Breena Clarke grew up in Washington, D.C., and was educated at Howard University. For ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE, she drew inspiration from the tales and legends of the settlers of the Ramapo Mountains, not far from her home in New Jersey. Breena Clarke is the author of RIVER, CROSS MY HEART—an Oprah’s Book Club selection and New York Times bestseller which has sold more than 700,000 copies—and STAND THE STORM.
ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE
ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE is bestselling author Breena Clarke’s new novel: a gripping story of survival and adventure impeccably framed in history. This panoramic chronicle of freedom and its price, and of true-to-life characters with “the moxie to make a way from no way,” will resonate with readers from the first word to the last.
Dossie Bird, a young girl born into bondage on an island off the coast of Maryland, journeys north to freedom via steamer, canal barge, and on foot. She is rescued by an enigmatic, captivating mountain man who takes her to the remote fictional town of Russell’s Knob in New Jersey, a community based on actual nineteenth-century Mid-Atlantic maroon societies, where blacks, whites, and reds intermarried and lived in relative harmony for generations.
Dossie’s new home is a defiant refuge for those who would be free and stay that way, where she finds momentous connection but must also endure harrowing violence. Soon, Dossie is forced to emancipate herself from her charismatic husband and leave the highlands for the streets of New York City, where she is swept up in the city’s dangerous excitement as the Civil War looms. Filled with ripe, resonating characters, this meticulously researched and deeply felt novel reminds the reader that all people, regardless of race or gender, are equally capable of truly heroic and truly inglorious acts to insure their survival.
With the same storytelling brio that distinguished the acclaimed novels RIVER, CROSS MY HEART and STAND THE STORM, Breena Clarke weaves the richly dramatic story of one woman’s triumph in the crucible of history.
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STAND THE STORM
“STAND THE STORM reads like a great 19th-century page-turner, like OLIVER TWIST or the masterful UNCLE TOM’S CABIN . . . Breena Clarke writes about ordinary people who happen to be exceptional.”
—Gail Buckley, The Washington Post
*A Washington Post Best Book of 2008*
STAND THE STORM follows the Coats family, freed slaves living in the “promised land” of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., that is effectively a frontier town: gritty and dangerous. The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses rise to their daily battles is what fuels this novel and makes its tragic denouement so devastating.
RIVER CROSS MY HEART, her first novel, established Breena Clarke as a major voice in African American letters, drawing repeated comparisons to the work of Eudora Welty and Toni Morrison.
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RIVER, CROSS MY HEART
“Calling all book clubs! Clarke scores again. . . an evocative, historically rich book. . .”
*A New York Times Bestseller*
*An Oprah’s Book Club Selection*
Five-year-old Clara Bynum is dead, drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of a seemingly haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. River, Cross My Heart, which marks the debut of a wonderfully gifted storyteller, weighs the effect of Clara’s absence on the people she has left behind: her parents, Alice and Willie Bynum, torn between the old world of their rural North Carolina home and the new world of the city, to which they have moved in search of a better life for themselves and their children; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara’s sister, ten-year-old Johnnie Mae, who must come to terms with the powerful and confused emotions stirred by her sister’s death as she struggles to decide what kind of woman she will become. This highly accomplished first novel resonates with ideas, impassioned lyricism, and poignant historical detail as it captures an essential part of the African-American experience in our century.