Over the River
By Sharelle Byars Moranville
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 9780805070491, 240pp.)
Publication Date: October 2002
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A young girl comes to terms with the father she thought didn’t love her.
“Your daddy isn’t a bad man,” Aunty Rose said. “He just doesn’t have anything to do with us. So why do you keep asking?”
It seems like everything eleven-year-old Willa Mae wants to know just isn’t proper material for her curiosity. But some mysteries have a way of unraveling on their own. When her long-absent father returns after the war and sets about laying claim, Willa Mae finds her quiet country life suddenly stirred into a mix of buried secrets. Why does Grandpa despise her daddy, and what does it have to do with Mama’s death? But before Willa Mae can find the answers to these questions, she is pulled away from her rural Illinois home to begin a new life with her father across the river in Oklahoma. As pleased as Willa Mae is to finally have her daddy back, she misses her home and wants desperately to return. Will she be forced to choose one side of the family over the other?
In this beautifully written novel set in the late 1940s, Sharelle Byars Moranville explores a critical time in a young girl’s life, as Willa Mae comes to accept her parents, her sense of home, and especially what it means to be loved.
Sharelle Byars Moranville is a professor of writing and literature. This is her first novel for young readers. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband.