“The boy’s proficiency with needlework was clear from the first, and Pearl was surprised. Would Ridley have hired him out so reasonably if he’d known how skilled the boy was? He’d had practice taking instructions and following steps to the letter and he was agile and accomplished at simple sewing. Pearl realized right away that this little Gabriel was a competent hand for tailoring.”
The story begins when little Gabriel, a slave boy, is hired out to a Jewish tailor in Georgetown. It is a handful of years just prior to the civil war, and the nation’s capital is on the border between north and south. In Stand the Storm, Breena Clarke weaves a well-researched tale of a slave who strives to better himself and earn freedom for him and his family.
This book was a pleasure to read on so many levels. The story was captivating from the first pages. There is a tremendous sense of time and place in this novel. Clarke manages to capture the essence and struggles of a black family in this American city. There is so much wonderful history presented here. Despite having read quite a bit on the issues of slavery and the civil war, there was so much I learned reading this book. That’s quite a coup! Also, despite the travails, I didn’t find it a depressing book. In fact, I found myself cheering for every small success and grabbed on to the same hope that Gabriel did.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2008