Love is the story of six women whose lives are dominated in some way or other by the same powerful man, Bill Cosey. He is the wealthy owner of a high class resort for coloured people, a rarity in mid-twentieth century America. Cosey’s power and influence reach even beyond his grave to keep an eternal hold on the women of his life, both psychologically and emotionally.
A man much admired and respected, Cosey is able to do exactly as he desires, even when he decides to take an eleven year old, lower class girl for his bride. She happens to be the best friend of Cosey’s granddaughter but this shatters their friendship irreparably. The friendship had been based on a “perfect love,” formed in the pure innocence of childhood and the breaking of it leaves both women with a lifetime of pain and suffering. They are never to heal the injury but remain bound to one another by bitter jealousy and emotional longing.
The tension and antagonism between rich and poor; black and white are also explored in the complex relationships of the characters. The lives of the women of this time are looked into in depth and what they had to suffer just to survive is revealed. Almost as important as survival, is love, and the raw necessity of it is the other driving force that secretly dominates the women’s lives. However its intensely consuming nature seems to be more destructive to them than beneficial.
Love lays bare the yearnings and insecurities inherent in human nature and how far people will go to compensate and to attain what they desire, no matter what it costs. This is an insightful novel that draws you into its world and stays with you.
Chatto and Windus, $54.95