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Russell's Knob is not paradise. But already in 1849 this New Jersey highlands settlement is home to a diverse population of blacks, whites, and reds who have intermarried and lived in relative harmony for generations. It is a haven for Dossie Bird, who has escaped north along the Underground Railroad and now feels the embrace of the Smoot family. Duncan Smoot presides as accidental patriarch, protector of his enterprising sister, Hattie, and his two rambunctious nephews. As Dossie busies herself with cleaning, cooking, and tending the chickens at Duncan's homestead, she wonders: Could this man, her rescuer--so godlike in her eyes, so much older than she--expect her to become his helpmeet?. Tentatively, Dossie begins to put down roots--until a shocking act of violence propels her away from Russell's Knob and eventually into the mayhem of New York City's mean streets.With the same storytelling brio that distinguished the acclaimed novels River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm, Breena Clarke weaves a richly dramatic story of interracial harmony in the Civil War era--and of one woman's triumph in the crucible of history.
Six-year-old Clara is drowned in the Potomac. Twelve-year-old Johnnie Mae, must come to terms with the powerful emotions sparked by her sister's death and discover the kind of woman she will become.
Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor's shop and laundry, is supposed to be a "promised land" for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people.The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses wage their daily battles-as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist escaped slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they strive to love each other enough-is what propels STAND THE STORM and makes the novel's tragic denouement so devastating.
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