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 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.