Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, the Gallows, and the Black General Gabriel (Hardcover)
An 1800 insurrection planned by a literate slave known as "Prosser’s Gabriel" inspires a historical novel following one extraordinary man’s life.
In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel’s blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel’s early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother’s devotion, a father’s passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master’s son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel’s love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.
About the Author
Gigi Amateau lives in Virginia, where she and her family have two horses: Albert, a cremello Appaloosa gelding who served half of his life as a school horse in certified therapeutic riding programs, and Mia, a Thoroughbred rescue mare who loves to jump. Gigi Amateau is the author of Claiming Georgia Tate and A Certain Strain of Peculiar, both novels for older teens. About Chancey of the Maury River, she says, The infinite bond between my daughter, Judith, and our horse Albert inspired this story, as did Rockbridge County, Virginia. Judith, Albert, and I love to ride there in the surrounding Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Amateau’s prose is appropriately passionate, but it’s tempered with disciplined restraint and moments of startling delicacy. Although the subject of this title will call to historical fiction readers who appreciate such thoughtful works as M. T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing (BCCB 11/06), teens who approach history with the poetic insight of Marilyn Nelson will also find Amateau’s chronicle rewarding.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
The thrilling role of the unrecognized young hero will grab teen readers.