"A genuine masterpiece ... full of grace and beauty and profound insights ... RIVER, CROSS MY HEART bears traces of Eudora Welty's charm and Toni Morrison's passion." -- The Baltimore Sun

RIVER, CROSS MY HEART was selected for the Oprah Book Club in October, 1999.

STAND THE STORM was named one of the 100 Best of 2008 by the Washington Post.

Click here to read my blog on the origins of the characters of ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE and the challenges of book promotion.

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Welcome
If I want you to know me I have to tell you that I'm a writer and a talker, a listener and a watcher and a reader. I am sprung from a tradition of storytellers, people who enjoy relating anecdotes. My family are poets, kitchen table griots, informal opinionators, relentless rememberers, gentle comedians telling funny stories and laughing in the same places each time. Like the people in my novels, they are people who remember what they see, pay attention to what they hear and have witnessed the big events of the age with keen intelligence and the moxie to record and remember what they have witnessed.

My novels are character driven and panoramic. I am engaged in wonder at the ways that material goods and work tools tell the history of people who are marginalized on the literary landscape. I'm a recollector and I like the way that word makes me think of remembrance and restitution. Please get comfortable with the website and read an excerpt from my debut novel, River, Cross My Heart. Enter the world of The Coats Family and 19th century Washington, D.C. with an excerpt from Stand The Storm. Follow my blog to learn more about my new novel, Angels Make Their Hope Here.



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With its slightly clipped period language, coolly measured tone and rich supply of telling detail, Breena Clarke's second novel delves into a compelling social panorama of black servitude in Washington, D.C., as the Civil War begins. Clarke's sensitivity and her lyrical, earthy narration bring a freshness to the somber subject matter.
-Kirkus
Breena Clarke returns with a bittersweet slavery-era saga, partially set—like her smash 1999 Oprah-pick, River, Cross My Heart—in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown. Clarke's knowledge of the period and the novel's dense, deliberate narrative create a poignant story about the intricacies of human bondage and its dissolution, built around a family's unshakable faith in one another. 
-Publishers Weekly
In this story of a slave family buying its freedom, Clarke illuminates and personalizes a dreadful part of  our nation's past.This is a vivid view of slavery. 
-Booklist
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