River Sing Me Home

by Eleanor Shearer

Published 2023 322 pages

Spoilers ahead.

A poignant and powerful story of a runaway slave travelling throughout the Lesser Antilles trying to find the children that were sold away from her. There's not much more to the story than that—whether or not she finds her children is almost incidental to the central message of hope and strength in the face of inescapable suffering.

Along the way, Rachel builds a new family around the children that she does find and the folks who join her on her quest. Family isn't just the people you gave birth to, but the people in whom you find your strength and support in adversity.

Storytelling is another notable motif, especially insofar as it's used to show how the past asserts itself in the present. Rachel finds that sometimes, stories are all that's left of the child she was searching for—but that doesn't necessarily mean that the child is gone forever. People live on in each other.

The ending ramps up the action a little bit jarringly; much of the book has a sort of dreamlike quality to it as the characters travel and grow close, and a dramatic escape from a plantation reads a little bit more like a thriller.


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