The year is 1867, and Richmond, Virginia, lies in ruins. By day fourteen-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons from Rachel, a freed slave who runs a school for black children. By night he follows his older brother to the meetings of a brotherhood, newly formed to support Confederate widows and grieving families like his. As the true murderous mission of the brotherhood—now known as the Ku Klux Klan—emerges, Shad is trapped between his pledge to them and what he knows is right.
In this unflinching view of the bitter animosity that stemmed from economic and social upheaval in the South during the period of Reconstruction, it’s clear that the Civil War has ended, but the conflict isn’t over.
A. B. Westrick grew up in Pennsylvania listening to her daddy's Alabama drawl and eating her mother's deep fried chicken and green beans cooked with bacon fat. One day at dinner, she announced, "My teacher says Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president ever." Her daddy set down his fork, straightened his elbows and very slowly said, "I wouldn't tell Granddaddy that if I were you." So began her fascination with the difference between oral and written history, between living through tumultuous times versus reading about them in a textbook. Years later when she and her husband moved to Virginia, she walked Richmond's brick streets, imagining the lives of children who had lived through the Civil War. Those imaginings became her creative thesis in the Vermont College of Fine Arts masters program in writing for children and young adults, and now the novel, Brotherhood. She never did tell Granddaddy what her teacher said about Abraham Lincoln. But to this day she believes he was a pretty darn good president. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.
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