You'd think I'd know a lot about this sad, turbulent time in our country's history. I studied Mississippi history at least twice before graduating from junior high school, and we usually made it through the ill-fated reconstruction. Then there was American History with Mrs. Brown and a college class in Southern History and one on the Civil War.
Now I don't miss an episode of HELL ON WHEELS.
Even as a seventh grader studying the Reconstruction, I loved the sound of Scalawag and Carpetbagger.
Oh, and I loved that we were allowed to say Damn Yankees in our classroom. Outloud. Even the teacher said it. In context, of course.
My grandmother recalled stories passed down from her own parents. How her grandfather was pardoned by President Johnson for fighting, so that he could vote and own land.
That's how fresh the history was to Southerners of her generation.
But I can't think of a lot of well-written, gripping stories written for Middle Grade, set during this time period.
Now there's a new one, just out, that I couldn't put down.
My latest fascinating read is BROTHERHOOD, a debut novel set in Richmond, Virginia right after the War Between The States.
(Okay, call it what you will. The War of Northern Aggression was a particular favorite in that Mississippi history class.)
But back to BROTHERHOOD, a novel I truly loved.
Westrick does an admirable job of portraying the period and the city. I felt like I was right there with the brothers. The character of Shadrack was so well written--conflicted and tortured by his older brother and by his allegiance to his family.
(ages 10 and up, though it's one adult readers will appreciate)
Be sure to read the Author's Note, especially the information about the Ku Klux Klan.
My ties to Virginia go way back. I recently spent time reading and writing there.
Can you imagine watching this sunset every evening?
Or being surrounded by old books? Lots and lots of old books. I can't keep my hands off.
Wouldn't you be inspired?
And I love the city of Richmond, walking the streets, hearing the sounds, visiting the museums.
Now I'll look at that city with fresh eyes.
BROTHERHOOD recreates it so vividly.
Isn't that what you want a good book to do?
Here's a link to the author's webpage:
For an excellent interview with A.B. Westrick, click HERE.
(Thank you to the publisher for an Advanced Reading Copy. )