Friday, January 1, 2010

Review: Black Angels

Summary: The compelling story of three young orphans who must survive on their own during the Civil War.

It’s near the end of the war, and rumors of emancipation are swirling. Eleven-year-old Luke decides to run away to freedom and join the Union Army. But he doesn’t find the Yankee troops he was hoping for. Instead, he finds nine-year-old Daylily, lost in the woods after suffering an unspeakable tragedy. Her master set her free, but freedom so far has her scared and alone.

Also lost in the woods is seven-year-old Caswell, the son of a plantation owner. He was only trying to find his Mamadear after the Yankees burned their house with all their fine things. He wanted to be brave. But alone in the woods with two slave children, he quickly loses all his courage, and comes to greatly depend upon his new friends. In the chaos and violence that follows, the three unrelated children discover a bond in each other stronger than family.

A touching, beautifully written narrative, Black Angels is a riveting, special read. -- Putnam

BLACK ANGELS by Linda Beatrice Brown is one of those books that just blew me away. I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading this middle grade novel that takes place during the Civil War, but I absolutely treasured this story. BLACK ANGELS really is one of those books that is written for younger readers, but I can honestly say that I think readers of any age will appreciate this story.

There are so many wonderful things I could say about this book, but I think the most telling thing about this novel is that I can't stop thinking about it. This book is guaranteed to touch your heart. As a mother, I think I was especially affected because the book involved three young children who were struggling to survive during the Civil War. Each child was left to their own devices for different (equally horrific) reasons, but they came together and watched out for each other. Time and time again, I just wanted to weep for what these poor children had seen and what they had to face. It was so discouraging to me that they lost their innocence at such a young age.

There is no doubt that this book is a heartwarming story, though. I loved how the author managed to show the strength and resilience of these children. They faced one hardship after another, and yet they kept on going -- I don't know of many adults who could persevere like they had. I absolutely adored how they valued each others' friendships, and their sense of loyalty was extremely commendable. The author also showed the importance of faith (and even prayer) in the characters' lives. During the time when I read this novel, there were many times that I found myself thinking about the characters and their actions.

I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Brown's writing style and her ability to tell this wonderful story. BLACK ANGELS is her first middle grade novel, but she absolutely nailed it as far as I'm concerned. This book not only was an extremely interesting adventure story that will appeal to children, but it was also a book that was filled with so many important lessons. I think BLACK ANGELS is one of those books that allows the lines of communication to open between parents and children. There are so many themes and concepts that can be addressed together after reading this novel including prejudice, slavery, faith, friendship, family, perseverance, and loyalty to name a few.

I absolutely can't wait to share BLACK ANGELS with my daughter. It is just the type of book that I loved as a girl and one that I think she should be reading. The story is very interesting , plus I think she can learn a great deal about the Civil War time period through the pages of this book. BLACK ANGELS would also make a fantastic book for teachers to use in the classroom -- the author includes a page with additional material for teachers on her website. This book has so many topics that lend themselves to further discussion; and as a result, it would be an excellent discussion book for book clubs.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this novel.


Liz said...

This is completely off topic -- I was just reading a NYT story about the re-issuing of The Baby-Sitters Club books, which my older kids read years ago, and you're quoted, with a link. So I clicked, and got here, obviously (been here before -- love book blogs!), and realized, it's a new year! I'm committed to actually writing down all the books I read this year, and only just now realized that means starting today.

Such a nice clean slate. It's the best thing about New Year's...

Happy 2010 eveyyone.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Just reading your review had me nearly in tears. This seems like the perfect book to open our children's eyes to the lives some children of the world had to experience. Thanks for the well-written review!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds wonderful! I assume the title is a play on Killer Angels about the Civil War. Ack, another book on the wish list!

bermudaonion said...

This book was an OKRA pick and everyone at SIBA was talking about it. I'm glad to see it lived up to the hype.

Stephanie said...

I loved this book too -- I reviewed it in October. What a beautiful review!

Anna said...

This sounds fascinating. I'll have to tell The Girl about it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Anonymous said...

sounds powerful and I always like to hear how you share some of the books you've read w/ your daughter. I'm sure she's already an open-minded and well-rounded girl and she can take that out into the world with her interactions with others.

Serena said...

this sounds like a powerful book.