Every month The Naperville Glancer magazine features a book review in the column "Relax and Read" by Donna Chavez. Chavez chose Ruth by Lake and Prairie to review in her June 2007 column, to coincide with Naper Days at the Naper Settlement.
Chavez wrote an excellent summary of the story and stated that "Gingold did a super job of researching the Murray/Naper journey and an even better job of painting a picture of their lives and times."
A book reviewer for Publisher's Weekly and for the American Library Association Booklist, as well as a writer herself, Chavez gave Ruth by Lake and Prairie a 4/5 rating which, in her words, means "This book accomplishes all the author seems to have intended. (I 'get' it.)"
Text of Donna Chavez Review:
In early June 1831 young Ruth Eliza Murray left her Ashtabula, Ohio home with mixed feelings of sadness, excited anticipation and a tinge of apprehension. she and her family -- Mother, Daidi, sixteen-year-old Ned, and younger siblings, Amos and Cordelia -- were embarking on an adventure that would change their lives forever. They trusted their leader, Ruth's uncles Joe Naper, and his brother, Jack, captain of the Great Lakes schooner, Telegraph, with their lives and possessions on a quet to realize their destiny; a destiny that lay along the banks of a faraway river called DuPage.In all more than sixty men, women and children from Ohio and New York made that tek toward the promise of inexpensive-yet-fertile land that would sustain families for decades -- even centuries -- tocome. Told through the eyes of 12-year-old Ruth the story of traversing three of the Great Lakes onboard that ship reveals the perils and hardships of a world without seasick pills or superhighways. Yet for all its outward differences from our 21st Century, inwardly people were much the same: seeking better lives for themselves and their families, uncertain how they might fit into the grand scheme of things and wondering whether home is tied to a place or to the people they love. Naperville author Gingold did a super job of researching the Murray/Naper journey and an even better job of painting a picture of their lives and times. Both children and adults ought to enjoy this one. Kudos.