Shelf Love

017. An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole with Katrina Jackson

Short Description

Katrina Jackson, erotic romance author by night, historian by day, joins the podcast. We read An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole, about reluctant spy partners working to bring down the Confederacy in the Civil War. Katrina shares her thoughts from her own research into love as an integral part of radical Black politics, the definition of “diaspora” and “interwar,” as well as all sorts of things you probably didn’t learn in history class.

CW: We talk about the treatment of enslaved people in the Civil War, including a character’s PTSD as a result of being enslaved. This character has suicidal ideation.


romance novel discussion, historical romance

Show Notes

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Kat on social media:

Twitter: @KatrinaJax

Instagram: @KatJacksonBooks


Kat’s new books:

Alyssa Cole

Kat’s Formative Years in Romancelandia

Kat’s influences:

An Extraordinary Union - first book in the Loyal League Series


Kat’s specialty is the African diaspora as a social movement historian.

#FallsOnLove Podcast (with Nicole Falls), where Kat said she doesn’t want to write historical romance.

Historical romance is really white/European.

Familial bonds: love as a particular Black radical organizing impetus

Students’ expectation of African American history = trauma

I think the article I was thinking of about change in social attitudes about LGTBQ people because “love was in place.”

But I think I was also drawing on listening to this Hidden Brain podcast episode about how selling same-sex marriage was key to the strategy for LGBTQ rights.

What this book does: Centers the story of the Civil War on the marginalized POV

Discussions of enslaved people in the book:

You are worthy of being loved, not just because of how you serve other people’s needs.

You should read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

WTF was up with working class white people at this time?

Andrew Johnson = The Worst

Reconstruction is the roots of the public education system in America.

Rebel by Beverly Jenkins covers reconstruction/early public education. Discussed in episode 3 of Shelf Love.

The journey each goes through makes them able to enter into a healthy relationship = Kat wants more of this.

Reluctant Spy Partners: