John Jakes - Love and War

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

A Review of the novel Love and War by John Jakes

Jun 4, 2002 (Updated Nov 2, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:good historical perspective, good character depth, story feels believable

Cons:"villains" seem very one-dimensional

The Bottom Line: A good novel which shows the misery on all sides during the Civil War and does not romanticize it.


This novel is the second in Jakes' Civil War trilogy. Love and War picks up the lives of the Main and Hazard families right where North and South left off.

The Mains are rice planters in South Carolina. The Hazards are steel manufacturers in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The Civil War is just beginning. Brett Main has just married Billy Hazard.

The families are linked not just by their marriage, but by the strong friendship forged between Orry Main and George Hazard while attending West Point. This bond transcends even the worst moments of the War as the families reach out and help one another on numerous occasions.

In the Afterword, Jakes compares his writing of this novel to Gone With the Wind. He admits to loving the story, but laments the fact that the slaves are depicted as content to be slaves, and also with comic relief - social values which really don't hold up any longer. Even the war is depicted without too much blood and guts, mostly referred to on cue cards. The only true impact of suffering is the depot scene showing a seemingly endless sea of wounded men.

This novel shows that war is pure hell. Particularly notable is the change in Charles Main through the book as what he witnesses and experiences changes him. The evolution is not swift or abrupt, but very gradual. It make it totally believable. The battlefields are described in great detail giving the reader the feeling that they are experiencing it right along with the characters. Everything in Jakes' writing rings so true that I felt as if I were reading a biography of these two families.

Instead of focusing on the notable parts of the War, such as the battle at Gettysburg, Jakes takes us to Carolina and Liverpool shipyards, Libby Prison, Confederate encampments, and the politicking in both Washington D.C. and Richmond, VA. This gives the novel more depth than focusing just on the more infamous parts of the War.

Neither side is exempt from special interests or those who seek to profit on the blood of others. Both families have people who are up to no good. In the case of Ashton Main - Brett and Orry's sister - she is inherently evil here. While trying to help her husband rise politically in Confederate circles, she joins with a group at first attempting to take control of the government. In the process she almost destroys Orry's marriage and his good name, is responsible for the drowning of her nephew, and still carries a great deal of anger at being rejected by Billy Hazard in favor of her sister.

Of course no Jakes novel would be complete without the evil man harboring a grudge due to some slight years ago. In here it is Elkanah Bent. Bent seems to spend the majority of the novel scheming at how to get back at the two families, all the while managing to mess up every chance he has in his own life. Much is made of his parentage here, but though it is hinted at, it is never revealed. It is one bit of frustration I really would have like to have been resolved.

In this novel, slavery is not depicted as a happy existence. As the war presses on, many of the slaves at the Mains' plantation run off. Orry's wife Madeline goes to great lengths to try and make it better for them, even beginning a school. Her belief is that they will be freed and need their education. This is a believable way to show the feelings of loyalty some of the slaves - and freedmen who live at the plantation - have for the family.

In the North, Brett works with black children at an orphanage started by George's wife, Constance. Having the opportunity to interact outside of the plantation with the black children and adults causes Brett to rethink her own beliefs she has had all her life. It also gives her a good direction and sense of purpose, rather than sitting in a house through the whole novel worried about her husband.

The families are not exempt from tragedy. Several lives are lost. There is nothing pretty about the four and a half years contained in the novel. Jakes has gone to great lengths to write a well-researched and non-glamorous view of this terrible war. If you've never read it, it's definitely worth a look.


Other novels by John Jakes:


North and South
Heaven and Hell

The Bastard
The Rebels
The Seekers
The Furies
The Titans
The Warriors
The Lawless
The Americans

Homeland
American Dreams

© 2002 Patti Aliventi



Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Titans the by Jakes John

Titans the by Jakes John

Free Delivery Worldwide : Titans the : Paperback : Penguin Putnam Inc : 9780451213471 : 0451213475 : 02 Nov 2004 : The godfather of historical novelis...
BookDepository.com

$9.01

FREE Shipping
Charleston By John Jakes (2002, Cd, Abridged)

Charleston By John Jakes (2002, Cd, Abridged)

JOHN JAKES **** CHARLESTON **** This 6 CD Audiobook set is Brand New (factory sealed ) and is about 7 hours long.
eBay

$5.92

FREE Shipping
Americans, the by John Jakes

Americans, the by John Jakes

Free Delivery Worldwide : Americans, the : Paperback : Penguin Putnam Inc : 9780451214904 : 0451214900 : 01 May 2005 : The Kent Family Chronicles conc...
BookDepository.com

$9.94

FREE Shipping
Photo of TV Program JOHN JAKES' HEAVEN AND HELL (ALG-040-CT)

Photo of TV Program JOHN JAKES' HEAVEN AND HELL (ALG-040-CT)

Vintage Original Photograph from the Historical Archive of the Chicago Tribune, showing TV Program JOHN JAKES' HEAVEN AND HELL. The entire scanned are...
Sears Marketplace
The Rebels by John Jakes

The Rebels by John Jakes

Free Delivery Worldwide : The Rebels : Paperback : Signet Book : 9780451211729 : 0451211723 : 06 Apr 2004 : Philip Kent fights for the future of his a...
BookDepository.com

$8.98

FREE Shipping
The Rebels - Jakes, John 9780451211729

The Rebels - Jakes, John 9780451211729

Electronics Cameras Computers Software Housewares Sports DVDs Music Books Games Toys in titles descriptions Company Info |Checkout Info |Shipping Info...
eBay

$6.92

+$3.00 shipping
North and South by John Jakes

North and South by John Jakes

Free Delivery Worldwide : North and South : Paperback : Penguin Putnam Inc : 9780451200815 : 0451200810 : 30 Jun 2000 : The bestselling saga that has ...
BookDepository.com

$9.47

FREE Shipping
T. D. and Serita Jakes Speak to Women, 3-in-1

T. D. and Serita Jakes Speak to Women, 3-in-1

Two books from Bishop T.D. Jakes and one by Serita Ann Jakes! Woman, Thou Art Loosed! The signature message from T.D. Jakes has resonated with readers...
Christianbook.com

$13.99

+$3.99 shipping