Journeys Across Niagara
Taking place in the early 1960s, this historical fiction novel interweaves the story of five teens making a dangerous trek down to the Niagara ice bridge with shorter historical stories highlighting other significant events in the history of the Falls. As the boys travel down to the Falls and make their way back up again, they face physical, emotional, and spiritual hazards that they were not expecting, teaching them important lessons about life, friendship, and the God who has power over even the most powerful parts of His creation.
Though it starts off a bit slowly, once the boys descended into the gorge, their excitement and the author’s vivid descriptions keeps the story moving and the reader’s attention piqued. In the earlier portion, while discussing the Falls’ history, the stories-within-a-story fit well and provided more unique insight, but the last one seemed out of place — by that point in the plot, the boys’ plight is so perilous that it seems awkward to place a tangential narrative there. I would have also really enjoyed short narratives about the 1912 ice bridge disaster and the train crash mentioned; I was surprised and disappointed when the author didn’t include them.
Although I enjoyed the story, the ending left me feeling a bit crestfallen; although it was a good ending, it wasn’t positive, and I guess I was expecting more of a spiritual revelation that would lift up the spirits despite the tragedies involved.
Overall, a great story for those interested in the great, varied history of Niagara Falls, or those who might enjoy a Christian-based coming-of-age adventure for boys.