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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
After the Civil War ended, New Orleans, like many Southern cities, experienced almost insurmountable challenges with its diverse population of wealthy plantation owners, newly freed Blacks, Creoles, and Native Americans. Some citizens fought to return to their previous power while others sought a new way of life. Freed Blacks continued to suffer intense racism and economic injustice. Emmett Collins, a former Union soldier from Maine who was now eighteen years old, was sent to this dangerous city. His appointment to the Freedman Bureau was to establish schools for the newly freed slaves. Escaping from a harrowing event, Emmett found himself in the home of the voodoo queen, Madame Marie Leveau. He met the lovely Manon, who also lived in the home. In the historical fiction work, Love in a Time of Hate: New Orleans During Reconstruction, written by Matthew Langdon Cost, this difficult time in American history is aptly portrayed.
The book illustrates this complicated era by describing the social, racial, and economic strife that existed after the war. At the same time, the author shows the strength of the human spirit as committed individuals fought against these injustices – and how love between individuals can survive while supporting the cause. Additionally, the topic of voodooism adds a unique New Orleans element to the plot. Although the author covers several diverse topics, including many real and fictional characters, his skillful writing makes this book easy to read. Author Matthew Langdon Cost has crafted a historical fiction gem in Love in a Time of Hate.