Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush - Review tour and giveaway

(Full length historical romance)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

R. T. will be awarding a $25 GC to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner's choice, to the winner of the Rafflecopter drawing, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win an awesome prize!

1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over.

Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them.

Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle's courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance.

Though it starts a bit slow, Reconstructing Jackson makes it worth pushing through to find a truly heartwarming story set in the times immediately following the American Civil War. With a hero who's a crippled confederate soldier forced to face the reality of losing his inheritance (a southern plantation) and his fiancee to his non-crippled, younger brother and learning how to function in a post-war world we're plunged into a time when women were chattel, and former slaves had to fight for every single right they were given when emancipated. Seems most folks don't much care what the law says: once a slave, always a slave.

Author Holly Bush doesn't pull many punches with this book. There are such dark times, and heart-rending occurrences. She lets us see into the American past, both the good and the bad, and paints a picture with her words. Truthfully, had I not accepted this book for review, I might not have continued reading, as the hero was not very heroic at the start, and I struggled with watching how our poor heroine was trapped with an abusive family and treated worse than the furniture by her oldest brother and continually drunk father.

But I did continue, and discovered a deeply moving story filled with hope and tragedy, with good and evil and occasionally shades of gray. All-in-all a very good read and one I'm so pleased I was allowed to enjoy. The love between our protagonists was deep and unconditional, and it led them both from a difficult, dark place. How Belle developed such a strong will when she'd been raised as she had been, I have no idea, but she was absolutely perfect for Reed.

Reconstructing Jackson is a book that made me angry, sad, amazed at the resilience of the human spirit and eventually made my heart smile. Recommended.

4 Flowers - This was a very good book! I'd recommend it to my friends

Reed awoke from a troublesome sleep that night to crying and moaning outside of his window. There was no moon and Reed could not see the source of the noise, but heard movement in the hallway. He pulled pants on and lowered himself into his chair as he wiped the night from his face. On the porch, Reed heard Beulah’s voice, low and comforting in the still air. “Miss Beulah,” he whispered.

“Go back to bed, Mr. Jackson.”

Reed heard a moan and Beulah’s pleas to someone. “What is it?” he asked.

Beulah rose from the walk and Reed saw her eyes, angry, through the spindles of the porch. “None of your concern.”

“For God’s sakes, woman, tell me who cries so piteously.” Reed realized the moaning had stopped.

Beulah looked down and back to Reed. “She needs no more of your help, Mr. Jackson.”

Reed froze and the blood drained from his face. He wheeled down the ramp and to where Beulah held Belle Richards in her arms. “What happened?” he asked.

“I don’t know. She fainted or . . . died before she could she say.”

A lump of terror balled in his throat for a woman he barely knew. He forced words from his mouth. “Check her pulse.”

“Faint. But there.”

“Then hurry, Beulah,” Reed rushed on. “Can you lift her?”

“I was a slave, Mr. Jackson. I carried baled cotton on my back . . .”

“Enough with the lecture on the evils of slavery. She may die as we speak,” Reed hissed.

Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.



  1. Tough times without being wheelchair bound as well. 4 flowers sounds positive - and so sweet.


  2. Thanks so much for having me and good morning to all! I won't be around till later today to answer questions but feel free to fill up the comment section with what you'd like to know about the writing process, the characters in Reconstructing Jackson or whatever you find interesting about our hero Reed Jackson or our heroine, Belle.

    I think our hostess at It's Raining Books has chosen a very interesting excerpt. What do you think?

  3. Your review sounds very heartfelt and in depth! Thanks for sharing :) I really get the feel for the book now you know??

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  4. Excellent review, sure makes me want to read the book.


  5. I love stories about sad characters who have been beaten down by life and manage to overcome and find love. Also the historical part sounds fascinating, too with the Civil War setting. I think I would enjoy reading this.

  6. That you for your honest review. It sounds sad but very enthralling

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  7. Thanks for the review. In spite of the sadness of this story, I hope there is a HEA at the end....guess I'll just have to read the book to find out for myself.

    Question for Holly: I noticed on your website that you have set each story in its own particular date/time/place. What factors came into play when choosing the date and setting for your books?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. Well, Karen sometimes it is out of necessity. Reconstructing Jackson had to be during Reconstruction or the story didn't work as well. Sometimes it's something small like in Romancing Olive, I chose the date because Olive uses a Singer sewing machine and I wanted to coincide with the date those machines became available. Train Station Bride was pretty random. My next historical romance, Cross the Ocean, was set to work around the U.S. Suffragette movement. What a wonderful question, Karen, thanks for asking!

  8. What an outstanding review. This really sounds like a wonderful story. I loved the excerpt.

  9. Congratulations on the publication of Reconstructing Jackson! It sounds like a wonderful book. I enjoy historical fiction and will be putting this book on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh, I can tell this book is going to be worth the feels I'm going to go through! :-)



So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?