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Crossing Ebenezer Creek

Review

Crossing Ebenezer Creek

Award-winning author Tonya Bolden’s newest novel, CROSSING THE EBENEZER CREEK, introduces readers to Mariah, a young slave girl liberated by the Union army, and her little brother, Zeke. The book follows these siblings as they travel through the south following General Sherman and his soldiers as they march to the sea. As she travels down the road toward a new life, Mariah meets others like her and learns that there is some truth in the stories that her owner, Callie Chaney, told her when warning her about the Union soldiers.

"I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and would like to know more about the black involvement in Sherman’s March to the Sea....CROSSING THE EBENEZER CREEK is a story about survival and freedom in the face of adversity."

Mariah is thrilled when the Union soldiers come to liberate her plantation. Having nowhere else to go, Mariah decides to follow the soldiers during their march for safety. Along the way she meets Caleb, a young man who offers her a place to sit on his cart as they follow the Union army. Before, all Mariah could think about was getting out of Miss Callie’s plantation, but now all she can think about is starting a new life with Caleb. But the road following the troops is tough, and it’s going to take all of Mariah’s willpower just to survive.

Sherman’s March to the Sea was a military campaign of the American Civil War and took place in the winter of 1964. Its mission was to move from Atlanta, through Georgia, and to capture the port of Savannah. Along the way, the army destroyed not only military targets but industry and civilian property, as well. Because one of the focuses of the mission was to frighten Georgia’s civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause, the Union army often stole food and livestock and burned the houses and barns of people who tried to fight back. CROSSING THE EBENEZER CREEK tells the story of the people most left out of the history lessons about Sherman’s March: the many slaves who were liberated on this campaign who ended up following the soldiers because they had nowhere else to go.

Many of the themes of this book were pretty heavy. While the book doesn’t explicitly delve into and explain the many horrors that the liberated slaves faced while in slavery, it does talk about what they went through, albeit briefly. It’s not anything too bad, since the target audience for this book is definitely young teens (though this is definitely a book that older readers can easily enjoy), but just be aware that themes of brutality are present in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and would like to know more about the black involvement in Sherman’s March to the Sea. There are definitely romantic under and overtones, but the main focus of the book is not strictly about the love story. Overall, CROSSING THE EBENEZER CREEK is a story about survival and freedom in the face of adversity.

Reviewed by Zoe I., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2017

Crossing Ebenezer Creek
by Tonya Bolden