This is NOT a Dave Robicheaux novel, it is a "riveting evocation of the Civil War, drawn from the true family history" of James Lee Burke. This book dispels any possible doubt that he is a very fine writer, beyond the genre of "detective fiction." As the Washington Post says: "Violent, lyrical, and engrossing....The man has a touch of the poet in him."
James Burke's writing is vivid and takes you to a place you've never been and leaves you there long after the book is read..the civil war
comes alive from the viewpoint of a woman slave and takes us thru
the war and the reconstruction.
I enjoyed this book so much that I felt confident enough to recommend it to my husband. Such a great insight into a war that we only touch upon in our history classes. Truly, this is a book that will inspire me to do more civil war reading! Terrific!
"White Doves at the Morning" is a very colorful work of historical fiction about the Civil War. The characters are wonderful and I continuually wanted to know what would happen next. The main setting is New Iberia, Louisiana with action taking place in other war ravished regions as well. Characters include a plantation owner, slaves, the plantation owners black daughter, madams, soldiers, as well as good and bad men and women throughout. The story moves into what happened to the town and the towns people during and post war and realisticly depicts the slow recovery of the area. The author is highly discriptive of the area including vision and smell in great detail. This is a truely memorable novel.
I liked this book - it focuses more on the characters and their development than actual battles/strategies in the war. The story moved along fairly quickly (the book is less than 300 pages.) The main character is based on an actual Confederate soldier who was the author's ancestor. This was the first book I had picked up by this author, and I would try another one.
White Doves is set in New Iberia at the outbreak of the Civil War. New Iberia is in the Louisiana Bayou-the same locale as his Robicheaux series. The tart-tongued Willie Burke is the son of an Irish woman who runs a boarding house. Robert Perry is the son of rich plantation owners. Yet these two lads are fast friends and they find themselves pulled into the Civil War. Their roads take them down separate paths during the war. Perry (by virtue of his birth) is an officer and gets shipped up to Virginia. Willie starts out as a private and begins his enlistment at the Battle of Shiloh. I found the parts that involve the war to be the most engrossing in White Doves. Despite not really believing in the principles of the war, Willie distinguishes himself and eventually becomes an officer as well.
Burke also deals with many issues back home in New Iberia. The beautiful Abigail Dowling, is an abolitionist from Massachusetts. Both Perry and Willie are in love with her, although they have a hard time reconciling her politics to their actions (unknown to them, she is actually part of the Underground Railroad). Willie has taken a liking to an intelligent slave girl, Flower Jamison, and teaches her how to read and write. Flower is the daughter of a plantation owner, Ira Jamison, who is ruthless and refuses to recognize Flower as his daughter. There are more than enough villains in White Doves, and Burke describes many of them as "white trash." Some of them will get their just rewards, while others will form the beginnings of the Ku Klux Klan.
White Doves at Morning is a decent book, and Burke's characters are engaging and his writing is always first rate. His descriptions of Louisiana are a work of art.