Robert Whitlow’s A House Divided is another winner from one of my favorite authors.
Corbin Gage’s drinking has damaged many things in his life. It destroyed his marriage and has left him distant from his grown up children. His one joy in life is spending time with his grandson, but his drinking has possibly put that in jeopardy.
Following the death of his ex-wife (who he never stopped loving), Corbin finds himself increasingly facing the reality of his drinking and its impact on his life — both personally and professionally. When a huge case, involving the large employer in his small Georgia community possibly contaminating the local water supply and making some kids very sick, Corbin is forced to up his game — and not just on the legal front.
As Corbin takes the first steps to sobriety, he finds that his decisions are having an impact on his family. His son finds his legal career and plans quickly taking a different path because of Corbin’s involvement with the case. And his daughter who lives in Atlanta finds herself struggling with issues related to how Corbin treated his family as she pursues her legal career and a new man in her life who wants to love her completely and share his life with her. But can she trust him or will she let him in?
Whitlow ably balances the stories of Corbin and his family. In his best novels, Whitlow is able to make his characters utterly human and very relatable. And while the journey each one takes isn’t a smooth one, it’s still one that leads to a point that feels completely authentic and earned. Whitlow writes novels with flawed characters who, despite coming to a deeper relationship with Christ, don’t become any less flawed. Even after Corbin becomes sober, he still faces the temptation to drink again, made even more abundant by the stresses in his life. We also see that Corbin’s family is happy to see their father taking these steps, but still not trusting if they will take this time.
Honestly, I could have spent a hundred or two more pages with Corbin and his family. I know that Whitlow generally doesn’t write series, instead allowing us to enjoy the journey with the characters over the course of one novel. But if he wants to spend more time with Corbin and his family, I won’t object.
Another great novel from one of the best writers out there today.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley.