UNLIMITED Audiobooks and eBooks

Over 30,000 books & works on all major devices

Get ALL YOU CAN for FREE for 30 days!

The House Behind the Cedars

Charles W. Chesnutt

Book Overview: 

In this, Chesnutt's first novel, he tells the tragic story of love set against a backdrop of racism, miscegenation and “passing” during the period spanning the antebellum and reconstruction eras in American history. And through his use of the vernacular prevalent in the South of that time, Chesnutt lent a compassionate voice to a group that America did not want to hear. More broadly, however, Chesnutt illustrated, in this character play, the vast and perhaps insurmountable debt this country continues to pay for the sins of slavery.

How does All You Can Books work?

All You Can Books gives you UNLIMITED access to over 30,000 Audiobooks, eBooks, and Foreign Language courses. Download as many audiobooks, ebooks, language audio courses, and language e-workbooks as you want during the FREE trial and it's all yours to keep even if you cancel during the FREE trial. The service works on any major device including computers, smartphones, music players, e-readers, and tablets. You can try the service for FREE for 30 days then it's just $19.99 per month after that. So for the price everyone else charges for just 1 book, we offer you UNLIMITED audio books, e-books and language courses to download and enjoy as you please. No restrictions.

Book Excerpt: 
. . .The judges put their heads together for a moment. The bugle sounded again, and the herald announced in a loud voice that Sir George Tryon, having taken the greatest number of rings and split the largest number of balls, was proclaimed victor in the tournament and entitled to the flowery chaplet of victory.

Tryon, having bowed repeatedly in response to the liberal applause, advanced to the judges' stand and received the trophy from the hands of the chief judge, who exhorted him to wear the garland worthily, and to yield it only to a better man.

"It will be your privilege, Sir George," announced the judge, "as the chief reward of your valor, to select from the assembled beauty of Clarence the lady whom you wish to honor, to whom we will all do homage as the Queen of Love and Beauty."

Tryon took the wreath and bowed his thanks. Then placing the trophy on the point of his lance, he spoke earnestly for a moment to the herald, and rode . . . Read More

Community Reviews

The House Behind the Cedars is the story of a brother and sister, John and Rena, who share the misfortune of being one-eighth African American. Their mother is a "quadroon" who was kept by a wealthy white man, but when he died, his will was flawed, so she and the children got no money.

John's whit...more

I must say, this book turned out to be quite more of an adventure than I expected it to be! It started out one way completely, and then before you knew it, our main character had completely dropped out of the picture while everything went on without him. It's a very intriguing book, and it's writ...more

This may be my all time favorite book. It had an unusual storyline, and did not end at all like I expected it to. If you want to be moved...pick this one up.

Just happened to be helping my husband locate a book on an adjacent library shelf, picked it up, and loved every page. Took me awhile to finish as I'm what my husband labels a "multiple book reader" (usually 4 or more at a time).

However, I'm so glad I found this amazing piece of literature that...more

4.5 stars. Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars has a fairy tale title and contains elements of the classic fairy tale, including a chivalrous "prince," the breaking of an enchantment (the possibility of Rena living as a white lady), moments of inner recognition or revelation, and even a flight...more

Moments in this novel are amazing, especially read from the lens of the 2016 hashtag battle between BlackLivesMatter and AllLivesMatter: "The Southern mind, in discussing abstract questions relative to humanity, makes always, consciously or unconsciously, the mental reservation that the conclusio...more

The only reason why this work received four stars is because of what I consider a poor ending. This is Chesnutt's first novel, so perhaps the ending is to be forgiven for an author who expanded a short story into a novel. Besides the ending, this book is wonderful. Chesnutt's exquisite prose, com...more

"Time touches all things with destroying hand; and if he seem now and then to bestow the bloom of youth, the sap of spring, it is but a brief mockery, to be surely and swiftly followed by the wrinkles of old age, the dry leaves and bare branches of winter. And yet there are places where Time seem...more

A must read in your lifetime. Shines a different perspective on the lives of many. Highly recommended!

View More Reviews