Book Review: Secrets in a House Divided, by Clara Silverstein

By Annie Tobey | May 15th, 2019

A novel of Civil War Richmond

<a target=Secrets in a House Divided: A Novel of Civil War Richmond by Clara Silverstein

Two very different women find themselves in Richmond during the Civil War. Neither came entirely of her own free will, but only one has a modicum of power. In Secrets in a House Divided, author Clara Silverstein paints a picture of Amanda, whose husband leaves home to support the Confederate cause; and of Cassie, the slave who serves Amanda’s household.

For Richmonders, the narration adds interest as the women walk down familiar streets. The story brings to life the Civil War history that surrounds us here in the old capital of the Confederacy.

But for all readers, the struggles that each woman faces opens our hearts to their pain, heartaches and weaknesses. Their steps forward, sometimes faltering, build appreciation for human growth, strength and resilience. The characters that Silverstein created are believable and the protagonists likeable, in a tale that is compelling, touching and sobering.

Now living in Boston, historian and writer Silverstein grew up in Richmond and is also author of White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation, a memoir about growing up in Richmond during busing.

Published by Mercer University Press, 2018

Available in hardback (224 pages, $25) and e-book ($12)

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