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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover Old Florida Through New Eyes
Readers who love "A Time Remembered" by Patrick Smith will be delighted with The River Way Home." Mary Dawson's novel captures the pristine beauty of Florida before bid development hit. Her lyrical prose and deep love for the environment infuse a wonderful story that engages from the opening sentence to the final conclusion. Historical photos add another layer of...
Published 9 months ago by gayle h. swift

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
This was a nice book for a young person or a history buff, of which I am neither. I had high hopes for this book because of the rave reviews but I lost interest at 58 percent completion. I prefer mysteries so maybe my review is not an accurate review, but it's my opinion.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Lou


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover Old Florida Through New Eyes, July 15, 2013
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Readers who love "A Time Remembered" by Patrick Smith will be delighted with The River Way Home." Mary Dawson's novel captures the pristine beauty of Florida before bid development hit. Her lyrical prose and deep love for the environment infuse a wonderful story that engages from the opening sentence to the final conclusion. Historical photos add another layer of interest. "The River Way Home" is destined to be a favorite book that readers will visit many times. Memorable, entertaining and a must read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S AS IF MS. DAWSON FOUND A TIME CAPSULE FROM 1914 WITH VIVID HISTORIC IMAGES AND MESSAGES FOR TODAY, August 4, 2013
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I feel I must begin with a confession. Although I have never met Mary Dawson, my own mother was a young girl on the frontier in 1914, when the train first came through Cokeville Wyoming, and as a child my own grandmother told me true stories of encounters with real bank robbers. So the plot of The River Way home, which has been summarized so well already by other reviewers, had a special and personal meaning to me.

The book is very real. The prologue of the cowboy telling a story by the campfire took me back to other similar campfires of my youth, and I was "hooked". I also had visited southern Florida as a young teenager, and visited Lake Okeechobee, Clewiston, and untouched parts of the Everglades and the Keys, which magnified the vividness of the scenes as they rapidly unfolded.

The interplay and role reversals as the three young teenagers run into countless threats and challenges is amazing. Each takes leadership or gives critical insights based upon their individual cultural backgrounds, experience and training. The tremendous differences and diversity between the three of them repeatedly turn out to be their greatest strengths as they meet and overcome a myriad of challenges.

Part of the book's greatness is the subtle moral lessons it conveys without ever preaching. I would like to say that the book presents another interesting conflict arising out of our traditional cultural American idealization of bandits and desperadoes, but to even point this out makes me guilty of preaching.

Suffice it to say that the images of the storm, the swamps, the alligator attack, the night in the tree, the beautiful waterways, fishing trip, and even the train are the stuff that would make a great Disney movie.

I commend the book to anyone interested in real history coupled with valuable life lessons for today and the future.

Like another reviewer, I read this book on my Kindle but am buying print versions to share with my mother and grand kids.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Florida's Last Frontier, June 24, 2013
Book Description:

"ALLIGATORS, OUTLAWS, AND TOURISTS!

What is it? The Florida story of course.

"The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, and the Amazon Queen," is a nostalgic tale of pre-bulldozer Florida for young adults and adults who are young at heart.

A young Cracker who yearns to become a Florida cow hunter, a Seminole boy, and an educated African-American girl from the northeast are stranded in the magical and mysterious Florida Jungle between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean in 1914. Through adventures involving alligators, outlaws, and tourists (What else?), they discover who they are and become the heroes of their own legends.

With a section of old photos and short historical essays at the end, "The River Way Home" is historical fiction full of action, humor, exotic creatures, and conflicts that remain contemporary today. It's a classic tale of friendship and coming-of-age that will take you back in time to your childhood favorites."

Florida's last frontier. The Florida Jungle 1914. For modern day 2013, it's hard to imagine well known tourist destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Kissimmee & Palm Beach as anything but. This very interesting and rare look at Florida frontier life in 1914 is completely
and utterly worlds apart different. The ecological, cultural and geographical history of South Florida at that time is simply fascinating.

Dawson writes of the frontier life in Florida as reminiscent of similar adventures to please either gender---like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and the Ingalls Family. Rich in geographical detail, this well written and educational adventure is a great summer read for middle grades and older.

The photos and descriptions at the end of the book on the places, faces and lives that inspired the story are very interesting and help paint an even more vivid picture of what life in the Florida jungle was like almost 100 years ago.

A very enjoyable adventure.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The River Way Home is a great Read., May 16, 2013
Interesting, well written and educational. The book is about multi-racial relationship and their struggles in the jungle of old Florida.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Look at Turn-Of-The-Century Florida, October 3, 2013
This review is from: The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, & the Amazon Queen (Kindle Edition)
Queenie is a thirteen-year-old young African American lady, the daughter of a school teacher and her hard-working husband. The time is 1914, and slavery is much closer than a memory to this family. Her father is searching for a community where "coloreds," as they are known during this time in history, run their own affairs without "permission" from whites.

Queenie is a well-educated young woman who, when she meets Billy, who wants nothing more than to be a cow hunter (cowboy, Florida style), and his Seminole partner and best friend who later becomes known as The Chief.

While on a small boat, a huge storm drives them off-course into dangerous country. The story is about their adventures on their way home, which would have taken them no longer than a day had they been able to go directly home.

But they aren't, and the ways they use to survive will touch you, make you laugh, and keep you in suspense, because at times it appears they will not make it at all.

This is a delightful book recommended for all ages. Although it's short, it's packed with true history, real outlaws, tourists, and the politics of the times. But more than that, it's a really fun, adventurous read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!, August 30, 2013
By 
BJ "BJ" (S. Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, & the Amazon Queen (Kindle Edition)
A friend recommended the author and this book to me. I live in Florida very close to where the events
in the book occurred. The book was full of the true history of the region and the characters were
delightful. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good adventure, characters that are so
real that you feel you know them and history that is turned into a wonderful story. Thank you Ms.
Dawson for this wonderful book. I would recommend it for ages 13 to 64 (which I happen to be LOL).
Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Middle Level Read!, August 30, 2013
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I purchased this novel in the hopes it would be appropriate for my 6th grade science class as a read-aloud this year. I was not disappointed! The characters are fun, the historical perspective is perfectly embedded in the tale, and the environmental message speaks to my desire to teach conservation in a subtle way that fosters enduring learning for my students. Ms. Dawson has given us a gift, and my students are already engaged in the telling of the tale after just two weeks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, Awe, History and Three Young Pioneers!, August 15, 2013
This review is from: The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, & the Amazon Queen (Kindle Edition)
Follow along with three young and unlikely friends as a simple boat ride through the waters of an untamed Florida becomes not only a dangerous journey, but an adventure of epic proportions sure to ignite the imaginations of readers old or young! The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, The Indian and the Amazon Queen by Mary E. Dawson is filled with historical value and a sense of wonder and discovery as Queenie, an educated young black girl, Chief, a young Seminole boy and Billy, a young cracker boy with an as yet untapped, yet brilliant mind, brave nature, the elements and some dangerous outlaws, as they try to make their way to the safety of home.

Mary E. Dawson has created a beautifully written novel brimming with true historical facts surrounding Central Florida in the days before man and the railroad tamed its vast lands, when word of mouth and tales of the past kept the spirit of the land alive. Her characters are warm, sweet and innocent, but showed amazing poise, loyalty and true grit when called upon. Ms. Dawson's world-building is like a mental trip through time, to the sights and smells of the `jungles' and wonders of Florida that is both captivating and memorable. For younger readers, she has cleverly disguised history lessons in a book that begs to be read! And I admit it I knew very little of what she so generously shared!

The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, The Indian and the Amazon Queen is a trip through the real Florida, long before Disney came along! Should you read it and share it? Definitely!

I sincerely wish to thank the author for allowing me the opportunity to share in this fantastic journey!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Florida frontier a century ago, July 19, 2013
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This review is from: The River Way Home: The Adventures of the Cowboy, the Indian, & the Amazon Queen (Kindle Edition)
This is historical fiction, based on the events, the land, and its people a century ago in the Lake Okeechobee region of Florida. Three teenage protagonists, a black girl, a white boy, and an Indian boy, are the vehicle for the story. Their adventures - everything from fighting an alligator to confronting the infamous bank robbing Ashley gang, are vivid and believable. It is reminiscent of Huck Finn and his buddy, Jim the runaway slave, on the Mississippi.

For young readers, it is not only an exploration into what life was like on this southern frontier, but an interesting insight into social interaction. How the youngsters related to each other, and to a variety of strangers, is an education.

The epilog/addendum to the story is non-fiction. It is a history of the people and places that shaped Florida. The characters are based on those real people and events. The photos and text of this portion of the book alone are worth the price of admission.

As a lifetime writer/editor, I set the bar of literary expectation high. This book has earned its five star rating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, June 10, 2013
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The writing was marvelous. The story, simply told,has enough twists and turns to hold your attention throughout the book. The character development was well done and the lead, Queenie, holds the story together. Altogether an entertaining story with a historical back drop.
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