Band of Angels

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Novel by R. P. Warren, published in 1955.

Amantha Starr tells the story of her life, beginning in the 1850s as the pampered daughter of a Kentucky plantation owner educated in Ohio until upon her father's death she learns that her mother was a slave. To defray her father's debts, as a 16-year-old girl she is sold to Hamish Bond, an old man in New Orleans, who first makes her his mistress, then frees her. During the Civil War, when Union troops occupy New Orleans, Amantha meets and is married to Captain Tobias Sears, a proper New Englander who commands black soldiers, the most heroic of whom is Lieutenant Oliver Cromwell Jones, once known as Rau-Ru on Hamish's plantation. After the war, while separated from Sears, Amantha takes up with Rau-Ru/Jones, who causes the hanging of Hamish. Reunited, Amantha and Tobias in their middle age during the 1880s drift to Missouri and Kansas, living uneasily as he pursues his career as an idealistic lawyer opposed to the Gilded Age standards. But finally both achieve security with some money but, more importantly, through an understanding of their own identities.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Robert Penn Warren (1905—1989) American poet, novelist, and critic