Like a River: A Civil War Novel

By Kathy Cannon Wiechman



Winner, The Grateful American Book Prize

Leander and Polly are two teenage Union soldiers who carry deep, dangerous secrets. Leander is underage when he enlists and Polly follows her father into war disguised as his son. The war proves life changing for both as they survive incredible odds. Leander struggles to be accepted as a man and loses his arm as a consequence. Polly mourns the death of her father, endures Andersonville Prison, and narrowly escapes the Sultana steamboat disaster. As the lives of these young, brave soldiers intersect, each finds a wealth of courage and learns about the importance of loyalty, family, and love. Like a River is a lyrical atmospheric first novel told in two voices. Readers will be transported to the homes, waterways, camps, hospitals, and prisons of the Civil-War era. They will also see themselves in the universal themes of dealing with parents, friendships, bullying, failure, and young love.

Product Details

Price: $18.98  $17.46
Publisher: Calkins Creek Books
Published Date: April 07, 2015
Pages: 336
Dimensions: 5.8 X 1.5 X 8.4 inches | 1.13 pounds
ISBN: 9781629792095

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About the Author

Kathy Cannon Wiechman traveled to Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia (the site of Andersonville Prison), Virginia, Tennessee, and Mississippi to research and write Like a River. She also attended several Civil War reenactments and learned to load and fire a muzzleloader. This is her debut novel. She lives in Cincinnati with her family not far from the Ohio River.


Wiechman delivers a realistic portrayal of the gritty details of prison camp conditions as Paul witnesses many soldiers succumb to infected wounds, disease, and malnutrition. . . . The book has strong merit as accurate historical fiction.' --Publishers Weekly

The rich language and artful imagery will stay with readers long after finishing the last page. . . . This joins other great middle grade novels about the Civil War. . . . A truly excellent first purchase for all fans of historical fiction who enjoy a hint of romance.' --School Library Journal

* 'Wiechman's abundant research is unobtrusively folded into the tale. An excellent author's note provides further information about the times. Though the horrors of Andersonville and various Civil War-era events such as the Battle of Atlanta, Lincoln's assassination and the explosion of the steamboat Sultana provide wartime context, it's the secrets woven into the well-paced tale that will pull readers eagerly to the tearful conclusion. A superb Civil War tale of friendship, loyalty and what it means to be a man.' --Kirkus Reviews, starred review