Read Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush Online

reconstructing-jackson

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....

Title : Reconstructing Jackson
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 25056076
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Reconstructing Jackson Reviews

  • Jill
    2019-05-16 13:20

    Reconstructing Jackson is a finely written historical western, well-balanced between the history and romance.Full review in October issue ofInD'Tale Magazine http://www.indtale.com/reviews/recons...Reviewed forInD'Tale Magazine http://www.indtale.com/

  • Keri
    2019-05-22 13:48

    4.5 Stars!! Ok, so I started reading NTM Holly Bush's book and right off the bat it was suffering because the editing wasn't as good as it should have been. I was so sure that 3/4's of the way through the book it stayed firmly at the 3.5 mark and then I hit the last 1/4 of the book and OMGosh there was no way I could keep that next star from Ms. Bush. Had the book been more descriptive about certain parts I would have given it 5 Stars easy, peasy. So the book starts of with southern man Reed Jackson making his way further west after basically being ousted of his inheritance by his own dad. Buford didn't feel Reed could handle the plantation after he came back from the war minus a lower leg and in a wheel chair. So Reed's dad just hands it all over to Reed's younger brother. Reed, at the urging of his mother heads to his cousin's hotel in Missouri. When Reed gets there after a long and difficult journey, his first test of his southern prejudiced upbringing is immediately put to the test. His cousin Henry has a manager of his hotel and not only is she a woman, she is black. He gets his back up, but eventually Ms. Beulah starts to win his hard head over. During this process, he helps rescue a young woman whom had been beaten by her own brother over the fact that she had been learning to read. In order to save Belle, Reed offers her marriage. Although he doesn't love Belle, he admires her courage and looks down on her at the same time....at first. Eventually Reed's beliefs began to take a beating, as a double tragedy takes place right in his front yard. He is forced to defend the constitution of which he took an oath for a murderous bigot. I wasn't sure how it was going to play out, but HB did a marvelous job of not only bringing Reed around, but making me come to love him in the process, when in the beginning, he wasn't unlikable, he just wasn't hero material yet. But he sure was in the end. Bravo Ms. Bush!! I would have given the final 1/2 star had the love scenes been more descriptive and why I say that, Reed's handicap was a issue in his mind alone, not Belle's. I would have liked to have Belle prove that to him in bed more than what was done. Also better editing would have been lovely. If you like post war Civil War romances, I would for sure give this lovely gem a try. Don't let my remarks about the editing and such throw you off, because this was well worth my time and money to read.

  • Laura (Kyahgirl)
    2019-04-21 10:20

    4/5; 4 stars; AI can honestly say "I loved the way Holly Bush told this particular story" even though its many disturbing aspects prevented it from being a story I totally loved (in that warm and fuzzy way one seeks to love their escapist fiction!) Bullies, abusers, bigots, and monsters of that ilk really infuriate me and it's never easy to read about their deeds and misdeeds. However, there are many bright spots of human decency, courage and kindness sprinkled throughout the story so the mood doesn't become too dark.Reed Jackson returned from fighting in the American civil war; a man broken in body and spirit. Reconstructing Jackson is an apt title because, although it was at times very uncomfortable to watch, the reader joins him on the journey to physical, mental, and spiritual health. The author didn't romanticize Jackson or spend a bunch of times waxing on about how handsome he was. Reed was an angry, ugly character at many times in the telling of the tale. Luckily he was also an honourable, courageous man under all that anger and, throughout the course of the book, we see more and more flashes of that character. The backdrop of 1860s American south provides a boiling cauldron of social upheaval and tension to catalyze his change.Belle was a great foil for Jackson. She had suffered a difficult upbringing but instead of detracting from her character it strengthened it. Her character was solidly rooted in a bedrock of integrity, courage, and faith so when Jackson desperately needed a moral compass, a kick in the butt, and some plain examples of how to do the right thing, Belle was there to provide it. Holly Bush has a great skill in drawing characters and speaking with an authentic and smoothly flowing voice. Even though the subject matter was hard to take in spots, I still highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story that exemplifies the ability of humans to grow and heal as well as a love story that has depth and complexity.

  • Jonetta
    2019-05-10 18:47

    Reed Jackson comes home from the Civil War in a wheelchair after fighting on behalf of the Confederacy. He lost one leg and seriously injured the other and cannot walk. His family’s plantation, which was his legacy, has been turned over to his younger brother so he sets out to create a new life for himself. He is also a lawyer and joins a distant cousin in Fenton, Missouri to reinvent himself. Belle Richards is a young woman who is at the mercy of her father and two brothers who are dirt poor and treat her abysmally. In spite of that, Belle has simple dreams for herself and is convinced they will come true, especially as she has secretly learned to read.Reed’s struggle to deal with the post-slavery country outside of the South is harsh but realistic. The story is true to the period, including the vernacular common in the era. There are times when you’ll really despise him and other moments where you see glimpses of the true and decent man. When Reed encounters Belle for the first time, he is struck by the purity of her heart, which was reflected in her whole being and expression. Their union was the most improbable but since both arose from harsh circumstances, it worked in a way that ends up being magical. While Reed came from affluence, his father’s cruelty impacted him almost as badly as Belle’s family’s fists did her, except she was able to keep her spirit intact. I loved this story, even when some of the situations were almost unbearable. While there are some extremely sad moments, there were more where my heart was uplifted on so many levels. This is a mature story and a lovely, lovely romance. I plan to read the other two books by Bush and this will definitely be a re-read.

  • Erin
    2019-05-04 18:25

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....Where to start in reviewing Holly Bush's Reconstructing Jackson presents me something of a challenge. It is a fabulous book, solidly constructed and well-written, but it is the material itself that made an impression on me.This is the kind of book that will ruffle feathers, first and foremost because Bush wasn't afraid to use historically appropriate language. I realize some readers find certain terminology offensive, but in context I always appreciate those who can recreate a time and culture without imposing modern ideology on their characters. The ability to do this as convincingly as Bush does is a hallmark of great historic fiction writers. Reconstructing Jackson also touches on some intense subject matter: lynchings, murder, slavery, racism, child abduction... Again I was struck by how open Bush was to tackling such controversial material. These difficult and ugly concepts are central to her story, but she explores each, sometimes from surprising angles, forcing her readers to see and understand the prejudice and turbulence that characterized America after the Civil War. Then of course we come to Reed. My favorite aspect of the book, he is a man who stands upon his principles. Through him, Bush recreates the same sense of honor that led Robert E. Lee to refuse President Lincoln and take up arms for Davis. This isn't Atticus Finch, the reader isn't predisposed to like or appreciate what Reed does. No. Bush asks her audience, challenges them, dares them to look deeper to understand her character's foundations and the convictions that led him to wear gray in one of our nations darkest hours. I admit I am hesitant to read civil war fiction. Please excuse the pun, but I find most of it written in black and white when I know the truth is convoluted and penned in shades of gray. The courage Bush exhibits in creating a book that approaches these subjects without bias, offers such compelling characters as Reed, Belle and Beulah, combined with her obvious love and gift for storytelling make Reconstructing Jackson a remarkable and highly recommended piece of literature.

  • Deanna Sletten
    2019-04-30 14:33

    Reed Jackson returns home to his family plantation after the Civil War a broken man in a wheelchair and considered unfit by his father to claim his inheritance and his bride-to-be. So he leaves his home and moves to Fenton, Missouri to start a new life. The country is still struggling with the newfound ideas of free black men and women and the fact that it is no longer split between north and south. In this atmosphere, Reed also finds himself with an internal battle between his own past upbringing and the changes of the new United States. When he meets a young woman, Belle, who has no prospects and is treated like property by her family, he is not only enthralled by her beauty but also by her perseverance to better herself. Together, he and Belle forge a life as they learn what to love and respect about each other and how to break through their limitations for a full, rich life.Reconstructing Jackson once again reminds my why I love novels by Holly Bush. Her ability to place you into a previous time period and enthrall you with a story so compelling that you can't put it down is incredible. Her characters just jump off the pages and her historical knowledge rings true. In Reconstructing Jackson, she delves deeply into the uncomfortable topic of slavery and race relations from our country's history and writes about it thoughtfully and with integrity. Not only will you fall in love with these characters, but you will be entertained by this thought-provoking story.

  • Jenny Q
    2019-04-30 12:25

    2.5 Stars. After being so impressed with Romancing Olive, I had really high expectations for Reconstructing Jackson, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped I would. I had been really drawn to the idea of a hero in a wheelchair, and the setting and time period--Missouri two years after the Civil War--is perfect for a good, dramatic romance, but the story lacked the emotional connection that reached out and grabbed me in Romancing Olive. I had a hard time connecting to either of the main characters. As much as I wanted to love Belle, she just didn't seem to have much substance. All cheerfulness and sunshine, and often described as meek, but when she did decide to take a stand, her righteousness and backbone seemed to come out of nowhere. And Jackson was the reason I wanted to read the story, but he was bitter and judgmental, and not at all apologetic about it. That was fine in the beginning, but I wanted to feel more growth from him as the story went along. He is different at the end, but it seemed superficial. I felt like I was told a bunch of things about him, but never shown the real changes taking place. It didn't seem like he was very proactive in changing his life, rather he was influenced more by others. I kept waiting for his emotional breakthrough, but I didn't feel like it really ever came.I give the story big props for the setting and tone: the coming together of people from different ways of life, trying to figure out how to exist in the newly reunited United States. The story tackles serious issues and holds no punches, but I think the development of the romance suffered for it. With so much focus on racial tensions in the town and what was going on with other characters, there was no time to focus on what was going on between Belle and Jackson, and that's what I wanted more of. Even the ending seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought and I really wanted to get invested in these characters' lives. Other reviewers are raving about Reconstructing Jackson, so I seem to be in the minority with my opinions, but for me there just wasn't enough romance or emotional connection. However, I think it's worth a try for someone interested in this time period and in reading about a different type of hero.

  • Vikki Vaught
    2019-04-25 10:32

    This was such an engaging read. Belle and Reed's story captured my heart. Reed moves to Fenton, Missouri from the south, 2 years after the civil war. He arrives in Fenton a broken man. During the war, he lost his left lower leg and the right is mangled badly so he's in a wheel chair. Once Reed meets Belle, things move very quickly. Due to some extenuating circumstances, Reed and Belle marry, even though they are virtual strangers. I really enjoyed watching their love for each other develop. This novel is much more than a historical romance. It deals with the very real issues of slavery and the reconstruction period of history for our nation. Ms. Bush paints a vivid picture of the reality of the prejudices that existed then and still exist today.This is a story that will linger long in my mind and one that I will read again in the future. I highly recommend this book and could easily give it 5 stars. I look forward to reading other works from this author. I've read all three novels she's written and each of them have touched my heart.

  • Joy
    2019-05-02 15:23

    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.

  • Kimberly Rocha~ Book Obsessed Chicks
    2019-04-25 14:25

    Wheelchair bound, lawyer/ex-soldier, Reed Jackson arrives in Fenton, Missouri after being more or less disinherited by his father because of losing a leg in the Civil War. Reed, the eldest son was set to take over the family plantation and marry a local Southern Belle, until the unfortunate outcome which has the elder Jackson handing said bride-to be and the plantation over to another brother who has no infirmities. Once in Fenton, he moves into the Ames Hotel, which is owned by his cousin Henry and wife Mary Ellen. Upon his arrival, Reed meets the hotel manager Beulah who is a freed slave. Having been a soldier on the losing side of the Civil War, Reed is uncomfortable with Beulah's status and stature when he first arrives, but soon becomes fascinated by her pride and her determination.Belle Richards is the sacrificed young daughter of a dirt poor family in Fenton. The seventeen year old is beaten regularly by her ignorant and evil brother Jed, and her equally ignorant alcoholic father consistently but that doesn't break the young girl's spirit. In fact, it spurns her to better herself by fulfilling one of her dreams, to read. Beulah and her brother, a reverend, secretly school Belle and others in reading, but trouble begins when Belle's brother finds out. Post war Missouri is still reeling with prejudice as many of the Southern states are. Jed is so angry his sister is being taught how to read by blacks, that he beats Belle severely. Beaten and bloody, Belle winds up outside the Ames Hotel in the company of Beulah. Reed Jackson, quickly takes control of the situation and has Belle brought to his room to be doctored and watched over.When Belle's family comes the the Ames Hotel to force Belle to return to the hovel they live in, Reed asks Belle to marry him so she would be taken care of and never fear from her family again. She agrees.Marriage between these two people, so different from one another but so intriguingly compatible, makes this story extremely compelling. At first, Reed is resigned to the fact that he would never be able to do any better than the poor Belle, but soon he comes to realize that this woman has unflinching determination and a Hell of a lot of heart. All Belle ever wanted was a home a husband to love her and children, and once she is given the chance, she takes the bull by the horns. Tragedy soon strikes too close to home threatening the very lives of all Reed holds dear and when his new wife decides to take on the world, Reed must overcome his disability to become the man he has always meant to be.What can I say about this book? Well I have to tell you, Holly Bush is an extraordinary writer. Every time I read her books a cry and rejoice. Being the history buff that I am, I am always drawn to a good story pertaining to the highs and lows of our country. Holly Bush is not afraid to take the post Civil War sentiment and make it a lesson to all, even if it's in a fictional romance like Reconstructing Jackson. This is a fabulous read and I am proud to say that I have read every one of Holly Bush's books, am a big fan of hers and hope she continues with these stories that are so worth the time to read. I highly recommend Reconstructing Jackson.~KIMBERLY~Re-read Sept 2015

  • Ruth Hill
    2019-05-04 14:46

    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.

  • ѦѺ™
    2019-05-11 13:47

    “A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmareto the jeweled vision of a life started anew.” ― Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreamsthe Civil War may be over but it leaves Southern lawyer Reed Jackson physically crippled and emotionally bitter. Reed then moves to Fenton, Missouri and stays with his cousin Henry Ames and his wife Mary Ellen. as Reed gets settled, he meets Belle Richards and makes a decision that will change his life forever. author Holly Bush's historical romance takes a look at what the American Civil War has left in its wake and how it affected the lives of men, women and children in a small Western town. readable and fast-paced, this novel is more than a love story. bigotry, spirituality, literacy, honor, loyalty and integrity are some of the deeper issues that are examined within its pages. Ms. Bush weaves all of these into her story and the result is an emotional and inspiring book with a message to deliver. there are also intense and dramatic events that take place which Reed, Belle, the Ames and the citizens of Fenton must endure in the name of freedom and justice. overall, this is one of those novels that is hard to put down and that stays with you long after the last page is read. i highly recommend it! Disclosure of Material Connection: i received a copy from the author. i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was i obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  • Maureen Timerman
    2019-04-21 12:20

    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.

  • Vibina Venugopal
    2019-05-14 16:24

    The novel opens with Reed Jackson's sour spirit and a contagious aura of despair..Slowly I realised that he has every reason to feel dejected, he has lost his leg in the civil war, considered as no good nothing by his father, worse he not only loses his family inheritance but also his bride-to be to his younger brother...Worn out and utterly disappointed he moves to Fenton, Missouri to gather up the pieces and start all over again in the wild part of the country ..But he is quite taken aback by the warmth of his cousin and his wife right from day one...He starts his life at his cousin's hotel The Ames hotel..His cousin Henry and his wife Mary Allen come across as a wonderful couple , understanding about Reed's mood, they take every care to keep up his spirit light...They are quite friendly with the negro staffs dine with them and share a wonderful relationship with them...War had a terrible effect on Reed , he loses his older brother, his leg and everything around that took his life from being normal...Thus he contemplates"His thoughts of family were as muddy and murky as the bayou, filled with pride, resentment and the undeniable knowledge that he may have done the same things under the same circumstances. Maybe, just maybe, his mother’s encouragement to begin a new life elsewhere came from the heart. And maybe she was right. He had best try and forget the hurts and the wrongs of the past and make something of himself in a new land..."Enter Belle hardworking, family bound, earnest and loving daughter and sister whose feelings are never taken into consideration by her family,she washes her father and brother’s clothes, cooks the meals, tends the garden and manages to keep their meager farm operating. But nothing was enough, she was treated like a dirt by her father and brother, her brother has plans to marry her off as a part of bargain, in exchange of money to buy a horse...Belle is on the edge of life ,until she meets Reed, she discovers a spark in him that some way ignites her path of darkness, in spite of his physical disadvantage she sees him as a complete man...Slowly as the silent relation progress there is stark and clear change in the stone man Reed.. His layers of complexities unravel exposing his true self of a kind and a warm person..He is drawn to Belle but holds back because of his physical state..He is cripple and how can he think of saving the girl from her trouble, but he also knows that she is the sole hope for a life with love...How can Belle collapse the wall that Reed has built for himself and free herself from her brother's iron fist trying to cage her...Starting as a melancholy man, Reed's personality was something I really liked among all...The result of civil war with freedom to Negros taking roots is written well...Their lives their good, not so good, and bad relationship with their white masters and employees are portrayed well..Set in an age where things are moving towards a life of equality Bush has set the stage just fine for reflection...The soft charm of the countryside with heroism and villainy is the best part of the novel...Prejudice, hope, loss, anger, despair, anguish love are all mood of the book in different stage in different proportions...I would definitely love to read more of the author's work.

  • Kimberly Rocha~ Book Obsessed Chicks
    2019-05-21 15:33

    Wheelchair bound, lawyer/ex-soldier, Reed Jackson arrives in Fenton, Missouri after being more or less disinherited by his father because of losing a leg in the Civil War. Reed, the eldest son was set to take over the family plantation and marry a local Southern Belle, until the unfortunate outcome which has the elder Jackson handing said bride-to be and the plantation over to another brother who has no infirmities. Once in Fenton, he moves into the Ames Hotel, which is owned by his cousin Henry and wife Mary Ellen. Upon his arrival, Reed meets the hotel manager Beulah who is a freed slave. Having been a soldier on the losing side of the Civil War, Reed is uncomfortable with Beulah's status and stature when he first arrives, but soon becomes fascinated by her pride and her determination.Belle Richards is the sacrificed young daughter of a dirt poor family in Fenton. The seventeen year old is beaten regularly by her ignorant and evil brother Jed, and her equally ignorant alcoholic father consistently but that doesn't break the young girl's spirit. In fact, it spurns her to better herself by fulfilling one of her dreams, to read. Beulah and her brother, a reverend, secretly school Belle and others in reading, but trouble begins when Belle's brother finds out. Post war Missouri is still reeling with prejudice as many of the Southern states are. Jed is so angry his sister is being taught how to read by blacks, that he beats Belle severely. Beaten and bloody, Belle winds up outside the Ames Hotel in the company of Beulah. Reed Jackson, quickly takes control of the situation and has Belle brought to his room to be doctored and watched over.When Belle's family comes the the Ames Hotel to force Belle to return to the hovel they live in, Reed asks Belle to marry him so she would be taken care of and never fear from her family again. She agrees.Marriage between these two people, so different from one another but so intriguingly compatible, makes this story extremely compelling. At first, Reed is resigned to the fact that he would never be able to do any better than the poor Belle, but soon he comes to realize that this woman has unflinching determination and a Hell of a lot of heart. All Belle ever wanted was a home a husband to love her and children, and once she is given the chance, she takes the bull by the horns. Tragedy soon strikes too close to home threatening the very lives of all Reed holds dear and when his new wife decides to take on the world, Reed must overcome his disability to become the man he has always meant to be.What can I say about this book? Well I have to tell you, Holly Bush is an extraordinary writer. Every time I read her books a cry and rejoice. Being the history buff that I am, I am always drawn to a good story pertaining to the highs and lows of our country. Holly Bush is not afraid to take the post Civil War sentiment and make it a lesson to all, even if it's in a fictional romance like Reconstructing Jackson. This is a fabulous read and I am proud to say that I have read every one of Holly Bush's books, am a big fan of hers and hope she continues with these stories that are so worth the time to read. I highly recommend Reconstructing Jackson.~KIMBERLY~5 Stars (Hook Line a

  • Liz Terek
    2019-05-04 14:32

    Two years have passed since the Civil War ended. Reed Jackson has become wheelchair bound. With a chip on his shoulder & leftover racial prejudice, his family has encouraged him to go live with his Cousin Henry & his wife, Mary Ellen. War has stolen a good part of Reed’s life, resulting in the loss of a brother, a career, & his love life. Belle is a woman stuck in a man’s world. Her father is determined to force her into a loveless marriage. Days are spent catering to her male family members. She finds respite in her Bible meetings & secret rendezvous with a social outcast. Beulah is a free, African-American woman. Working for Reed’s cousin, she has worked to maintain a place in a world intent on stifling her growth. Having battled back from a childhood as a slave, she relies on her God-fearing nature to get her through. Each one has their own battles to face. Reed is a lawyer who now must face trying to have a career while convincing people that only his legs are useless. Belle hides secrets-she can read & has been taught by a person society won’t accept yet. Longing to escape her destiny as a farmer’s wife, her fear of being found out is second only to her will to succeed. Beulah knows that she may be free, but not from the opinions of others. As the country begins to heal from the War, can they also heal their own wounds? Or, will the scars remain too deep to close? Historical fiction fans will certainly be able to sink their teeth into Holly Bush’s newest novel. Even as a now seasoned author, she continues to challenge herself in this genre. Offensive language throughout the dialogues is indicative of this era. Although the horrors of slavery & war are unpleasant, they are part of American History. No country’s history is entirely pleasant. Sensitivities to racial slurs and cursing may create difficulty among some readers. Beulah’s character, a hard as steel overcomer, should be viewed as inspirational. Women such as Beulah have helped to mold our country into the one it is today. Reed’s anger towards his loss of mobility is understandable. At the very least, he’s man enough to admit his issues. His extended family are great characters who help direct the novel’s course. Belle is a strong heroine in her own right. Her family is detestable, but again, indicative of the era. Holly Bush is quite talented & there certainly is evidence of a great deal of research in this novel. Accuracy is the key in historical fiction & she’s grasped it. Perhaps if the slurs & language could’ve been implied instead of voiced, I’d have been a bit more attached to the novel. Nonetheless, its quality earns it 4 of 5 stars.

  • Kendal
    2019-05-16 18:20

    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.

  • Emmy
    2019-04-22 15:19

    A very well written book. I think the author has done a wonderful job of depicting a wide spectrum of human emotion. There are two main layers to this book - 1) the relationship of Reed and Belle and 2) attitudes towards race relations and slavery in the post antebellum US. In Belle and Reed the author presents us with two souls who have both suffered from painful pasts, and shows us two very different ways that that can shape a person. Belle, suffering physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father and brother for her entire life, growing up in poverty with no education, holds onto her dreams to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. Versus Reed who was brought up on a rich southern plantation under the rule of a domineering father and who then loses his legs in the war and is disinherited. He travels to Missouri under a dark cloud of self-pity, broken pride and melancholy with no hopes for the future. Yet these two people come together and Reed finds hope and joy in his future and Belle finally sees her dreams realized. Their different takes on life felt very authentic.The second part of this story deals with the post-slavery world. Reed, having been raised on a southern plantation, at first has a hard time letting go of the behaviors and prejudices he was raised with. Belle just yearning for love in her life and with a strong moral compass, can see beyond the color of people's skins. And then there are a number of secondary characters that represent so many other attitudes that people would have taken during this confusing time as the country was forced to reassess its economic and social future. There is some VERY strong language used (the 'n' work comes up a few times), that might upset some people, but it is definitely true to the period. The author presents the reader with some harsh truths about this period.

  • Dani Sue
    2019-05-13 14:48

    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.

  • Marg
    2019-04-24 14:46

    This book is kind of unusual for me to read, mainly because I don't go out of my way to read self published books. I don't have anything against them other than the fact that I want to not be taking risks on poor format, spelling, grammar and lacklustre storytelling. While I have read other self published books this year, it has been from authors that I already know that I like and trust.What prompted me to want to read this book though was the fact that I had seen some good reviews of previous books by the author and I liked the idea of a book being set just after the American Civil War. I was prepared to take the chance. And, for the most part, it is a risk that I am glad that I took! There were a few typos, but these days you can get those even in books published by the big name publishers, and I think there was a certain.... something... missing from the writing. Having said that, there were risks that the author took in telling the story that I couldn't necessarily see being allowed by a traditional publisher that made the reader journey a worthwhile one for me.To read more, head to http://www.theintrepidreader.com/2013...

  • Susan
    2019-05-07 17:23

    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.This review is based on a complimentary copy which was provided for an honest review.

  • Dianne
    2019-05-10 14:21

    Reconstructing Jackson is another winner from Holly Bush. From the opening page I was drawn into this story about 'two wounded souls' who come together and find love. It is beautifully written and I love the way Ms Bush closes the story - an exceptionally good ending in my opinion. I highly recommend this book and look forward to future books written by this very talented author.

  • Jody
    2019-04-23 10:32

    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.

  • Maria
    2019-05-19 14:28

    I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. I rated it 5 out of 5 Stars and a Recommended Read.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.

  • Suzan Tisdale
    2019-05-08 17:39

    I don’t normally read books from this era. However, I am so very glad that I did!Holly Bush weaves a very sweet romance into a time period and subject matter that is, to say the least, complicated and at times, quite ugly. Holly pulls no punches in regard to how slaves were treated after the war, to preconceived notions, and the struggle that people had when the war ended. At times, I did not like Reed Jackson, simply because of his hardheaded ways and his ideals. But I had to remind myself the time period we were dealing with and those notions made sense. Reed most definitely had a heart and a soul and there was no doubt that he fell in love with Belle the moment he first saw her. However, he was struggling with inner demons and pain and heartache. Holly dealt with him beautifully, allowing him to grow from the very first pages. That is not always an easy feat. Sometimes authors wait until the very end to redeem a character. We know from the start that there is hope for Reed. I loved that.Belle was undeniably sweet and strong. There is nothing over the top about this character. Holly was able to show the kind of life and upbringing this poor young girl had. With everything she had gone through, she still held on to a dream. It is Belle’s dream that had me in tears on more than one occasion. How simple yet profound can a pair of white curtains be? This is not a bodice ripper. This is not a typical romance. It is sweet, soft, gently building. There is passion, but on an entirely different level. You’ll have to read the book to understand what I mean. This is a clean romance, a sweet romance, yet there are elements and things happening that make you want to scream for people to stop being so insensitive, cruel, and ugly. But that is what sets this apart and makes it such a beautiful read.I look forward to reading more from Ms. Bush!

  • Books Mom
    2019-05-10 17:36

    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.

  • Asha Pena
    2019-04-25 12:35

    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. Check out more reviews at Asha Butterflys

  • Beverly McCall
    2019-05-07 18:21

    Holly Bush does it again! An exceptionally well told story dealing with heartbreaking aspects of a time when the world (America) was in chaos—the post-Civil war. Ms. Bush did a great job developing her characters and this book has the full range of characters to include bigots, bullies and abusers. The main characters are multidimensional as well as being damaged. It is their handling of their circumstances unite them. Ms. Bush’s characters demonstrate kindness, courage and a basic human decency which endures the reader to their plight. I also thought that Ms. Bush’s approach to her setting the Civil War into the tragedies of human life in its after effect was excellent. The dialog also contributed to the authenticity of the setting. She is able to transport the reader back in time. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical romance stories.

  • Alice
    2019-05-18 11:18

    Southern ReconstructionA confederate officer returns home from the war missing a leg and in a wheelchair. His father deeming him unfit, deeds the plantation and his former fiancee over to his younger brother. So Reed Jackson leaves home for Missouri where some cousins live, to practice law in a small town. There he finds that the war really isn't over as both tragedy and bliss await him.Excellent, heart touching story with the growth of love between two wounded people. Very minimal married sexual encounters, intrinsic to the story and tastefully done. Very intense interactions between the whites and the former slaves, resulting in personal growth for Reed in particular as he meets challenges physically, culturally and emotionally. He truly is reconstructed.

  • Wanda Sue
    2019-04-24 17:26

    Well done and realisticWhile I am jarred and indignant to hear the "n" word, in the context of this book it is historically accurate. In the years following the Civil War, the country was in turmoil, with bitterness a prevailing emotion. I very much enjoyed the characters, and observed their journeys of growth and new understanding. I was not crazy about Reed Jackson, the hero, when the story opens, but once away from his native South, he sees the world through new eyes, and begins to change, and becomes a more admirable man. Give this book a go, especially if you are a fan of post-Civil War America.