Love in a Time of Hate

By: Matt Cost

“A Voodoo ritual?” Emmett stared dumbly at her.

A young man from Maine fights for social equality in New Orleans after the Civil War while pursuing a murderer of prostitutes, becoming enmeshed in voodoo, and falling in love.


“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.

Based on 15 Reviews
May 22, 2022

A great historical fiction read

Emmets introduction to New Orleans was a riot started by white men who were intimidated just at the thought of black men educating their self. Although Emmett is white they still beat him up calling him a dorky lover and when he comes to again he is in the bedroom at Marie Laveau‘s home being tended to by young Maroon girl name Manning. The relationships he starts will be like nothing he knew in his home state of Maine. He will learn about voodoo, violence and love and not all in that order. It took me a couple times to start this book but once I did I really enjoyed it. I thought emmets feelings on the racial tensions in the city were authentic I think his decision to say was powerful and so is the message of this book. If you love historical fiction I think you will definitely enjoy this book. I was given this book by book sirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any grammar or punctuation errors as I am blind to dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own.

Eugenia Parrish
February 11, 2022

Deeply researched

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.

November 25, 2021

An historical reminder

I picked up Matthew Cost’s Love in a Time of Hate because I researched ninetheenth-century New Orleans when I was teaching Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. I knew about the mixing of races and ethnicities that produced Creoles, about Quadroon Balls, about the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, about the first African-American governor of Louisiana, Pinckney Pinchback. But there is also much of New Orleans history in this novel that I did not know about––the formalized system of plaçage where a white man could be married and have a “left-hand” marriage to a woman of color, the massacre that happened in 1866 when people had convened to support the Black vote, or of the Colvax massacre in 1872. Cost has done his homework and Love in a Time of Hate is especially relevant today as history too often seems to be repeating itself. My one quibble with this book is that I wish it had a glossary so I could know what is based in fact and what is purely imagined. For those who might want to research further, Love in a Time of Hate is a good starting point.

joan m ross
October 11, 2021

A detailed look into life in Nee Orleans during the reconstruction period

I recently read Love in a Time of Hate by Matthew Langdon Cost. I found this book to be an eye opening portrayal of life in New Orleans during the reconstruction period. While being a work of fiction the story remained true to the atmosphere exisisting at that time. I was profoundly disturbed to think that such atrocities could have happened even when I already knew these things had occurred. There is a love story entwined in the telling that could reflect on the attitudes of some even to this day! This book left me wondering if we have really moved very far from that time in our interactions with others. I received an advance review copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Bern H.
October 9, 2021

Outstanding historical fiction which brings current society issues into perspective

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.

Sandy M.
October 1, 2021

Fascinating history and story

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.

S. Lee Manning
October 1, 2021

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.

September 16, 2021

Something for Everyone

Love in a Time of Hate took me by surprise. I was expecting to learn a few historical facts while reading a mystery book. Oh, there were a few facts I hadn’t run across. However, I got a new sense of the dynamics of the southern United States during the carpetbagger years. Matthew Langdon Cost has the ability to explore a variety of perspectives around an issue. I had knowledge about that time period, but this novel put flesh and bones to it, helping me to understand far more. There’s romance, violence, politics, loyalty, Voodoo magic, morality, and crisis in this book. I don’t want to say more and give you any spoilers. It seems to me there is something for every reader in this book. It may even give you insight into some of present day events. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

September 11, 2021

A great trip into the past that mystery and historical fiction lovers alike will enjoy

It’s easy to read about the past in a history book and be a bit removed from the reality of what life was probably like. In this book, Cost let you step back through time and get a peek at the past. The imagery is powerful, the characters well-developed, and the pacing on point. You quickly get wrapped up in all that is going on, and you won’t want to put it down. A great trip into the past that mystery and historical fiction lovers alike will enjoy.

Bonnye Reed Fry
August 30, 2021

History of the South

I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from BookSirens, Matthew Langdon Cost, and Encircle Publications on August 16, 2021. I have read Love in a Time of Hate of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to add Mr. Cost to my favorite author’s list. He writes a tight tale with intricate background and brings to us a visit into the past that is clear and heavily detailed. I especially appreciate the message from the author describing New Orleans as it appeared post-war. This period of time is not usually covered. The trials and depredations suffered by Southerners after the war was in some cases more violent than those of the war years. And for New Orleans, the war might never end. Interspersed in this novel there are a few chapters seen from the viewpoint of Mannie Lescaut. But we see most of the action through the eyes of Emmett Collins, only 18-year-old in the summer of 1866, a Maine orphan who spent his early teen years fighting under General Chamberlain for the Union in the Civil War. Post-war Emmett worked for almost a year as a U.S. government agent of the Freedmen Bureau, a department established at the war’s end to help newly freed Blacks find a path through the mess of slavery and war to a life of a self-supporting community of American citizens. Of course, when Washington pardoned the confederate officers and reinstated their ownership of the plantations across the South, there was little he would be able to do. The promised 40 acres and a mule could not be offered to those homeless, newly freed men and women. Emmett is sure that his presence in New Orleans will become redundant. He does have options that would allow him to stay in Louisiana – he is in good standings with the police and the sheriff’s office, or perhaps another sort of government job might be formed that would actually offer former slaves an existence free of pain and hunger. Our timeline encapsulates the period between the summer of 1866 and the fall of 1874 in the city of New Orleans. Emmett becomes acquainted with Madame Marie Laveau, the notorious Voodoo Queen, and her goddaughter Manon ‘Manny’ Lescaut. He makes their acquaintance following a riot at the Mechanic’s Institute where he had his office. He was injured severely, both shot and stabbed, and stumbled into hiding in the front garden of the Laveau home while being pursued by rioters. Many many blacks were murdered within his sight that day. And some of them were butchered by policemen. Emmett spent three days unconscious in Madame’s home as he was nursed back to awareness, and was beholden to both Madame and Manny for their care. He was as well apprehensive as he had heard many rumors about the Voodoo Queen and her ways. He would be walking a fine line with his regular citizens as some of them had fears and superstitions about the Queen and some chose to worship her. Perhaps with her help, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 can be enforced, and the Louisiana Statute of 1870. And please, true justice can finally be found for the hundred-plus victims of the Black DOT Killer.

August 25, 2021

Chillingly Prescient

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Chillingly prescient, insightfully nuanced and disturbingly evocative, this historical epic, based in New Orleans, follows the turbulence that rocked the state of Louisiana in the years following the Confederate loss of the Civil War. The second in a historical series from this author featuring Emmett Collins, I had not read the preceding book, which covered the Civil War, and had no difficulties following this continuing story line. In the current book, our main protagonist, Emmett Collins, an 18 year old from rural Maine has landed in New Orleans as a special agent to the Freedman Bureau. His role is to help create educational, financial and supportive structures to assist in the integration of newly-freed Black slaves into society as “equal” participants. And there-in lies Emmett’s (and society’s dilemma) – after 200 years of slavery, what will it take for white men to accept Blacks as their social and intellectual equals? And, equally disturbingly, what about women, with roles vacillating between Southern ladies under male rule/protection or the completely inconsequential service-providing “whores”? As it turns out, it very well may end up taking more than humanity has to offer. It is perhaps unsurprising to see the lengths hatred, violence, racism and misogyny can take a society but to watch it play out in this deeply evocative read is horrifying and upsetting. As militia groups, – including the truly evil “ Knights of the White Camellia” followed by the “White League” – proliferate, a serial rapist and murderer of Black prostitutes, known as the “Black Dot” also makes his presence known. It is truly appalling, and as Emmett and his smallish band of principled supporters learn, with great difficulty, the battle for real-life equality is deathly fierce and at times feels futile. “You get a pack of humans together seeing weakness and it might as well be feeding time in a gator pond.” Against the backdrop of all this horror, Emmett meets and discovers his one true love, and we cheer as we breathe in the glimmer of hope silently taking shape between the pages. “For a brief period, they were able to forget the hatred of man and dwell in the delicacy of love, before tumbling into mixed dreams of love and hate”. – Will Emmett and his love escape with their lives and their love intact? – Is there a broader hope for love and compassion to save a sick and broken society? – If “time is not linear but floats through the present, past, and future”, is an up-close and terrifying encounter with our history enough to prevent its reenactment in present-day? There has never been a more relevant time to consider these very questions. A great big thank you to author for an ARC of this unsettling, thought-provoking and timely book. All thoughts presented are my own.

Sandy S.
August 25, 2021

3.75stars–thought-provoking, strong

3.75 stars– LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE by Matthew Langdon Cost is story of historical fiction focusing on the fight for social equality in the aftermath of the American Civil War. WARNING: Due to the nature of the story line premise, there may be triggers for more sensitive readers. NOTE: LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE features characters first introduced in the author’s 2015 release JOSHUA CHAMBERLAIN AND THE CIVIL WAR: AT EVERY HAZARD. Told from third person perspective, covering the time period between 1866 to 1874, LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE follows former Union soldier Emmett Collins as he embarks on a career in the Confederate held state of Louisiana, to aid in Black suffrage, and the establishment of schools for recently freed slaves. In the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the end of the US Civil War, the African American population continued to face racism, discrimination and monumental hardships throughout the American south, but no where more so than in the city of New Orleans-enter Emmett Collins, whose battle to help the impoverished former slaves resulted in threats to his life, and the people he loved. As Emmett worked tirelessly to establish himself, the white politicians, the wealthy, and the Knights of the White Camellia worked behind the scenes to take down the former slaves, and our hero, one battle at a time. LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE is a story of historical fiction, based loosely in fact, with the inclusion of several important politicians of the day. 1870s Louisiana is awash in Voo-doo, prostitution, murder, serial rapes and killings; political power and white supremacy, and yet, somewhat mirrors life in the 21st century. A strong, thought-provoking and tragic reminder of what was, and what should never again, be.

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