Stand the Storm
By Breena Clarke
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316007047, 336pp.)
Publication Date: July 2008
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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.
Breena Clarke grew up in Washington, DC, and was educated at Webster College and Howard University. Her one previous novel, RIVER, CROSS MY HEART, was a selection of Oprah's Book Club and became an international bestseller.
"[Clarke's] knowledge of the period and the novel's dense, deliberate narrative create a poignant story about the intricacies of human bondage and its dissolution, built around a family's unshakable faith in one another." (starred review)
"...illuminates and personalizes a dreadful part of our nation's past...a vivid view of slavery."
"Clarke's sensitivity and her lyrical, earthy narration bring a freshness to the somber subject matter."