005), Jill Eisnaugle, review of Across the Wide River.
Dancing Word Writer's Network, http://www.dancingword.com/ (September 28, 2005), Dell Smith Klein, review of Across the Wide River.