“Education is the tool that makes us all equal, whether we are Black, white, Indian, woman, or man,” Manon said.
Much like Louisiana’s famous gumbo, Love in A Time of Hate, is a spicy dish of varied ingredients. The main theme is the struggle for social equality between the whites, Blacks, and Creoles, but flavor is added with the subplots of politics, voodoo, murder, love, and hate.
And then came the Rebel scream, a sound Emmett had not heard since near the end of the Great War.
New Orleans becomes a literal battleground as carpetbaggers, scalawags, Creoles, and recently freed slaves fight against the entrenched southern plantation notion of white superiority.
Mr. Cost definitely did his research for this novel (in fact comes close to repeating himself too much), but it’s never a dry story. There’s plenty of action between all the main characters, with references to the racial and economic bases for it. The fictional characters are realistic and touch the heart. I would say my only complaint was the use of italics for any word of dialogue that wasn’t English. Just tell me a woman has adopted a Southern drawl, and I’ll hear it whenever she says “I am”. Ditto, Scottish brogue and common French terms. The constant use of italics to emphasize such words was like tripping on an uneven sidewalk and having to catch myself. But it wasn’t on every page, and he never stooped to italicizing Black American patois, thank heaven, a condescending tactic I’ve seen in other books. An enjoyable way to learn about a region and portion of history that I was unfamiliar with.
Matt Cost has reached a peak in his writing career that few others have ever accomplished. Have followed him over the years of fictional history and mystery books he has written and enjoyed the outstanding writing skills he has shown. Recently completed his Mainely Money book, 3rd book in the series, and greatly enjoyed the entire series. Will be getting the 4th book in the series as soon as it is released. “Love in a time of Hate” is a transition from Matt Cost’s mystery series, to fictional history, and is one of the best books I have read in many years. The perspective of life in New Orleans during the 1860-1870’s period gives the insight necessary to better understand our current social issues, while at the same time allowing the reader to engage in a fascinating and intriguing mystery story that will keep one guessing until the end of the book.
I’ve always loved New Orleans, and I was fascinated by this historical novel placed in the time period right after the Civil War when Black people had been freed but were far from equal. The fight against injustice is vividly portrayed and personalized. Oh, and did I mention that there’s voodoo and early jazz? Great characters, great story, great atmosphere. Highly recommended.