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Posted February 21, 2014
Posted December 24, 2013
I am so pleased I was able to give this a five star rating. This is the third Holly Bush book I have read, and when I first began reading it, I was afraid I would not like it. It took me a good couple chapters to get into the story, and I guess I was prejudiced. The fact that Holly featured a man as the main character of a romance failed to capture my attention--that is, at first. Once Belle entered the story, I was hooked! And I found myself appreciating Reed for who and what he was.
This book was full of everything that makes an amazing historical novel: romance, humor, social injustice, mystery, and more. This book deals with the horrors of this country following the Civil War. It was something to see a book feature a crippled vet as a main character. I don't think I realized just how bad things were for the free blacks in this country following the War. My heart bled for the blacks in this book. Yes, there are some derogatory terms used for blacks in this book, but when you take into account the time period, I believe these terms must be used. There are racist people in the book, and then there are those who truly care about these free blacks. And then there are those whose views change.
The romance is unbelievable, and I mean it. I love the fact that a marriage of convenience becomes passionate love. There are some bedroom scenes, but it is typical Holly Bush. The people get married first and then they move to the bedroom--not before! There is some profanity, but it is minimal. I also appreciate the fact that God always makes an appearance in the book. The characters always give credit to God for helping them through difficult times and ultimately changing them.
This is a book that may take some time to get into it, but the book is certainly just as good as her other books. So if you like historical fiction and romance, this is the book for you!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Posted August 9, 2013
We are proud to announce that “Reconstructing Jackson” by Holly Bush is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2013
Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush is an intensely emotional historical read dealing with many hot button issues such as slavery, abuse, and disabilities. From the very start Ms. Bush presents a story that pulls no punches in its frank use of language in addressing the issue of slavery. This use of language reflects the time period and lends credibility to the story even as it's hard to hear those terms being bandied about. Seeing the physical implications of slavery, and the aftermath of the abolishment of slavery, add an extra layer of intensity that makes this story even more gutwrenching.
Belle has led a poor and dismal life with her only purpose cooking and cleaning for her drunken father and brothers. They see her as a commodity waiting to be sold to the highest bidder. She longs for more though and goes against convention by learning to read and write from former slaves. She feels a sense of hope and freedom through her newfound knowledge that sustains her dreams as she's physically and mentally beaten down by those who are supposed to protect her. After a beating almost kills her her only option to stay safe is to marry the bitter yet honorable disabled attorney, Reed. She sees him as her savior whose disability means nothing to her. Her brightness is contagious and helps him see life in a different way. She opens his eyes to the future and forces him to act for what's right and no longer sit back waiting for change to happen. She becomes stronger as Reed's wife and is no longer the scared young girl she once was. When tragedy befalls one of her few friends she puts her life on the line to make the guilty pay.
Reed's life as a Southerner was one of money growing up, but losing a leg and maiming another in the war has left him bitter and morose. Coming to the North has him wanting to be a different man, a man more accepting of former slaves and more open-minded about his future. He sees himself as undesirable and unable to live up to the stereotype of what makes a man. The night Belle lands on his doorstep bloody and broken forces him into an act that changes his future completely and gives him everything he thought he'd never have. He too has been beaten down by a father who saw him as half a man and took his birthright away. Belle's support and encouragement have him trying to better himself through exercise and protecting his newfound family through any means necessary.
Reed's disability is addressed in a brutally realistic way to make his frustration understandable. Some of the people in the town treat him as a child, but thankfully most take him at face value. He's still able to be seen as the hero, cleverly getting around the town's inaccessibilities. Though some have jobs, former slaves are still seen as second class citizens by some in the town which places their lives on the line. A particularly heartwrenching scene shows that emancipation was still a work in progress and that the effects of The Civil War didn't end when the South surrendered. These issues were nicely balanced within the developing romance and added a life and death urgency to their relationship. There were moments of joy mingled with pain that kept your heart pounding while constantly rooting for Reed and Belle's HEA. Ms. Bush has created a memorable story that's both tearful and inspiring and I greatly look forward to her next work of art.
Posted January 24, 2013
What a great book, I read it in one day, and could not put it down. The story is set in Fenton MO, just after the Civil War.
The country is trying to move on, at least some are, where others are convinced that slavery will return!
Reed Jackson survived the War, but lost part of one leg and injured the other. His father seeing him in a chair decides the woman he was to marry will marry his brother, and his brother shall have their Plantation. Reed decides to move on and start a law practice in MO. He comes and stays with his cousin Henry and his wife Mary Ellen at their Hotel.
Reed is surprised that a black woman is their manager at the Hotel. He was raised with slaves and this is quite a challenge for him. Also in this town is a lovely nineteen year old who is really being abused by her family. Belle's brother has picked out someone he wants her to marry, and he will get a mule...ugh!
When her family finds out she is attending a black church, and more, she is beaten within an inch of her life. Beulah, the hotel manager, is a friend of Belle's, and helps her. With her at the Hotel now there is quite a bit of time that Reed ends up spending with her. All Belle really wants is a husband, a home, children, and a garden.
This story will warm your heart, we may not understand why some of the things happen, but once you pick this book up, your in for a really great read.
I received this book from Pump Your Book Virtual Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted November 17, 2012
Reconstructing Jackson centers around Reed Jackson and Belle Richards; 2 people from very different classes and with their own tormented pasts. Reed is a broken man, a lawyer, and a Confederate Veteran. Belle is a poor farm girl with an alcoholic and abusing father and a brother, with simple dreams, and learning to read in secrecy. Their worlds dramatically collide and through it all they rise up above all the tragedy through their love and strength through on another. It’s really a perfect love story!
It’s also so much more than a love story. Beulah Freeman, a freed slave, forces Reed to rethink his Southern traditions and views on color and social station. She’s strong and has an honest and unrelenting personality. This story shows the struggles of white and black people alike during the years following the Civil War and Emancipation. It really got me thinking about that time in our history and where we are now. And even though this is historical fiction, I have even more of an appreciation of how far we’ve come and for those people that helped us get there.
While reading Reconstructing Jackson, I laughed out loud and even cried…actually shed tears. Holly Bush really packed a lot of emotion, action, and drama in 258 pages! That being said, it didn’t really feel rushed. I highly recommend this book…whether you just want a good love story…or you want to enrich your vision of post-Civil War history…this is your book! I’ll warn you though, if you’re sensitive to the use of the “N” word (even when used in historical context)…it is used throughout the story.
Posted November 16, 2012
Holly pens "Reconstructing Jackson", a Civil War novel, filled with history, romance and emotion. Her characters are believable and realistic in a plot that was so interesting that it kept my attention from start to finish. Another great novel from Holly! I highly recommend this book to all historical romance fans. *5 Stars*
This review is based on a complimentary copy which was provided for an honest review.
Posted November 13, 2012
The story about Reed Jackson is heart tearing and full of so much emotion for me. When Jackson was in the Civil War he was badly injury, leaving him in a wheelchair. When Reed came back from the war, his father did not see him as a fit husband for to marry his bride-to-be or take over the family plantation. With everything that has happened Reed becomes angry at everything, he ends up moving out west to his cousin’s hotel the Ames and in search of a new start on life. On the start of his new life he meets a determined and full of pride women named Belle. He comes captivated by her and everything that she has to endure from her brother and father. One night Reed sees first hand, what her family does to her and does not stand for it any more. Wanting to protect her and take care of her, Reed asked Belle to marry him. With to people being so different and they have their ups and downs. In a time when that world was still evolving, they have so much conflict to overcome.
Holly Bush is an amazing writer that transforms word to an incredible story that takes you back in time.
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Posted November 7, 2012
My first novel by Holly Bush and I'm not disappointed. What a thought provoking story, heart wrenching yet beautiful. She has a talent for creating characters that you grow to love, her descriptions of race relations and slavery make you cry. I really liked this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Can't wait to read another by this author.
I received an ecopy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Posted October 26, 2012
Holly's books just keep getting better and better! The story in " Reconstructing Jackson" was very compelling. I read it almost in one sitting. Holly's writing is fluid and descriptive,accurately capturing what life was like Midwest in the years after the Civil War. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next one.
Posted October 25, 2012
What an interesting story line. It was not your typical romance novel. I loved the time period that the story line was written and how it seemed more true to life as to how marriages where done in the 1800's. It is an easy read that the charactors come to life and you want to keep reading to find out what happens. I recommend reading this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 16, 2012
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