Published on September 9, 2012
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.
Holly Bush has written a lovely piece of historical fiction with Reconstructing Jackson. It is full of loss, pain, love and redemption. The American Civil War is a very dark time in our history and so people had to evolve or get lost in the whirlwind of change. Reed Jackson is in the center of this whirlwind and must decide how he will evolve.
Reed has come back from the war a broken man, mind, body and soul. He is truly lost. Ms. Bush describes his pain in way that you sympathize and not pity him. His struggles are heartbreaking. It is so sad on how wounded veterans are treated once they return from the battlefield. It is no wonder that Reed is a very embittered man. Besides having to deal with his disabilities, Reed is, also, dealing with a changing racial environment. Slavery is now illegal and all former slaves are free. What I truly appreciated is that Reed is not a narrow-minded character. He does evolve and is able to decide what is right and wrong.
And Belle Richards helps him to overcome his fears and limitations. Belle had a far from ideal upbringing. She has been brutally beaten by his brother just for wanting to learn how to read. However, with the help from Beulah and Reed, she is able to get free from his brutality. Belle is a tough, stubborn young woman who is perfect for Reed. She is not afraid to make Reed see beyond his wheelchair. Her love gives him strength.
Reed would not have been able to become the man that he is without the help of Beulah Freeman. Ms. Bush created such a resilient and amazing woman with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. She is a former slave that is now an employee that works at his cousin’s hotel. She is, also, Reed’s conscience.
The book ends with a beautiful letter from Reed to his mother, Lily. I thought it was a wonderful way for Reed to express his feelings and let the reader know what kind of life Reed and Belle have made together.
About the Author:
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 her life and is voracious reader of 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 1800s. 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.
Twitter - @HollyBushBooks
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