Texas Wept: A Tale of Love, Hate, and Courage by William E Maxwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I will say upfront that I edited this book, so naturally you would expect me to love it. But I loved it when I first read the few pages the author submitted for a sample edit. The book was great before I started on it—I hope that my tweaking and fine-tuning made it even better, but my polishing isn’t why I love the book.
Texas Wept is filled with heroes, villains, and villains who think they are heroes. It is set in Texas in the tumultuous time at the end of the Civil War and early years of Reconstruction, and emotions—love, hate, and fear—run high. Ben Loch is a Confederate veteran who regrets fighting to preserve slavery, even though his motives were honorable. After the war, he returns to his hometown to marry his love, Annie Kingsley, only to discover they can’t legally marry because Annie is the daughter of the plantation owner/slave master and the upstairs maid/slave. Although she is only one-eighth African, that part legally defines Annie’s race, and it is illegal for a white person to marry a black person.
Prejudice and discrimination still exist today, but it’s hard to envision the absolute evil of the plantation system, the Ku Klux Klan, and the people who used the Bible to justify enslaving and mistreating fellow human beings.
Some parts of this book are hard to read because the hate is so powerful and the acts are so evil, but Ben and Annie manage to make a life together in spite of the challenges.
There’s plenty of action—almost another war as the KKK and others like them try to hold on to their old way of life, plenty of history—the ugly facts of a bygone era, and plenty of love and courage in the main characters.