The third book in the Baby Grape series, Baby Grape's Southren Exposure, follows Toby, Jaynee and their forever growing group of tag-alongs as they head south to find Toby's mother and sisters. No journey is simple, however, as they encounter runaway slaves, stolen money, and abandoned children. Everywhere they turn, there are people to be helped, goods to be transported up and down the rivers, and someone coming at them with a gun. With all of the adventures going on, Toby still has to take care of his family, look out for his employees, and make sure everything runs smoothly on his steamboat. Toby has taken on a lot of responsibility, and his leadership abilities show as he and his friends prove once again that they have what it takes to survive.
Baby Grape's Southern Exposure had a much different feel to it then the first two books. The writing style is the same, with lots of dialogue, description and surprises, but the characters are, at times, hardly recognizable. In the beginning of the series, Toby was younger. He had hardly been anywhere or had any adventures up until that point, and was learning what survival meant. In this book, he is much more authoritative. On his boat, he is in charge and expects everyone to do exactly as he says. I felt that his transformation was realistic, but I found myself not liking this Toby as much as I had when he valued other's opinions and had a more even temper. I did like that, although there are many different adventures in many different settings as in the other books, they did not skip around quite as much and gave me time to really concentrate on the goals of the characters. Baby Grape's Southren Exposure had less romance and drama involved than usual, but it did have feel-good ending. It was my favorite Baby Grape book, and I would recommend it to those who read the first two books, like historical fiction, and are ready for a whole new bunch of adventures.
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Pennsylvania USA