- Well, well, well.
Why did I not read some Toni Morrison earlier? What a fabulous writer she is. I have read a couple of novels by Pearl Cleague (another black American) and loved her style, which is quite different to Morrison's - in this book at least. This is a well-woven short novel, around 200 pages, where we will find out how one man can be the downfall of so many women.
In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Bill Cosey owned and ran a resort hotel on the American East coast. It was a classy spot, where musicians could enter by the front door and sleep on the same cotton sheets as the paying guests. Where you could drink cocktails, dance all night to great bands, have sex with someone other than your spouse or regular partner and no-one would tell. And in the day, you could lay on the smooth white sands, and swim in the ocean.
If You Were Black. For this was a resort owned by and catering for only black Americans. Actually, black Americans with money. For the locals, even if they saved the money for a celebration, perhaps a wedding, the hotel was always "booked" the day they wanted it, and it was always that way.
The book starts and ends with the thoughts of "L", a woman with no other name who was cook at that hotel, producing wonderful food. In between, you will find out a lot about Heed (Heed the Night) Cosey's second wife, and Christine, his granddaughter, the two key characters. How they first met, how they loved and then hated each other. The book isn't called Love for nothing. All aspects of love are covered in this powerful story, and my advice is to read it without anything to disturb you - you may miss a clue or two! It's powerful stuff, and a world was opened up to me that made me want to read on.