Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush (Review + Giveaway)

Today, Love Saves the World is pleased to welcome back Holly Bush. She is currently on tour for her book, Reconstructing Jackson.

Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To visit her other blog stops, click here.

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About the book:


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

“Coming, Pa,” Belle Richards called out from the garden. She had weeded the bean plants and let her toes squish in the mud left by last night’s rain as she looked up and shaded her eyes from the glare of the sun. Her tabby wound his way through the garden to her outstretched hand and she straightened her aching back. Belle unhooked the back hem of her skirt where she had pulled it up between her legs and hooked over her apron, letting the heavy fabric fall. She dunked her feet into yesterday’s wash water still sitting by the back steps.

“Belle,” her father bellowed.

“No need to holler, Pa,” Belle said as she stepped into the house.

“What’s for eats?” her oldest brother, Jed asked.

“Turnip stew.”

Jed grimaced. “That shit again. I don’t want no more of it.”

Belle turned to him. “Then get yourself into the woods and shoot some rabbit.”

Jed jumped from his chair. He grabbed her arm. “No need to git smart, girlie.”

Belle sobered and met his stare unblinking, wondering if her father would intervene.

“Let her go, Jed. Your sister’s right. Git that half-wit brother of yours and git us some meat for the pot,” Tom Richards said from his chair.

Belle went to the sink and poured water from a bucket over the beans she had picked.

“Git me a bottle, Belle,” her father said.

Belle turned and looked at him, pleadingly. “In a minute, Pa. Let me get these beans washed.”

“My back’s a killin’ me girl. Get it now,” he shouted.

Belle gave in, as she had done since her earliest memory. She reached down to a low shelf and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.

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My Review:

I've had the pleasure of reading Holly Bush's Romancing Olive and was very excited to have the chance to read this book, Reconstructing Jackson.

At the center of the story is Reed Jackson, a Southern gentleman, a former Confederate soldier and a lawyer. After losing the use of his legs in the war, and the losing his fiancée and his inheritance to his younger, more able, brother, Reed has come to Fenton, Missouri to start anew. With the help of his cousin, he settles into the new town and his new life. Fenton is inhabited by individuals like Henry Ames and Dr. Jim Lowell who represent the new American spirit of equal rights but there are still many in Fenton whose lives are deeply rooted in the past, like the Richards.

I loved reading about Reed's struggle to be good and to do good -- and his greatest challenge comes in the form of Jed Richards (Read Chapter 12). So many forces come into play as Reed makes a painful and unpopular decision -- but we can see that he is sincere in wanting to do what is right. Reed finds the courage to do what he believes is right because of his faith and conviction. It was also wonderful to see Belle be so supportive of her husband, despite her own reservations.

The characters in Holly Bush's Reconstructing Jackson aren't caricatures but have dimension and depth. I especially love Reed's mother, Lily -- who, I think showcases what it means to be a lady. (Read p. 138) She also "wrote" one of my favorite parts in the novel:

I pray every night that my urging for you to make this drastic change was the right one. More than anything I want you to be happy. Open your heart, Reed. I beg of you to forget the past and find new joys and friends. I fear our shabby porch became your cloister. Do not be afraid, Reed. I know in my soul that God has much for you to do and be. Let Him lead you. With all my love, Mother.
- p. 40

This novel deals with issues of slavery and discrimination. Holly Bush presents an unflinching view of post-Civil War America and the country's struggle to shake off old traditions and embrace new ones and the author delves into the subject with honesty and balance.

Disclosure: Review copy was provided by Goddess Fish Promotions. Many thanks to the author and to Goddess Fish for the opportunity. And, yes, this is an honest review.

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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 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.

Twitter: @hollybushbooks

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Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To visit her other blog stops, click here.


  1. Hi Holly.

    I love historical novels and find US history particularly fascinating. I wish you the best of luck with the book.

  2. Good morning Maria and thanks to the Goddess Fish ladies for organizing my tour and to Love Saves the World for having me. I'm glad to meet a fellow US history lover, Maria! I've always liked books about the West but this period, post Civil War, must have been very difficult for all of our citizens and really lends its self to drama.

  3. I'm a big fan of American Historical Romances/Fiction set in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries. I'm glad to see a new post-civil war book on the market. I enjoy anything dealing with the Civil War (before, during & after). Have you watched Hell on Wheels on AMC? Excellent program set in the same time period.

    Haven't purchased the book yet, but the way this excerpt ended, I'm wondering of Jed gets mean & abusive when he's drinking.

  4. Thanks for the great review. I always appriciate when bloggers use specific examples rather then just broad generalizations to decribe the book

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  5. Thank you for an excellent review. I love stories set in this time period so I'm looking forward to reading Reconstructing Jackson.


  6. I haven't watched Hell on Wheels, Karen, but will have to take a look. Some of my first and favorite American historical romances were by Maggie Osborne. Is she on anyone else's favorite list?

  7. Very beautiful review! I like your writing style :) As for the book, definitely sounds fun though it's out of my usual type of read. Thanks for sharing!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  8. Hi, everyone!

    Thank you for dropping by and helping me welcome Holly.

    And, thank you, for the kind words about my review. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did. ^_^

    Have a great day!

  9. Thank you for sharing a thoughtful review. I am very much looking forward to reading this novel!


  10. This looks like a cool read. Something I would like. I love the old-timey cover. Very retro.
    mestith at gmail dot com

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