Friday, June 5, 2009

Giveaway : Stand the Storm Breena Clarke

Giveaway: Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke

From the back cover:

"Even though former slaves 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 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 startling denouement so powerfully affecting."

The story you walk into when you open
Stand the Storm is simply wonderful. Breena Clarke's writing is like bits of poetry that produce amazing images when read out loud. From the first few sentences of the book " There are endless stitches to count. Handwork promotes calculation. Gabriel watched his mother pause in her knitting to rest her fingers for the briefest moment - a pause most observers wouldn't notice..." I wanted to see what Gabriel's mother was working on. I learned along the way that Sewing Annie, Gabriel's mother, was working on much more than her knitting - she was working on a life of freedom & dignity for herself and family.

Stand the Storm follows Sewing Annie from her humble beginnings on the plantation after her "mam was sold south" when she was assigned to learn to knit & sew on the Ridley Plantation under the watchful eye of "Knitting Annie" to her eventual life as a free woman. We are there when she falls in love, gives birth and fights for the rights every human being should be entitled to. We become part of her family and watch her son & daughter grow up and become strong individuals in their own right. We see how the desire for freedom is rarely spoken in words and how dangerous even the thought can be. We see how their experiences as slaves and even as 'freed slaves' shape their thoughts and actions. We go to war for them as well as with them when the Civil War begins and the Union & Confederacy fight.

This novel is unusual in that it portrays the Coatses not as slaves working out in the fields, but skilled craftsmen. And because of this the Coatses become integrated in the community and the story allows us to take a long look at slavery from the perspective of their own experiences as they try and live in harmony with those around them.

Book Clubs - There is a reading group guide available! And what a great discussion Stand the Storm would make... the interaction of the characters, slave life in the 19th century, the Underground railroad... just to name a few topics. And I know as a book club member, I am always looking for a book that will first of all hold my attention but also have enough substance for a lively talk - this book does both. Take a look at the reading guide: Here . Read an excerpt : Here. I loved the book! And I especially loved Sewing Annie!

NOW for the Giveaway! I have 3 copies of Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke for a giveaway to my readers courtesty of Valerie Russo of Hachette Book Group. Thank you Valerie for the opportunity to share this wonderful book!

To Enter this giveaway...
  • For one entry leave me a comment with an email address.
  • For another entry, follow my blog and leave a comment to let me know you just became a follower. (if you already are a follower you will get an extra entry!)
  • Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.(No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publishers. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on June 27th, 2009. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! (please check your email... winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!

Thanks to EVERYone who entered the giveaway! AND CONGRATS to the winner's! The Winner's are: Beth, Sara & Casi !

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