The Game of Love and Death promises an epic story of Greek proportions, where love is complicated and death is ever present. The lives of Henry and Flora, our protagonists, have been poked and prodded by Love and Death – two opponents as old as time. Marked as players in an age-old game, Henry and Flora are fated to fall in love, but it is whether or not they choose to act on that love that will determine the outcome of the game.
Martha Brockenbrough has treated us to something different with the personification of Love and Death, immortals interfering in our mortal world. Their game seems whimsical, but it is tradition, and the author shows us that Love can be as merciless as Death.
There is a symmetry to Flora and Henry’s lives – both 17, both parentless, both talented musicians – but with one significant difference: Flora is black and Henry is white. Discrimination is the true villain of the story, and the author tackles some very important issues – the impossibility of interracial and same-sex relationships in 1930s America, unfortunately still so relevant today.
The Game of Love and Death is a ‘will they/won’t they’ love story that we’ve heard before, but one that’s certainly worth reading for its treatment of jazz-era America, with all of its charms and challenges. And, of course, to find out who will be the victor: Love or Death.