Ellis River

Narrated by Madeleine Norton
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Pub Date 01 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 29 Sep 2023
Bay Feather Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks

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The Civil War scattered her family. Disguised, and with her spirited horse, a young woman navigates war-torn country to collect what’s left of her life. This award-winning historical novel now comes to life on audio!

Winner of the 2023 Independent Book Publishers Association's Benjamin Franklin Award (Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book - fiction.)

Finalist for the Eric Hoffer First Horizons Award.

Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize.

“…a moving story of determination and grit…beautifully composed…”

—Finalist for the Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize

“An earnest and poignant bildungsroman.”

—Kirkus Reviews 

The Civil War scattered her family. Disguised, and with her spirited horse, a young woman navigates war-torn country to collect what’s left of her life. This award-winning historical novel now comes...

Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9798368993393
PRICE $17.00 (USD)
DURATION 7 Hours, 11 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 40 members

Featured Reviews

What a wonderful treat of a book. The audio book narration was fabulous and the story of fifteen year old Ellis’s journey, with her beloved horse, Billie, as she searches for her family towards the end of the civil war is captivating. Through all the brutality and sadness of the war there is an optimism which pervades. I look forward to reading more by this author. Thank you to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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A beautiful award winning piece of literary historical coming of age fiction from Nicki Ehrlich, set during and bringing alive the turbulent years of heartbreak and loss in the Civil War years. I listened to this on audio, marvellously narrated by Madeline Norton, that completely immerses the listener for the entirety of the 7 hours and 10 minutes, she conveys the characters particularly well. One of the highlights are the wonderfully rich descriptions of nature and landscapes, as we follow the young 15 year old Ellis Cady. part of the Quaker community. She is caught up in a war and a harshly shifting world that has emotional and despairing life changing repercussions where so much that is familiar comes to an end, requiring her to grow up far too quickly.

Ellis's father and eldest brother left intending to make a delivery of horses, but they failed to return, her other brother leaving to try and find them, her mother left heartbroken and going on to die. She has to come to terms with being all alone, her only companions the horses, and even they do not remain as union soldiers come and take them, the only stroke of good fortune coming with the brilliant horse Billie's return. Dressing as a boy in an effort to protect herself from dangers that may come her way, the courageous and traumatised Ellis sets off, hoping to find her father and brothers, encountering tough times. She bears witness to the impact of the war on a ravaged land, and people, finding unexpected solace in a group of travellers.

Part of the atmospheric narrative is in the form of unsent letters written by Ellis, giving us access to the state of her interior world. The demands and challenges that Ellis faces means surviving requires that she must adapt, ensuring her character undergoes remarkable progress and development. Given Ellis's nightmare circumstances, there is a surprising sense of hope and light in this enthralling listen that captures this period of American history and war so well, and I absolutely adored Billie! I particularly recommend the audio of this superb book. Many thanks to the publisher for an ALC.

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This is a beautifully written story, set in the civil war. The story is absolutely captivating as is our protagonist Ellis. She can feel the change of the world and the change within herself and the author portrays that in such a stunning way. I was there, wrapped up somewhere between the saddle and the bed roll. I’m never sure if my description of being able to smell the setting is understandable, but to me it’s thing, and I could smell it. The narration was just lovely.

Read it. You will not be disappointed. All the stars ⭐️ #Jorecommends

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It’s with gratitude to NetGalley and Bay Feather Publishing granting me a copy that I’m providing my review of this audiobook.
Firstly, I have to mention that the narrator did a fabulous job of helping the listener distinguish between characters.
It was an easy listen, the story held my interest and I enjoyed the historical aspect of life at the time of the American Civil War as well as the adventures of the main character, Ellis, as she saddled up and went looking for members of her family.

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A fantastic debut novel from Nicki Ehrlich focusing on a young teenager, Ellis, travelling alone through the aftermath of The Civil War. We journey with Ellis as she tries to make sense of her own losses alongside trying to keep safe in incredibly challenging circumstances.

The writing is beautiful and touching and Ellis' connection to nature and horses are particularly poignant as is her unconditional acceptance of others.

Madeleine Norton did an excellent job narrating the audiobook bringing the scenes to life and adding to the overall entertainment.

I am grateful to NetGalley and the publishers for an ALC of this book and am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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