Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “White Doves At Morning” as Want to Read:
White Doves At Morning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

White Doves At Morning

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,745 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
A New York Times BestsellerAcclaimed for his bestselling thriller series, James Lee Burke makes a brilliantly successful departure with this epic story of love, hate, and survival set against the tumultuous background of the Civil War and Reconstruction. At the center of the novel are Burke's own ancestors: Robert Perry, from a slave-owning family of wealth and privilege; ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 502 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Large Print Press (first published October 22nd 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about White Doves At Morning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about White Doves At Morning

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,723)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 22, 2013 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and would recommend if you like to read about the Civil War period and like a little grit. I feel that this was a true depiction of the life and times of all the people in that period. Not just the Southerners, but the Northerners as well. I felt moved by some of the words in this book. To me he writes with words of a poet and very literary in nature. It is even quite possible you may need a dictionary at times, but if read in the context can surely figure it out.

I have read m
If you enjoy good historical fiction, you'll enjoy this story, set in the Civil War in Louisiana. Willie Burke helps a mulatto slave named Flower Jamison learn to read. He also gets into trouble and then joins the war with his friends, Robert Perry and Jim S. During the four years of the war, each character tells their story. Flower's battles with her white father and being taunted, Abigail Dowling, an abolitionist, who helps free slaves and the KKK, Willie's years in the war, amongst other char ...more
Marge Begley
Jul 28, 2015 Marge Begley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent war scenes - graphic!
Nice departure from JLB usual PI books.
Sep 19, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
White Doves at Morning is a historical fiction novel, published in 2002 and set around New Iberia, Louisiana, during the Civil War. Of course, since it occurs during the Civil War, it does not include Burke's reknowned Dave Robicheaux. Instead, this book focuses on Burke's ancestry. Willie Burke is the son of an Irish immigrant who joins the Confederate forces more out of fear than support for the "cause." Robert Perry, Burke's friend, is the son of slave owners and is a staunch supporter of Sec ...more
Fran Severn
Mar 20, 2016 Fran Severn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the real Gone With the Wind. No romance; no glory. The story of a small Louisiana town during and immediately after the Civil War. Burke bases the story on his own family (it's set in his town and nearby) -- which is not unlike GWTW, but this has a lot less romantic elements. It's a tough story about tough people in tough times. Burke is a master of description; you can feel rivulets of sweat running down your back and hear gravel crunching underfoot -- he's that good at placing you in t ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having discovered this great writer through his Dave Robicheaux and Billy Bob Holland series, I was intrigued by this stand alone historical novel set in the Civil War. A beautifully written story of Flower Jamison, an abused slave girl in Louisiana who is taught to read by Willie Burke, a gregarious and reluctant Confederate recruit, and their relationships with the Quaker raised Yankee Abigail Dowling and well heeled son of slave owners, Robert Parry, this is rich with Burke's distinctive lyri ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a contrived effort to deal with the impact of the Civil War on the inhabitamts of one small town in Louisiana. The lead character is an ancestor of Burke's, but all the characters are wooden and stereotypical. The situatons are manipulated to allow Burke to ennoble his characters. The material was rich and could have been used more effectively if Burke had not tried so hard to make his ancestor, Willie Burke, a man of mixed mind about slavery and the causes of the war. The internal conflict ...more
"Drawing on his personal family history, James Lee Burke crafts a story of enormous scope about three best friends from Louisiana who -- despite their own misgivings about the "Cause" -- enlist in the Confederate Army and set off to war. Willie Burke, the character based on Burke's own great, great uncle, befriends an attractive and uncommonly bright young slave and teaches her how to read in violation of local laws. White Doves at Morning is a rich love story set in a time of upheaval that affe ...more
Oct 23, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a number of Burke's mysteries and enjoy them mainly for their setting--New Orleans and Louisiana, a setting which only adds to the mystery of his story. In this book, Burke turns to the Civil War as it was fought in Louisiana. That it is drawn from family history adds to the story. Louisiana in the war was on the sidelines, as the main armies were fighting in Virginia and Tennessee for much of the war. Fairly early in the war, New Orleans, the South's biggest seaport, was captured b ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel - Central to this brooding saga are hotheaded young idealist Willie Burke, son of a boardinghouse owner, and a beautiful slave girl named Flower Jamison. She is the illegitimate daughter of Ira Jamison, the callous owner of the infamous Angola Plantation. Flower's mother was murdered by a brutal overseer, Rufus Atkins, just after she gave birth, and Rufus has been a malevolent presence in Flower's life ever since. Secretly taught to read and write by Willie Burke, she now does laundry for ...more
Terriann Rea-gaustad
This is a very well written novel, with lots of good Civil War history worked in, although I agree with one reviewer, on Amazon, that at times the characters became "preachy stereotypes," and another who said some characters' actions were unrealistic for the society, time period, etc.

But, still, I greatly enjoyed it, and I found Willie Burke to be a very engaging character - I loved his smart remarks made almost always at the worst possible moments! I also like the complicated character of Flow
Kristi Richardson
“White doves come at morning
Where my soldier sleeps in the ground.
I placed my ring in his coffin,
The trees o’er his coffin have all turned brown.”

I love James Lee Burke's writing. In this book he is telling part of his families story by using Willie Burke and Robert Perry, his ancestors, as part of the plot.

The story revolves around the Civil War and Reconstruction and these two men's fighting at Shiloh and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. We also have Flower Jamison, a beautiful black slave
Aug 19, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I know this book is based on Burke's family, but why couldn't he tell the reader what part is family history. The book takes place in New Iberia, LA. before, during and after the Civil War. Willy helps to teach a beautiful slave, Flower to read. He was taught to read by Abigail, a Quaker and nurse who is against slavery. Willy joins the war on the Rebel side with his best friend, Jim because he doesn't want to be seen as afraid to fight. The battle scenes are very realistic and horrifying. Flowe ...more
Jeffrey Hammerhead
This book was completely different from the other books Burke wrote. This one is not a mystery, but more of a story of one of his relatives before, during, and after the Civil War. The descriptions and characters are fantastic.
Jan 07, 2014 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book 3.5 stars if that was possible. James Lee Burke is known for his thrillers but I have not read any of them so he is a totally new author to me. This book is a Civil War story that follows a number of characters from New Iberia, Louisiana during and following that awful conflict. Willie Burke is an Irish immigrant who joins the Confederate cause so he won’t look like a coward more than any really love for the Confederate cause. He is quite a troublemaker prior to the ...more
Kathleen Valentine
I wish I could give it 10 stars. This is James Lee Burke's novel about the Civil War and two of his ancestors who fought in it.
Lynn Pribus
Dec 14, 2011 Lynn Pribus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Wanted to like this one since I've enjoyed his Robicheaux books. Evidently based on some ancestor, the book starts in New Iberia (home of Tabasco sauce) where we visited very many years ago. [Off-topic alert] Did you know they put tiny little bottles of Tabasco in GI C-rations -- way before the advent of MREs?

Anyway, his local yokels were too politically correct for the time ("Don't call them niggers, call them Negroes" and of course, the polite term at that time would have been nigras).

Also, an
Feb 18, 2012 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: james-lee-burke
White Doves At Morning by James Lee Burke
A Historical Novel written with great passion and patience.

I loved this book! It is well written with the author’s ability to take you back in time to New Iberia, LA just preceding the Civil War. Three high school boys volunteer for the Confederate Army, an Abolitionist named Abigail Dowling (I’m still not sure she is a fictional person or real) assists Negro slaves escape to the North, a slave girl learns to read and teach others, and the Plantation owners and overseers who abuse others, all c
Nov 11, 2008 Sandie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil war buffs
James Lee Burke takes us back to the 1860's as he weaves the tale of two young Southerners, Robert Perry (Burke's great-grandfather) and Willie Burke (his great-great uncle) as they are drawn into the Civil War. Utilizing the journals of his great-great uncle Willie, we experience the shattering reality of a war fought on U.S. soil that pitted friend against friend and brother against brother.

Two characters in the novel, Ira Jamison and Clay Hatcher, certainly must be composites of several peop
Feb 05, 2013 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: burke
6th from burke for me...2002...white doves at morning, a hardcover version...he thanks a pamela arceneaux and a c.j. labauve for their help w/historical detail...

a dedication: for dracos and carrie burke

story begins:
the black woman's name was sarie, and when she crashed out the door of the cabin at the end of the slave quarters into the fading winter light, her lower belly bursting with the child that had already broken her water, the aftermath of the ice storm and the sheer desolate sweep o
Tracy Terry
Hmm, a hit but mainly a miss of a read as far as I'm concerned as whilst I admired the authors willingness to examine the issues surrounding race at that time and thought his descriptions of battle second to none, his characters (especially his portrayal of women) powerful if not a little improbable and, I suspect, often grossly romanticised, I felt that this was a novel gravely let down by lack of emotion.

Undoubtedly full of historical depth, White Doves At Morning is a harrowing story of war
Rosina Lippi
Feb 06, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might best be called creative non-fiction, as Burke has written a novelized version of his own family history and an ancestor, Willie Burke, the son of Irish immigrants who settled in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Willie Burke -- impulsive and idealistic -- is drawn into the Civil War with his best friends, despite his doubts about the cause and his dislike of slavery. The story moves back and forth between his experiences (including the bloody battle at Shiloh) and what's going on in New Iberia,
Donna Davis
At the end, I found myself thinking, "...and I read this because?"

A lot of the time someone will ask me whether what I am reading is good, and I will say, "I don't know. I haven't seen how it ends yet." When all was over and done, I was still casting about for a protagonist. I kept thinking I knew, and then everything would shift.

I sound like this is more of a two star book, so let me explain why it gets so much credit. It's a complex tale of a lot of lives that are braided together. I appreciat
Sep 07, 2011 Siobhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
Count me as an unabashed James Lee Burke fan. He is among the finest mystery writers out there. I always feel like I’m in Louisiana when I’m reading one of his books – the heat and humidity, the cane breaks (I think that's how it's spelled) and bayous. He’s a wonderful writer who paints pictures with words.

White Doves at Morning is a departure, not from Louisiana (yes, I know he has set some of his mysteries in Montana, but I’ve never read them) but from genre. The setting is the Civil War and
Dec 21, 2007 Johnsergeant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, audiblecom
Downloaded from

Narrator: Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio, 2002
Length: 6 hours and 56 min. (abridged)

Publisher's Summary
In a startling departure, James Lee Burke has written an epic story of love, hate, and survival set against the tumultuous background of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

At the center of the tale are James Lee Burke's own ancestors, Robert Perry, who comes from a slave-owning family of wealth and privilege, and Willie Burke, born of Irish immigrants,
Barbara M
James Lee Burke used characters from his own family for this fiction based on fact. It is hard to tell how much of this is fact however. I like the insight into the Civil War especially with the location around New Orleans and in Louisiana. I liked the idea of using family members in the story thinking of Red River by Lalita Tademy which had done the same thing.

I found the use of the color yellow to be a bit overdone as in yellow sky, yellow river, etc. over and over. I was often confused by the
Tony Nielsen
Apr 04, 2013 Tony Nielsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read most of James Lee Burke's novels featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux but this is something different, an historical novel, and a very satisfying read it is. Again it is set in rural Louisiana, Lee Burke's home territory. The focus is on the lead up and the aftermath of America's Civil War, with the main character Confederate solider Willie Burke. This was a brutal war, with more losers than winners, on both sides. Seeing his friend Jim Stubblefield die in front of him is a pivotal mome ...more
Nov 22, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of several novels and histories I've read in recent years that try to convey the mood and atmosphere of the Civil War. Many elements are similar in most of these books: persecuted and abused slaves (physically and sexually), familial struggles in the conflict, suffering of the innocent landowners, desperate conditions of the troops. In this book, set in Louisiana during the war and shortly after, Burke supposedly draws from his own ancestry to bring together a host of characters, wit ...more
Karen Thompson
Feb 09, 2016 Karen Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
An excellent glimpse of life and times right before, during, and immediately after the great Civil War. I feel especially for those who walked a tightrope everyday, not to prosper, but, just to survive. Today, we may lose some friends or anger family members when we stand by our convictions. Then, supporting freedom, liberty and the right to prosper was only allowed for the aristocratic equivalent few. Those who pushed former slaves to embrace their freedom, educate and invest in their prosperit ...more
Michael Carlson
Jan 28, 2016 Michael Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I want a brief but refreshing break from heavier reading I love picking up whatever I haven't yet read from James Lee Burke. His descriptions and dialogue are always evocative and his plots are interesting. This novel--set apart from his other series--was set during the Civil War as a collection of people in Louisiana react and respond differently to the challenges of slavery and the war.
It's good!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 90 91 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Murder Bay: A Ben Carey Mystery
  • The Judas Field: A Novel of the Civil War
  • America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation
  • Bordersnakes
  • On Secret Service
  • My Father Like a River
  • Sweetsmoke
  • Raveling
  • Dangerous Secret
  • A Slave to Want
  • Missing Justice (Samantha Kincaid #2)
  • Rasputin's Revenge
  • I'll Pass For Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War
  • Nazareth Child (Del Shannon, #1)
  • Cain at Gettysburg
  • Love and Honor
  • Gunman's Rhapsody
  • Faded Coat of Blue (Abel Jones, #1)
James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving
More about James Lee Burke...

Share This Book

“said. “Whatdid you say?” she said. He shifted his rifle to his left hand and spun her in the opposite direction, then pushed her hard between the shoulder blades, snapping her head back. When she” 0 likes
More quotes…