19th Century Britain: the abolitionists have won. Slavery is outlawed. A valiant victory - but it’s all too easy to forget that in the rest of the world the inhuman practice is still a part of everyday life. A thought that the usually clear-thinking Mattie Henderson chooses to suppress when she finds herself unexpectedly married and on her way to South Carolina with her new husband.
Mattie realises too late that she is heading towards a country where a bitter civil war is about to break out - brother against brother, father against son. And the innocent, as always, will suffer with the guilty.
A generation later and the battle is still not won: the grim slave trade still flourishes. This time it is Mattie's estranged and headstrong son Harry who, against the backdrop of the glorious River Nile finds himself caught up in the murderous machinations of the slavers.
From the American civil war to the slave trade in Egypt, Freedom’s Banner is the perfect generational saga of love, family and redemption for fans of Josephine Cox, Lily Graham and Natasha Lester.
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.