February 26, 2018

What I’m Reading: A Mother’s Journey in “Follow The River”

By Julie Samrick

Author James Alexander Thom, known for his thorough research in creating historically accurate literature, captures the Draper’s Meadow Massacre of 1755 and the protagonist at the center of the story, young wife and mother, Mary Draper Ingles, in Follow the River.


As the French & Indian War (1754-1763) escalated on unchartered American soil, Native Americans as French colonial allies revolted against English settlers and the claims the English staked on more territory. 

A pregnant Ingles, her two young sons, and her sister-in-law are taken hostage by the Shawnee and they are forced to travel nearly 1,000 miles from home after their settlement in Virginia is raided and attacked. Though stunned, Ingles keeps her wits and knows she must “Follow the River” they traverse if she has any chance of making the journey back to her husband.


It is a story of survival, courage, and of a mother’s love.  The agonizing choices Mary must make are haunting.  And if the story weren’t true, it would be hard to believe.  It is also a slice of American history that reads like a page-turner.  I recommend this book, but only to readers over 17 due to violence and its heavy emotional issues. 


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