“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
flavour 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.
It’s not every day you read a historical fiction story and come across one of your relatives. Or my husband’s in this case. It’s only a swift mention of burlesque dancer Lydia Thompson and has no importance to the story, but I still got very excited.
Love in A Time of Hate is a chilling tale about the Black and Creole people’s fight for equality in mid-1800s Louisiana and particularly New Orleans. The story is peppered with politics, white supremacy and Voodoo. I loved the Voodoo part, especially the inclusion of characters, real or mythical, (such as Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, the Iwa, Mister Daniel Blanc and of course Baron Samedi (straight from Live and Let Die). It’s always fascinated me since that film came out.
Young Emmett Collins is the central character. Hailing from Maine in New England, he goes to fight in the Civil War when he is just fourteen years old. When the war ends his work includes the education of the Freedmen following the abolition of slavery in 1865.
But just because slavery was now illegal didn’t make things easy for people of colour. Plantation owners had relied on slaves to work for them, but now they were free, the white owners could see that the tide was turning. The slaves wanted the vote, a place in Parliament and a say in politics. The plantation owners wanted their power back.
As the white supremacy movement was coming out of the shadows, black men, women and children were being hanged for fictitious crimes. Poor whites were being pitted against poor blacks for what little resources there were to go around and the elite were rising back to the top like the scum many of them were. Inter-racial marriage was frowned upon, though for years white men had taken black women as lovers, but now it could lead to a terrible revenge being exacted.
As well as all this going on, young black prostitutes are being raped, beaten and murdered, their bodies dumped in the street. Emmett is determined to find the killer, but doesn’t always get the help he needs as there are some who thought they had it coming.
It’s at times a harrowing tale – the hangings of children were very upsetting – but there is also love, friendship and hope. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time to come.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.
About the Author
Over the years, Matthew Langdon Cost (aka Matt Cost) has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. He has also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable. During those years—since age eight, actually—his true passion has been writing. I Am Cuba: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution (Encircle Publications, March, 2020) was his first traditionally published novel. Mainely Power, the first of the Mainely Mysteries featuring private detective Goff Langdon, was published by Encircle in September of 2020, followed by book two, Mainely Fear
(December, 2020), and book three, Mainely Money (March, 2021). Also forthcoming from Encircle Publications are his Clay Wolfe / Port Essex Mystery series: Wolfe Trap, Mind Trap, and Mouse Trap; as well as his new historical fiction novel, Love in a Time of Hate.