Born in Richmond, VA; mother's name Miriam; married; children: Miriam. Education: Graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Hobbies and other interests: Pets.
Home—Philadelphia, PA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 345 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
Writer. Formerly worked as a museum guide; former realtor and an attorney.
Miriam Brenaman is one in a long line of Miriam's stretching back to the American Revolution; her interest in family history has also extended into the history of the region wherein they lived. Brenaman's novel Evvy's Civil War takes place in Virginia, where the writer was born and raised. It is set in the mid-1800s against the backdrop of the U.S. Civil War, when Virginia was part of the Confederacy.
In the novel, fourteen-year-old Evvy finds herself in charge of the family after her well-to-do Quaker father joins the Confederate army and her mother abandons her responsibilities as a teacher to withdraw into despair following the death of one of Evvy's five sisters. As she attempts to hold together the plantation and keep the school open, Evvy quickly learns that the reality of womanhood means more than corsets and crinolines; as a woman she is deprived of education and many other rights afforded white men. Outside the family, the political turmoil roils around her, and the issue of slavery tears apart the fabric of family and community.
Noting Brenaman's extensive research, Carolyn Phelan wrote inBooklist that Evvy's Civil War features "strong characterizations, an involving story, and timeless reflections on a woman's need to find her place in life." Claire Rosser noted in Kliatt that "every young adult who likes solid historical fiction will enjoy this novel and learn a great deal about the era as they read." A Kirkus Reviews critic commented that in the novel, which draws on family history and in-depth research, "Brenaman … illustrates the confined life of women [who], bound by law and cultural norms to her father and husband," must learn to use "her charms and, if she's lucky, like Evvy, her cunning."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review ofEvvy's Civil War, p. 1398.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of Evvy's Civil War, p. 251.
Kliatt, March, 2002, Claire Rosser, review of Evvy's Civil War, p. 6.
School Library Journal, February, 2002, Starr E. Smith, review of Evvy's Civil War, p. 129.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2002, review ofEvvy's Civil War, p. 432.
Miriam Brenaman Home Page,http://www.miriambrenaman.com (June 6, 2006).