Black Angels Particulars: Black Angels, a historical fiction book by Linda Beatrice Brown published in 2009 Main Characters: Luke- An 11-year-old slave who escapes hoping to head north and Join the Union Army. Daily- A 9-year-old slave who is freed by her owner while union troops are destroying the town. She runs into the woods with her grandmother and her friend but both her grandmother and friend die leaving her alone in the woods. Caldwell- A white seven-year-old who’s mother goes into labor as the Union troops are destroying the town.
While he’s searching for someone to help is mother the Union troops get closer and he has to run into the woods where he quickly gets lost. Betty Strong Foot- A half African half Indian woman who is a spy for both the Union and the Confederacy who finds Luke, Daily and Caldwell in the woods and let’s them stay with her. Synopsis: This story takes place in America during and after the Civil War. A young slave named Luke steals his master’s rifle and runs away during the night trying to meet up with some men that he heard about who would be heading north to Join the Union Army.
He had trouble finding them because it was ark and rainy so he went deeper into the woods so he wouldn’t be found and went to sleep. The next day Union troops came and destroyed the town where another young slave, Daily, lives. Her master tells her slaves that they are free to go and Daily escapes with her Granny and her friend Buttercup. They run into the woods where her Granny soon dies and Buttercup is murdered by Union soldiers while Daily hides. Caldwell, a young white boy, also lives in the town being destroyed by Union soldiers and as this is happening his mother goes into labor.
He runs off trying to find someone and as the Union troops get closer, he is forced to go hide in the woods. He walks for a little while trying to get to his mother’s friends house because he thinks she would have gone there. It gets dark very soon and he goes deeper in the woods to find a good spot to sleep. The next morning, Luke is heading north when he comes across Caldwell and Daily sleeping in the same area. When they wake up, Caldwell tries to run away but Luke threatens him into staying with him and Daily so they won’t get caught as runaway slaves.
They survived in the woods using Lake’s gun to hunt rabbits, collecting berries and fishing. However, after about a week Daily began to develop a cough that was made even worse after she fell into a river trying to cross it on a fallen tree. She develops a bad fever and can’t even move. After 11 days in the woods, a woman named Betty Strong Foot finds them and after noticing how sick Daily is, she brings all 3 kids back to her cabin. She feeds them and gives Daily medicine until she’s all better. However, the kids have a hard time rusting Betty; she is constantly leaving in the middle of the night.
One night when she leaves the kids decide to snoop around her cabin to try and figure out what she really does but she catches them snooping. Although she was angry, she tells them the truth; she is a spy for both the Union and the Confederacy. Not long after this, in the climax of the story, she decides to bring Caldwell with her to help her on a mission. Her mission doesn’t go as planned and she is captured by some white men who recognized her as a spy. Luckily, Caldwell is able to run away and get Luke and Daily who come back Witt Caldwell and help tree Betty When they all get back to newer Cabin, they realize a soldier had been there.
Betty finds him in the back dying of smallpox. Because this disease is so deadly and highly contagious, Betty knows that the kids have to leave very soon. But before they leave, she has Luke deliver a Spy message for her. He is captured by Union soldiers on his way back from his mission but manages to escape and get back to Daily and Caldwell. They say goodbye to Betty and continue to head north. They know that they might not be able to stay gather much longer so before they go any further they all make a pact to return to Betty’s cabin 10 years from now.
Eventually they come across a farm owned by a family of former slaves who are now free. They let Luke Caldwell and Daily stay with them but they are very poor and Luke feels bad eating what little food they have so he soon leaves and Joins the Union army. He doesn’t get to fight but instead he takes care of the animals and brings the soldiers water. Daily helps take care of the kids while their mother works and starts to teach them how to read. After the war ends, Daily gets to go to school and eventually becomes a teacher. Luke leaves the army and goes to work in the railroad yard.
Scalpel’s father had been fighting in the war on the Confederate side and he finally returned home to find that his wife is dead and his son has been missing for about 3 months. He eventually manages to track him down and Caldwell is forced to return to the south and live with his father. But after witnessing his father and other members of the Klux Klux Klan murder an innocent black man and his family, Caldwell escapes and heads back up North. Eventually, Daily Luke and Caldwell begin to realize that it has almost been 10 years since they left Betty’s cabin and they begin to make their way back there.
They are all overjoyed to see each other but a little sad when they get there and realize that Betty is gone. They stay in the cabin for a night and reflect on the days when they were Just scared little kids and she had been like a mother to them. They realize that she knew they would have come back eventually and she had left gifts for them. Gifts that symbolized who they really are and what they were capable of. Her gifts give them pop and they leave Betty’s cabin knowing that the civil war is still an ongoing battle and they are all going to fight their hardest to gain equality for everyone.
Critique: I thought that this was very good; there is a ton of suspense in the book, especially when it gets late at night and these young kids are all alone in the middle of the woods. It was a real page turner the whole way through and I really enjoyed reading it. I also felt like I could really connect with the characters and it was hard to see these innocent little kids be forced to grow up so fast and she did such a great Job at ascribing their emotions that I found myself feeling the same way they felt.
The only complaint I had about this book was that the author didn’t make it very clear about how much time was passing throughout the book. I had write notes and try to piece it all together to try and figure out exactly how long they had been in the woods for. The way the author wrote it made it seem like they were only in the woods for a few days when really it was about 3 months. Other than that, I loved this book and I would highly recommend it.