Skip to main content

Brotherhood

Review

Brotherhood

Shadrach (known as Shad) and Jeremiah are brothers living in Richmond, VA after the end of the Civil War, during the Reconstruction period. They live with their widowed mother, whose husband (their father) was killed in battle fighting that war.

"The story is told from Shad’s 14-year-old point of view, shedding some light on what it might have been like to be a young, teenage male, living in Richmond during that time period."

Older brother Jeremiah is angry about the outcome of the war and about the present situation in Richmond. The Yankees have taken over the city, making life miserable for the inhabitants there. They create trouble just to have something to do. And the South is flooded with carpetbaggers, men who have come to the South trying to make a living off the misery of the Confederates.

Richmond has its own branch of the Klu Klux Klan. Jeremiah is a member, as is the boys’ grandfather and most men in Richmond. One night when Jeremiah sneaks out to go to a secret Klan meeting, Shad follows him and winds up joining the Klan, even though he’s not really ready or prepared to do so.

Shad has a desire to learn to read. He can read only a few words and that irritates him, particularly because Jeremiah is a fluent reader who loves to remind his younger brother of his superior skills. When the chance comes along for Shad to learn to read, by one of the dreaded carpetbaggers, Shad takes advantage of the opportunity. What follows is an unfortunate series of events that leads to a man’s death and Jeremiah’s imprisonment. Before Jeremiah is arrested for murder, Shad gets caught up in a situation that is beyond his control. Can anything good come of this?

The story is told from Shad’s 14-year-old point of view, shedding some light on what it might have been like to be a young, teenage male, living in Richmond during that time period. Since this is historical fiction, the storyline includes some historical facts and background into that time period.

This is a debut novel by author A. B. Westrick, a former teacher. Judging by the writing, and the reactions to this book, I would say it won’t be her last. At least, let’s hope it isn’t as she does a masterful job of storytelling.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on August 26, 2013

Brotherhood
by Anne Westrick

  • Publication Date: September 12, 2013
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Military, Young Adult 10+
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 0670014397
  • ISBN-13: 9780670014392