Slush Pile

A miraculous survival. An extraordinary faith.

Autumn 1755. Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America’s new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. Until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French-Indian War, and the devastating raid known as the Penn’s Creek Massacre.

The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by a band of Allegheny warriors. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again.  -Publisher Description

“This is a well-written adventure told from the point of view of an intelligent, observant, and mature girl on the brink of adolescence.” 
Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Review:
Author: Craven, Tracy Leininger
Review Issue Date: December 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: December 1, 2012

During the French and Indian War, Native Americans capture two sisters, 12-year-old Barbara and 9-year-old Regina, from their frontier Pennsylvania farm.

The sisters are separated within days of being taken captive. The third-person narration follows Barbara: her long overland journey, then her life as a captive and eventually, an almost fully accepted member of the Allegheny tribe. Having never given up hope, after three years, Barbara and three other teens flee, embarking on a perilous 200-mile-long escape across the Ohio River and back to the safety of Fort Pitt. From the outset, this tale reads almost as a parable, the introduction intoning, "a handful of families came to dwell there. They lived happily in harmony both with God and man—even with the Indians." Because of its relative brevity and the sometimes distancing didacticism of the narrative, the full impact of Barbara's trials is often blunted. Although Native Americans are sometimes sympathetically depicted, they never become much more than pidgin-speaking cardboard characters. A final moral/religious lesson in the form of Barbara’s later reaction to a good-hearted potential suitor seems superfluous. I Am Regina (1991) tells the same story, more sympathetically.A potentially fascinating story of the survival of a powerful, sustaining human spirit is too often bogged down by an intrusively preachy narrative voice that never trusts readers to draw their own appropriate conclusions. (Historical fiction. 11-16)​

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Barbara and Regina Leininger were from a family of German immigrants who were living in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania in 1755, and they were captured by Indians during the French and Indian War. This novel, based on their experiences, focuses on the faith that sustained them during their captivity. Given to different tribes, the sisters are separated and do not see each other again for close to 10 years. Although Barbara is treated well by Galasko, the Indian brave who wants to marry her, life is hard. She never loses her determination to escape, and after several years, she and three other captives manage to flee successfully. What could have been an interesting story of survival is diminished by the book's simplistic tone and lack of nuance. The settlers are beautiful and compassionate, while many Indians are unattractive, cruel, and troubled because they don't believe in one god. The depiction of them is beyond biased and there is no attempt to provide any historical background or explanation for their actions. It will be difficult to find an audience for this book.

-Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. 

Code of Silence Series

Alone Yet Not Alone, by Tracy Leininger Craven
Zondervan, $6.99
​Historical fiction based on true story, Penn Creek Massacre, middle-grade with YA and adult-interest crossover

Ages 9 and up, 978-1929241361

Slush Pile: A publishing industry term referring to the "pile" of manuscript submissions an editor has on his or her desk (and inbox) at any given time, typically unsolicited and unagented