Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Straight Reading from the Library: Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush

Thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for sending me this book to review. Be sure to leave a comment because Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  There are other reviews as well--check them out here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/02/virtual-review-tour-reconstructing.html  Want to know what the book is about?


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.


Reconstructing Jackson is an interesting look into the USA following the Civil War.  While I don't read a lot of historical romance, I do love to read early American.  As one who cut my teeth on Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour, the stories about how the US came to be have always fascinated me.  Reconstructing Jackson was no exception.

It wasn't an easy read.  Times are difficult for everyone in the book from the crippled hero, to the abused heroine, to the "darkies" who are now technically free, but still have to fight for every freedom we take for granted.  Ms. Bush has done a good job painting a picture of the time.  I admit to struggling to like our hero at first. It's difficult to sympathize with a confederate soldier's opinions on things in this day and age.  Still, Reed redeems himself over time.  Thankfully, he earns the love of a good woman to help him through.

Part romance, part historical fiction, Reconstructing Jackson was a story which satisfied both the desires of my heart and the needs of my head.  If you're a fan of early American historical romances, then this is one I can easily recommend.


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.



  1. Good morning Judith! Thanks so much for having me and thanks to the lovely ladies at Goddess Fish for introducing us. I won't be able to post again till this evening but I'm really looking forward to hearing from your followers and hoping they have some questions for me. Do we have some historical romance fans in the crowd?

  2. Never having read much american historical fiction, I'm not really sure if this is the book for me. You make it sound fabulous...but I don't know...do you think it's a good book for a first timer???

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

    1. Hi Andra Lyn,
      I've always categorized Reconstructing Jackson as a historical romance rather than historical fiction but historical fiction readers have really enjoyed it. It has the Happily Ever After that historical romance readers require but there are more serious subjects and some violence in this book so it is not a standard/typical romance. If you're looking for a more traditional historical romance why don't you try my book, Train Station Bride. Does this help?

  3. Thanks for your honest review. I am glad that Reed was eventually able to win you over with his transformation, sometimes changes can be hard but it is great to see a character grow in the story

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  4. Thank you for the review, I'm looking forward to reading the story.


  5. Thanks for sharing your review today. I know I'll enjoy reading this book. Question to Holly: There seems to be a resurgent interest in American Westerns (so to speak) on TV and film in recent years. Hell on Wheels is one of my favorite TV programs now. if your book were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the parts of your lead characters?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. In my head, Jackson was always Val Kilmer. From the very first line I wrote, that's who I pictured. As far as Belle goes, even though the hair is the wrong color, I've always pictured Ashley Judd. Thanks for asking, Karen! Great question!

  6. I just kept thinking the poor bride. Deeded away like so much property.