White Doves at Morning: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 22 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Following the publication of his 11th Dave Robicheaux thriller, bestselling Burke (Bitterroot; Purple Cane Road) keeps the action in Louisiana, turning back the clock to the Civil War. Central to this brooding saga are hotheaded young idealist Willie Burke, son of a boardinghouse owner, and a beautiful slave girl named Flower Jamison. She is the illegitimate daughter of Ira Jamison, the callous owner of the infamous Angola Plantation. Flower's mother was murdered by a brutal overseer, Rufus Atkins, just after she gave birth, and Rufus has been a malevolent presence in Flower's life ever since. Secretly taught to read and write by Willie Burke, she now does laundry for the town brothel. Befriended by Abigail Dowling, a young Yankee abolitionist who is helping slaves escape the South, Flower clings to the hope that Jamison will acknowledge her as his daughter; meanwhile, Jamison has his eye on Abigail. The war gets into full swing, and Willie loses his best friend at Shiloh because of Jamison's cowardly dereliction. Wounded and left to die, Willie is saved by Abigail, who brings him home and nurses him back to health. Against her protests, he attempts to return to battle but is taken captive and-the war now over-escapes to confront racist vigilantes intent on shutting down Flower's school for ex-slaves. Burke has created a cast of strong, if somewhat stereotypical, characters; readers will warm to outspoken, irrepressible Willie as much as they deplore the evil Atkins. Although at times a bit forced, this moving morality play shows a different dimension of this gifted writer.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In a departure from his mystery novels featuring Dave Robicheaux and Billy Bob Holland, Burke describes New Iberia, LA, during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Young Willie Burke (an ancestor of the author) and two friends join the Confederate army despite their doubts about some aspects of the Cause, while in New Iberia Abigail Dowling, a nurse from Massachusetts, struggles to act on her abolitionist beliefs. Abigail befriends Flower, a young slave who has been secretly taught to read by Willie, and thus angers plantation owner Ira Jamison (Flower's owner and biological father) and his overseer. In lyrical and evocative prose, Burke depicts both the boredom and horror of army life and the injustices visited upon blacks and poor whites by the "haves" in Southern society. He starkly conveys the desperation felt by those who have no power or voice and vividly creates a sense of place and character. This novel parallels Paulette Jiles's successful Enemy Women in its literary quality and use of family stories for background, but diehard fans of Burke's mysteries may not be interested. Recommended for medium and large public libraries and where Civil War novels are popular.
--Ann Fleury, Tampa-Hillsborough Cty. P.L., FL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Burke seems to have lost the tight control of his best work; this book feels overwritten and underplotted, dealing with a small group of angst-ridden characters acting out dramas of oppression and revenge against the backdrop of the war and its aftermath. The pot boils, and boils, and boils some more, but as the pages turned I found myself thinking "Just get on with it and stop the DRAMA, please!"
There are quite a few good moments, but this isn't prime stuff. Maybe the historical genre just isn't Burke's forte.
Most recent customer reviews
I think the part of the book that makes the least sense is that Flower Jamison's father would ever acknowledge her as his daughter. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2003
Although at times the characters seem stilted on further reading
find entire scenario of interest.
Just because the usual characters aren't here, don't pass this one by. History, colorful characterizations and plenty of action, together with Burke's skillful language, make this... Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2003 by John Bowes
James Lee Burke's "White Doves at Morning" is richly written, peopled with well-drawn characters and beautifully atmospheric. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2003 by nobizinfla
Willie Burke, James Lee's ancestor, shares billing in WHITE DOVES AT MORNING with Abigail Dowling, an abolitionist from Massachusetts who had traveled south to minister to Yellow... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2002 by Dave Schwinghammer
This book is a good read. It does not tell both sides of the story of the Civil War. It does give you an insight of the terrible time when our country fought against one another.Published on Dec 27 2002