Using the device of a diary, this novel tracks the life and emotional development of Sterling Shearin, a young man living in Warren County in the early years of the American republic. Sterling has been mentored by Nathaniel Macon and through Macon meets other public figures of the period and is exposed to political ideas that shaped the philosophies of the Founding Fathers. But Sterling doesn’t just live in a world of ideas. He is a young man, trying to build up a farm, a family, and his position in his community. Not all of his impulses and actions are noble–his relationship with his wife sours even as he savors the memory of his relationship with an enslaved woman and dallies with another man’s wife. He finds his way in part by weighing his behavior against what he sees around him. The Secrets of Sterling Shearin does what historical novels are meant to do–it makes clear that this was a different time. Readers can ponder what they would have done had they lived back then.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.