Cover image for Angels make their hope here : a novel
Title:
Angels make their hope here : a novel
ISBN:
9780316254007
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
275 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
"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."--
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Summary

Summary

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.



Author Notes

Breena Clarke grew up in Washington, DC, and was educated at Webster College and Howard University. She is the author of two widely praised novels, River, Cross My Heart, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and Stand the Storm. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In the particularly dangerous period before emancipation, a band of free blacks and mixed-race people had for generations carved for themselves a haven from racial animosity in the backwoods area of New Jersey they called Russell's Knob. Into this isolated and tucked-away territory, patriarch Duncan Smoots brought Dossie, a small young girl he'd rescued from slaveholders. Admired and envied, the people of Russell's Knob were fiercely independent of the town and others. Quiet by nature, Dossie makes a home for herself under the protection of Duncan, but she grows increasingly aware that she has upset the social structure of the Knob. When she blossoms into a beautiful young woman, she stirs emotions among the nephews and triggers a rift in the social fabric of the Knob. Set in the years leading up to the Civil War, in settings from the wilds of New Jersey to the streets of New York during the draft riots, Clarke's novel offers fascinating characters coping with heritage, identity, and complicated relationships.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal Review

After River, Cross My Heart, an Oprah's Book Club selection, set in her hometown of Washington, DC, in the 1920s, Clarke returns to the 1860s, giving voice in her lyrical third novel to a group of proud and free African Americans. The inhabitants of Russell's Knob-a tight-knit outpost community of mixed-race people in the New Jersey highlands known as amalgamators for their interracial mingling-are a law unto themselves, willing to go to any length to protect their own. Though individuals, and not the sweep of history, are the focus, this coming-of-age story of Dossie-spirited into Russell's Knob via the Underground Railroad-illuminates the terrible reach that slavery laws had into the lives of free black people in American towns and cities of the time. Verdict As Dossie grows from a scared girl to a strong woman, learning from the people around her and the trials she endures, readers will feel the pull of the fictional community of Russell's Knob and have hope that Dossie will thrive there. Clarke's fans will want this book, which is also a solid choice for reading groups.-Laurie Cavanaugh, Holmes P.L., Halifax, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.