Welcome to my stop on Holly Bush's Virtual Review Tour for Reconstructing Jackson. Please leave a comment or question for Holly below to let her know you stopped by. Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can follow her tour here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.
by Holly Bush
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 191 Pages
Amazon Nook ARe
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.
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.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
To change the future, you must first learn from the past. You need to face your fears, be willing to ask for and grant forgiveness and work hard to change the future. Author Holly Bush reminds us of this with her Civil War historical romance, Reconstructing Jackson. Part history, part social commentary and part second chance romance, Ms. Bush's characters captured my attention from the first page and never let go.
Two years after the end of the Civil War, southern lawyer Jackson Reed travels to Missouri to start over. Wounded, and now crippled, Jackson is bitter about the changes which have taken place in his life. Hoping to etch out a living, Jackson is sure he'll face the rest of his life alone. After all, what woman wants to marry a man who's now less than what he was?
Poor and uneducated, Belle Richards is stuck taking care of a drunken father and two older brothers. Even though she's abused, Belle has a dream to change her future. She wants to learn to read and marry a man, who will give her love and a home and family of her own. She won't let being born in the wrong side of town stop her from doing whatever it takes to get ahead.
While the war between the states is over, the future is still uncertain. When the lives of Jackson, Belle, and Beulah, a former slave teaching Belle to read, collide; they'll change the world they live in. Ms. Bush does a wonderful job developing their characters, giving us glimpses into their pasts, and a view into the building of an uncertain future. At times very frank, Ms. Bush doesn't sugar coat our country's shameful past, or the language of the times.
While the primary characters are the focus of this romance, the secondary characters are well developed and all make important contributions. I especially loved Beulah, who's story is heartbreaking, Henry and Mary Ellen Ames, Jackson's progressive relatives, and Brother Freeman and Nathan Black. The villains of the story are also well written and are very easy to hate. I particularly liked how Ms. Bush sees to it they eventually get what they deserve.
Will Jackson and Belle be able to make a bright future together in the new and uncertain world they live in? You'll have to read Reconstructing Jackson to find out. This is the third novel I've read by Ms. Bush, and I can't wait to read what she writes next.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Holly below to let her know you stopped by. Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can follow her tour here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.