Charles W. Chesnutt's two volumes of stories had roused expectations which it would not have been strange if his first novel had failed to satisfy. But "The House Behind the Cedars" shows talents for construction and character development that are not always among the gifts of the successful writer of short stories. Considered merely as fiction, the book is one of absorbing interest, while as a study of social conditions in the borderland between the white and black races, it shows the same intimate knowledge of his subject which has made Mr. Chesnutt's work so noticeable from the first. The characters of the brother and sister on whose fate the plot pivots are differentiated with a nicety which relieves the author at once from the suspicion of presenting types rather than individuals, and the minor figures are drawn with remarkable distinctness. The book combines to an unusual degree qualities which should commend it to the serious readers with those which ensure a wider popularity. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Rev. of The House Behind the Cedars. In: "Books and Authors," The Living Age 227 (Dec. 1, 1900): 599.