Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights books soon to be released, the ones we’re excited about but haven’t read yet. It’s hosted by Wishful Endings, and was formerly hosted by Breaking the Spine. Y’all can check out all of this week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday posts here.
Title: Flags on the Bayou
Author: James Lee Burke
Genre: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction
Publication Date: July 11, 2023
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
From American master James Lee Burke comes a novel set in Civil War-era Louisiana as the South transforms and a brilliant cast of characters – enslaved and free women, plantation gentry, and battle-weary Confederate and Union soldiers – are caught in the maelstrom
In the fall of 1863, the Union army is in control of the Mississippi river. Much of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is occupied. The Confederate army is in disarray, corrupt structures are falling apart, and enslaved men and women are beginning to glimpse freedom.
When Hannah Laveau, a formerly enslaved woman working on the Lufkin plantation, is accused of murder, she goes on the run with Florence Milton, an abolitionist schoolteacher, dodging the local constable and the slavecatchers that prowl the bayous. Wade Lufkin, haunted by what he observed—and did—as a surgeon on the battlefield, has returned to his uncle’s plantation to convalesce, where he becomes enraptured by Hannah. Flags on the Bayou is an engaging, action-packed narrative that includes a duel that ends in disaster, a brutal encounter with the local Union commander, repeated skirmishes with Confederate irregulars led by a diseased and probably deranged colonel, and a powerful story of love blossoming between an unlikely pair. As the story unfolds, it illuminates a past that reflects our present in sharp relief.
James Lee Burke is a master of his craft. This is not one of his Dave Robicheaux novels, nor is it part of the Holland family series. It’s a stand-alone work, and I am here for it. Burke writes the South incredibly well, and he generally makes you think about things beyond just the story on the pages. Cannot wait to read this one.