LIKE A RIVER is Kathy Cannon Wiechman’s debut novel. The breakout novel launched in the spring of 2015, and has seen great success, being embraced by adults as well as the young readers for whom it was published. LIKE A RIVER brings history to life through an exciting Civil War story, that approaches lesser-known aspects of the war.
Compelled by the staggering statistics of the United States of America’s deadliest war and the widespread impact it had on every family, LIKE A RIVER takes a head-first dive into the romance, thrill, and emotion of the Civil War, as well as the grim and grisly aspects of it. Follow two heroes as they embark on a journey through the war to find hope, love, and what it takes to be a man.
From the Author:
Leander Jordan and Paul Settles are teens who aren’t happy with turns their lives have taken. They join the Union Army and meet in a hospital, totally unaware how much each will change the other.
Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge (author of The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton) explains it well in her review: The stage is deftly set in the first two pages of this remarkable novel: we are in Ohio, the Civil War is raging, and fifteen-year-old Leander Jordan (“Jordan like the river”) wants to prove to his family he’s as much of a man as his older brother, Nate, who announces he’s going to enlist and fight for the Union. The simple, restrained third-person Southern narration leads us to believe we have all the time in the world even as events tumble forward into an ominous future. There’s an accident and it’s Leander (lying about his age), not Nate, who enlists with his brother’s friend, Given. Wounded in the most humiliating of circumstances, Leander lands in a home-turned-hospital in Rome, Georgia. He’s tended by and draws close to Paul Settles, another soldier who’s enlisted under false pretenses. We leave Leander in the hospital and follow his new friend through the second half of the story—back to war, a brief skirmish, capture, and onto a year-long battle for survival in the notorious prison at Andersonville, Georgia, where Given is also held captive. When the war ends and we’re steaming up the Mississippi River toward home, yet another disaster strikes. The Sultana explodes, almost, but not quite, dashing our hopes for a happy ending. Leander does indeed become a man and Paul’s words from his Pap, “folks is like rivers, ever a-changin’ and ever a-changin’ others,” lead to wisdom necessary to redeem the horrors of war. The historical facts upon which the story is based are carefully documented in an extensive author’s note and bibliography, but it’s the details not captured there—from bugs to latrines to the feel of a rifle exploding and hunger gnawing at your innards—that make this debut so awfully, awfully fine.”