Freedom's Banner

Teresa Crane, Author
Teresa Crane, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-11793-1
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0692-3
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Slavery is the theme of this fine effort by the author of Strange Are the Ways--slavery actual, slavery to convention and slavery to prejudice. Free-spirited Mattie Henderson is becoming resigned to spinsterhood when she is courted, wed and whisked from Bath to the antebellum South by dashing Johnny Sherwood. Initially happy, though horrified by the institution of slavery that sustains the Sherwood family's plantation, Mattie soon is shattered by the revelation of Johnny's guilty secret, his enduring love for his childhood sweetheart. Another secret also comes to light: the paternity of the slave Joshua, who is Johnny's half-brother. Mattie eventually becomes the mainstay of the family as its graceful world is shattered by the Civil War and the deaths that claim the male Sherwoods. Joshua becomes her lover, but he too dies in battle. Mattie returns to England with her own secret--Harry, Joshua's child. When Harry is 18 she tells him of his ``tainted'' heritage. He goes to Egypt with the British army, where he meets a woman as unconventional as his own mother and must come to terms with his identity. Crane's sound characterization and apt use of historical detail bear comparison to the work of Jane Aiken Hodge. Her tale sweeps readers along with a nice blend of drama and social history. (Mar.)
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