This was a book that I found I could not put down… This book is rich in culture, emotion, energy, struggle, challenges and … life.  One cannot truly know the life or plight of another until they take the time to learn. Well written with strong character development, this book is moving and passionate. WorldsAPlenty highly recommends this book and awards a five-star review. Russell’s talent for passionate story telling is unrivaled.”  See more…Click Here                                                 

                                                               --      Worlds A Plenty

“Across the Mekong River by Elaine Russell is a coming-of-age tale, which crosses the Mekong River as well as an ocean, a continent, and cultures. While the opening scene takes place in an American courtroom, the pages following take the reader through a turbulent period of world history and reveal glimpses of struggles most of us cannot imagine.

As U.S. citizens, we are apt to see immigrants moving into a world of wonder and opportunity. The other side of the equation might be that along with the prospect for freedom and safety also come assimilation and loss of personal history and culture. The author lays this out clearly without burdening the story with endless gruesome details. The reader is given ample chance to paint mental pictures of the hardships endured by the Hmongs entering the United States in the 1970s. 

As Laura/Nou seeks emancipation from her parents to pursue education and avoid a forced teenage marriage, the reader is pulled into the story with empathy for all the leading characters. The ending ties the package together neatly with a final circle that draws the family back together.

Elaine Russell’s short biography in this book describes her as author of fiction for adults and children. This coming-of-age novel lives up to that potential in a volume that easily bridges young adult/adult fiction. It is a worthwhile read for all.”

        Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

“Across the River by Elaine Russell, is powerful reading. It is the harrowing tale of a family’s escape from the horrors of the Vietnam war... It is not a sad read – tragic, yes, but enthralling. Nou takes you along on her frantic journey to escape the country of her birth, and into the world of refugees and eventual freedom to a new country.” Read more

                                                                         --Readers’ Favorite

“Elaine Russell’s moving and well-crafted novel, Across the Mekong River, fills in the details as my imagination never could…The story is very effectively told from the alternating, first-person points of view of Pao, Yer, and Nou/Laura. The POV shifts are effortless and never distract the reader. The editorial presentation is nearly flawless…Ms. Russell has a gift for simple yet beautiful descriptive passages…Speaking of written beauty, I found the conclusion of Across the Mekong River as surprising as it was delightful. In a wise, final touch, Ms. Russell leaves one big question unanswered. The effect of those last sentences takes your breath away.” Read More...

                                                                         --Awesome Indies

“Ravaged by the Vietnam War, a culturally ingrained family from Laos leaves everything behind to pursue a dangerous journey across the Mekong River leading them from Thailand to the United States in Russell’s novel. Violence interrupts the lush Laotian landscape as the family makes the harrowing, death-defying struggle to elude patrolling soldiers and cross the Mekong River into Thailand. As each character’s internal conflicts unfold, his or her unique voice sheds light on the different aspects of Hmong culture. The plots expansiveness is seamless…Russell aptly integrates the culture conflict. The family’s richly drawn tension culminates in a grueling court case that affects all involved. A multifaceted tale of complex characters finding new lives in their new world.” Read More...

                                                                         --Kirkus Reviews

“From the opening of the Prologue of her new book, “Across the Mekong River,” author Elaine Russell pulls you into a tale at once fascinating and engaging…Russell strives to produce a story that goes beyond one family or one culture’s experience and explore more about the human condition. It is a very worthwhile and entertaining read.” Read More...

                                                                         --Amy Doeun, Hmong Times Online

“Across the Mekong River is a beautifully complex story of the immigrant experience, one that surprised me with its wonderfully flawed characters and intense emotion… Elaine Russell’s story of a family fleeing the communist government in Laos is one of the best books I’ve read this year.” Read More...

                                                                         --Diary of an Eccentric Book Blog (Anna Horner)

“The themes of family, struggle, resiliency, love, and more all play important roles in this book, but the reader isn’t hit over the head with them. Instead I got a family that I really cared about. I felt the pain of the family as they fought to get jobs, learn English, blend in at school, and much more. Why is Nou in court? That is the secret of the book and is done really well.” Read More...

                                                                         --Helen’s Book Blog

“Across the Mekong River is a striking narrative that follows a Hmong family escaping from their home in war torn Laos, to refuse camps in Thailand, and then to the United States as sponsored refugees…The book is valuable for its historical detail of the Hmong population, their war experiences and their long journey to settle in other countries after the Pathet Laos Communists takeover of Laos in the 1970s.” Read More...

                                                                         --Book Dilettante Book Blog

“Elaine Russell has a gift for bringing out the nuances of the Laotian culture, particularly that of the Hmong people, in the multiple family points of view she uses. In addition to the cultural norms, she easily weaves in the ravages of war and its effect not only on the fighting soldiers, but the families they leave behind. Russell has created a tale that leaves a deep impression on the emotions of the reader and raises questions about what it means to be American as an immigrant.” Read More...

                                                                         --Savvy Verse & Wit Book Blog

“This book did an excellent job touching on the emotional journey of the various members of the family with the old guard trying to stay as true as possible to their roots and Lisa/Nou Lee trying to fit in at her school…This book will not disappoint anyone who wants to give it a shot and I highly recommend it.”

                                                                         --Indi Book Blog

This story is powerful, the turmoil of the characters shining through the simplistic and direct prose. Through Russell’s expert depiction, we gain deep insight into the psyche of a family struggling to move forward while still holding onto a past that feels more real than the present.” Read more: ..

                                                                         --  Under the Heather Book Blog