A powerful and unflinching story of a family caught in the period of Reconstruction.
The year is 1867, the South has been defeated, and the American Civil War is over. But the conflict goes on. Yankees now patrol the streets of Richmond, Virginia, and its citizens, both black and white, are struggling to redefine their roles and relationships. By day, fourteen-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons with Rachel, a freed slave, at her school for African-American children. By night he follows his older brother Jeremiah to the meetings of a group whose stated mission is to protect Confederate widows like their mother. But as the true murderous intentions of the group, now known as the Ku Klux Klan, are revealed, Shad finds himself trapped between old loyalties and what he knows is right.
A.B. Westrick provides a glimpse into the enormous social and political upheaval of the time.
About the Author
A.B. Westrick is the daughter of Southerners who sought to leave the South behind. Raised in Pennsylvania, she later moved with her husband to Virginia and spent hours walking Richmond’s brick streets, wondering how her ancestors fared during and after the War Between the States. Brotherhood grew from these wonderings.
A.B. Westrick has been a teacher, paralegal, literacy volunteer, administrator, and coach for teams from Odyssey of the Mind to the Reading Olympics. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Divinity School, she received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of the Fine Arts in 2011. Brotherhood is her first novel.
A.B. Westrick and her family live in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Visit her at www.abwestrick.com.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for BROTHERHOOD by A.B. Westrick:
- YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults List (BFYA)
- 2014 Jane Addams Honor Book for Older Readers
- Jefferson Cup Award winner (VLA)
"Great historical fiction always feels like a gift… All the characters, dialogue, and action support each other deftly and with no filler." —VOYA Magazine, starred review
"Westrick makes an impressive debut. . . drawing a vivid picture of the embittered, violent environment of 1867 Richmond." —Publishers Weekly
"Debut author Westrick does an excellent job of re-creating post-Civil War Richmond. . . A welcome addition to classroom discussions." —School Library Journal
"This coming-of-age story will spark fruitful discussions about race, identity, social pressure and loyalty.” —Kirkus Reviews
"This compelling coming-of-age story uses great characterization and descriptive, illustrative writing to provide a glimpse into life in the post-Civil War South." —LMC
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Set in the aftermath of the Civil War in Richmond, VA, a young man named Shad must find where his loyalties lie. As he follows his older brother and becomes a member of the KKK, he learns a great deal about a "brotherhood" that works together for a common cause and are always there for each other. However, he also develops an alliance with the teacher who is setting up schools to help freed slaves gain an education. Shad wants more than anything to be able to read, so he joins this young group who will help him achieve his goal. Unfortunately, he has now found himself on both sides of a fence and must decide where his loyalties lie. He must also decide what is right and what is wrong, knowing that whatever he decides will have major consequences. This is great story about a difficult topic. It portrays one boy's experiences in growing to be a man and deciding what type of man he wishes to be.
This fascinating look at the aftermath of the Civil War in Richmond, VA, goes far to explain the long-lingering divides between the North and the South, and takes into account class as well as race. As a young, white, rural, farmboy who lost his daddy in the war, Shad finds himself both drawn to the Ku Klux Klan and repelled by his older brother's bullying tactics. He's equally drawn to and repelled by the hidden school that is teaching the recently-freed slaves to read and write. The story lies in Shad's attempts to figure out what he should do in this situation. The answers, while far from easy, make for a page-turning story.