Sunday, August 23, 2015

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
After the death of his father from consumption (tuberculosis), twelve-year old Elias is sent to live in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave to be treated by Dr. Croghan in hopes that the cool cave vapors will cure him of his consumption. Life in the cave isn't as adventurous as Elias imagines and he escapes his boredom by following the slaves who attend to the patients and conduct tours.

Besides a hospital, the caves serve as a tourist attraction. Elias discovers it also serves as a stop in the Underground Railroad when he follows Stephen, one of the slaves, to a cavern full of runaway slaves.  When the entrances to the caves are blocked off, Elias finds himself in the crossroads of questioning the morality of slavery and protecting them or giving away their secret and risking their lives.

Bradbury uses little known but fascinating bits of history that will have the reader wanting to know more about Mammoth Caves and the real Dr. Croghan. But the real strength lies in the growth of Elias' character consistently throughout the novel. A solid historical fiction novel with a compelling main character.


Publishing Information:

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 21, 2015)
Ages: 9-13
ISBN 978-1442468245

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