J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the category “book review”

A Rebel Among Us Has Received Another Five-Star Review!

My novel, A Rebel Among Us, has received numerous reviews lately. (This book is the third one in the Renegade Series.) Here is a five-star review I received recently. Thank you, Mr. Grady Harp, for your flattering review!

Grady Harp

5.0 out of 5 stars A very fine Civil War novel!

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 11, 2023

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Author/singer/songwriter JDR Hawkins writes novels and articles for newspapers, magazines, e-zines and blogs about the Civil War from the Confederate perspective. Her RENEGADE Series is rapidly winning multiple awards and there are four volumes – DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD, A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE, A BECKONING HELLFIRE, and this volume A REBEL AMONG US. These novels relate the story of a family from northern Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.

At this particular time in our history, when questions are being raised about the validity of statues and memorabilia of the Civil War, creating heated discussions and confrontations, this book offers a fresh view of the Civil War from the Southern, and Confederate, stance. Hawkins makes this revisit to the Confederate South lively with her eloquent prose as she opens this volume: “Anna!” She dropped the darning in her lap. Her sister called her name again, this time with more urgency. Springing form the rocker, Anna ran from the room and scurried down the wooden staircase. Maggie clung to the newel post. “There’s someone in the barn!” That degree of dramatic intensity makes this novel ring.

The plot is outlined as follows: ‘David Summers never expected any of this…not in a million years. He thought for sure he was a goner. After leaving Alabama and enlisting with the cavalry, his delusion of chivalry was suddenly quashed when he saw for himself the horrors of battle. Now, after being shot and ending up at a strange farmhouse, he’s found himself being nursed back to health by four beautiful girls, and has learned that his Confederate brethren have deserted him in Pennsylvania after fighting at Gettysburg. It’s more than he can fathom. On top of that, he’s been presented with an even bigger dilemma. He knows he’s falling in love with the older sister, Anna, and she has enticed him with an interesting proposition. However, her scheme goes against his principles, and the reasons why he enlisted in the first place – to avenge his father’s death and defend his sacred homeland. To David’s dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, deceiving everyone around him by pretending to be a Yankee? If discovered, he would be considered a traitor to the cause, and she could be in jeopardy of treason. Or should he leave the farm, say goodbye to her, and risk certain capture? Either way, his perilous situation doesn’t seem to offer an encouraging outcome. If that isn’t bad enough, Anna’s neighbor, a Union officer, is in love with her, too, and he would stop at nothing to have David arrested … or worse.’ This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.

Five-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I received this five-star review from Hollywood Book Reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This is the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Christina Avina, for your awesome review!

Title: A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War (Book One of The Renegade Series) 

Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1643619941 

Pages: 199 

Genre: Military Historical Fiction 

Reviewed by: Christina Avina  

Hollywood Book Reviews 

Throughout the history of the United States, one of the few wars ever fought on American soil, as well as one of the bloodiest and most heart wrenching, was the American Civil War. The battle that was fought between brothers, fathers, and sons not only saw battle lines drawn between the Northern and Southern states, but saw a major 

impact on the homes and lives of everyday families on both sides of the war, something not seen in the United States since the country’s founding. 

In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War, the author showcases this struggle for both the soldiers and the families they left behind back at their homes as the Civil War bloomed large over the nation. When the patriarch for an Alabama family goes off to fight on the front lines, he must face the brutality of war while his family is left to struggle with their land, their family life, and the horrors of war which threaten to come to their doorstep. Meanwhile, the son of the father who left to fight in the war dreams of the idealized version of patriotism that so many believed in, but soon he and his father are treated to the grim realities the war brought on as violence and emotional turmoil drove fear straight into their lives. 

The author did an incredible job of showcasing the tragedy and heartbreak of war in general, as well as the historical realities of the American Civil War. As this is the first in the author’s Civil War era historical fiction series, the author did an amazing job of crafting a narrative that did a wealth of world-building and backstory for the future of the series while making this specific narrative feel complete and well-rounded. The chilling nature of war and the impact this war had on individual families, especially those families left behind in the Southern States who were not part of the wealthy elite and higher officers who fought for the power and ethical issues that the Civil War is best known for today, was felt gravely through both Hiram and his son David’s experiences. 

This is the perfect and most memorable read that a reader will experience for those who enjoy historical fiction series, especially those that enjoy American history and in particular the American Civil War. This will also resonate with those who enjoy historical fiction that focuses both on the history and the development of both the physical and emotional journey that the cast of characters involved in this particular point in history experience. The intimacy and thought-process of those who not only fought in the war but experienced life back at home, and those who had to fight to differentiate the propaganda and idealism of war from the realities it often brings. Bone-chillingly real, emotionally-driven, and thought-provoking, author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a must-read novel for those who enjoy historical fiction and glimpses at life during the American Civil War. The heartbreak and horrors that these characters experience showcase a theme that plays out so sophisticatedly throughout this narrative, which is that in war in general, but the Civil War in particular, there was no winner and loser involved. When blood is shed and we are forced to fight our fellow man, we all lose.

Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

I came across this review for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, that I wanted to share. A Beckoning Hellfire is the second book in the Renegade Series, and tells the story of a family from north Alabama and how the war impacts them. A Beckoning Hellfire centers around the son, David Summers, as he enlists with J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry. Thank you for the review, Scarlett Jensen!

Scarlett Jensen

What a cruel thing is war

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Copyright © 2021 by J.D.R. Hawkins. A Beckoning Hellfire.  Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. This is a widely researched historical novel.

A Beckoning Hellfire follows the same family as in her previous book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. With her novels, you’re doing more than just reading; you experience. It is recommended to fiction lovers even if historical is not your favorite.  You are transported into the human side of war.

The validity of war, as well as Hiram’s death in the Battle of Fredericksburg, motivates David to convince his best friend, Jake, to go with him and enlist in the Confederate army, more to avenge his father than for idealism.

Expressing horror, suffering and cruelty of war the author recounts the human side of this war. Historical facts that mix with a look into how the war is seen from the eyes of a young soldier, tell the story of a family from north Alabama. But what a cruel thing is war. To separate and destroy families and friends and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world. To fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world…My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men. —Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife, December 25, 1862.

Things  taken for granted before: Impending darkness engulfed David’s heart. Feeling the need for solitude, “I’ve heard tales as many as half a dozen from this county alone, died fighting with Hiram.”

Resentment and hostility simmered throughout the county. The Northern invaders had taken David’s father, and all he could think about was his own vendetta.

Excerpt:

“Fightin’ for the grand ole Southland. And of you. He talked about you all the time, David. How much of a man you’d become, and how you hoped it would last long enough to see his intentions through. I see it, you’re the next of your pa’s kin to pay for his mistake.” 

What with the Yankees breathin’ down our necks? David plans to join  the army. “What about the crops? Jake will git in with the cavalry. Ma, how will we kill any Yankees ? God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party – and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to affect His purpose. Ma’s voice softened his heart and calmed him, like an angelic phenomenon.

David wanted a chance to avenge Pa’s death. He had already committed a murder. Captured before he reached Virginia, runnin’ from, he thought to himself. He would run away for now, fight for his father’s honor, and deal with this whole awakening in the people of the highest emotions and qualities of the human soul.

We have a tale demonstrating the strife cultivating feelings of patriotism, virtue, and courage. Instances of self-sacrifice and of generous soldiers of the Confederate States of America, to give an oath of allegiance.

For David, this could be the last time he’d ever see Alabama again. He already felt homesick. David was on the run.  Was Jake an accomplice to a murder by David?

The war: Yankees  had exhilaration in their hearts that bubbled out into hilarity. Some damn Yankee tyrants, men in combat screamed, slashed, and cursed. Bullets whizzed, and thousands of hooves thundered. This story reminds you of the glorious land of Dixie, and proves that they were of noble race and lineage In the history of the country.

Awesome Review from Diabolic Shrimp

I received an awesome review last week for my novel, Double-Edged Sword, from Diabolic Shrimp. If you are unaware of Diabolic Shrimp, it is a website run by Josh Grant to advertise his books, and post reviews of other books as well. He also does many wonderful things, including helping to fund ocean exploration, supporting UNICEF and homeless single moms, and numerous other humanitarian interests. He has a line of comic books that he writes too, so check out his website!

Double-Edged Sword

JDR Hawkins

JDR Hawkins brings us a really interesting and human look at the Reconstruction era with Double-Edged Sword!  With the end of the Civil War, ex Confederate David Summers returns to a war torn home and begins to attempt to pick up the pieces.  But when a confrontation erupts with an old enemy, David is forced to stand trial.  Hawkins always brings the past to life so vividly and seamlessly, and seeing Reconstruction through David and his family’s eyes was very deep and intriguing!  I especially found the court case and the arguments around fairness in a postwar Union to be particularly fascinating, and I honestly had to keep flipping forward to figure out what would become of David!  If you love historic fiction, the Civil War era, or even court dramas, definitely dive back into the deep South with Double-Edged Sword!

This book is also being featured on Diabolical Shrimp’s footer ad space, along with my other books in the Renegade Series.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp5fRXb9o-yIOgzZsjl8BCw

https://www.fiverr.com/gran7973

Thank you, Josh, for featuring my books, and for writing your review!

A Few More Five-Star Reviews for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Here are a few more five-star reviews that my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, recently received. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series, which tells the story of a family from north Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts them. Thank you so much, A. Cannady, Amy K. and Hamza, for your five-star reviews!


A Cannady

5.0 out of 5 stars A great story!

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 18, 2023

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A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War is a fantastic story around a family’s struggle during the civil war. The storyline is great and the scenes were set up very vividly with great character representation. I enjoy good history books and this one was definitely right up there with the best of them. I highly recommend this book to all history buffs and war buffs.

Amy K.

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Enjoyable

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 17, 2023

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“A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War,” by J.D.R. Hawkins is the first book in the Renegade series. This book is highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of historical fiction. This book really takes you back in time and will truly leave you highly engaged and wanting more with every turn of the page.

Hamza

5.0 out of 5 stars The struggles surrounding Civil War

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 17, 2023

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“A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War (The Renegade Series Book 1)” is a historical tale that narrates the civil war in America. From being enlisted in Army to numerous sacrifices for the sake of the family, the novel offers a fascinating action packed storyline. The story is portrayed from the perspective of a mother, a solider and the youth of the present time. The book makes you understand the Civil War goes beyond Slavery. The writer has provided a strong revision of history through enlightening storytelling. Overall it is an emotional and delicate recap of America’s Civil War.

More Five-Star Reviews for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Recently, I received more five-star reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, and I wanted to share them. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. It tells the story of a family from north Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts them. Thank you so much for the reviews!

Nicki

5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Story on Civil War from the Viewpoint of the Confederate

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 14, 2023

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This is a beautiful story of a family’s sacrifices and struggles as they stand up to a belief and their country. While we, as readers, encounter all the perils of the war, some ugly truths also surface, that make us question about the many facts and legends associated with the Civil War.

Michele Klawitter

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful lies for sure

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 13, 2023

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This book is a historical fiction centered around the Civil War. Not for the weak hearted. The POV in this is from the south so keep that in mind. Not for everyone but a good read. Great job to the author.

Amazing Five-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Here is another five-star review I received for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Grady Harp, for your amazing review!

Grady Harp

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historical fiction

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 12, 2023

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Author/singer/songwriter JDR Hawkins writes novels and articles for newspapers, magazines, e-zines and blogs about the Civil War from the Confederate perspective. Her RENEGADE Series is rapidly winning multiple awards; the initial volume is this exceptional book – A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE. This series, now four books in number, relate the story of a family from northern Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. At this particular time in our history, when questions are being raised about the validity of statues and memorabilia of the Civil War, creating heated discussions and confrontations, this book offers a fresh view of the Civil War from the Southern, and Confederate, stance. For a more complete picture of that historical event, Hawkins has created a fictional revisit to that mid 1800s time and her writing is inviting, from the first lines: “Oh, look! Here he comes!” Jenny exclaimed. The crowd exploded with cheers. David looked over to where she was pointing, his hazel eyes squinting in the bright sunshine. An elegant black lacquered carriage drawn by six white horses pulled up to the steps of the regal Greek revival-style state building. Eight musicians burst into “Dixie’s Land.” A slender, steely middle-aged gentleman stepped out of the carriage and was escorted by military personnel to a waiting platform, where he took his seat. “He looks sickly to me,” remarked David’s father, Hiram…’ Approaching her novel from the family standpoint allows everyone entry to better understand the Confederate vantage.

With that sense of presence, the plot progresses as follows: ‘In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known. After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline – Hiram’s wife and David’s mother – struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart. The naïveté of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure – regardless of the perilous cost.’

This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.

New Reviews for Double-Edged Sword

I recently received several new reviews for my latest novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth in the Renegade Series, and has already reached The #1 spot on Amazon. I’d like to share some of these reviews with you. Thanks so much for the awesome reviews, and for your continuing support!

I received this review from Leaders Press.

And here are a few more from readers.

Santiago Flores

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read

Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2022

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Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by J.D.R. Hawkins is a story that shows how a man can be changed after war. The quality of the novel is undoubtedly great. I liked how characters were developed and how the main character’s change was shown. I also enjoyed the dialogues, which seem quite accurate with real life. I recommend reading it.

Robin

5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and intense

Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2022

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Double-edged sword by J.D.R. Hawkins is an astounding story filled with remarkable character experiences and intense adversities. The troubles and conflicts brought on by the result of combat run deep. Instability and turmoil are triggered though violent behavior and suffering. It was rather fascinating learning about the life of soldiers following war, and the author does a great job of capturing genuine emotion. This is a very thought-provoking book that I would highly recommend.

Adriana Capitani

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read

Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2022

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Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by author J.D.R. Hawkins is an enjoyable read that can be a very good stand alone – so, if you haven’t read the previous ones, you would be able to understand this one.
The scenery, the description of characters and the dialogues are well created, making the reader immerse in the story easily. I would totally recommend reading it.

An Awesome Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

This review was recently posted on Goodreads. Thank you so much, Sophie Narey, for your review!

Double-Edged Sword Receives Another Five-Star Review

I recently received this review from Vine Voice for my latest novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Piaras, for your review!

Piaras

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read epic historical drama.Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 12, 2022

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The American Civil War has come to an end. David Summers, a Confederate cavalryman, goes back to Alabama with his new wife, Anna, to settle down there after serving in the war. Upon returning, he is aware of the profound impact that the war has had, not only on himself but also on his homeland. As a result of being confronted with the difficulties of transition, he acquires the skills necessary to negotiate both his new reality and the agony and trauma of his past. Additionally, he is compelled to face off with his adversaries, one of whom is Stephen Montgomery. Their deep-seated animosity for one another will inevitably lead to a violent altercation, during which David will be taken into custody. Even though he was a member of the Confederacy in the past, do you think the jury will believe his side of the story? Or will he be executed by hanging for his crime?

Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by award-winning author J.D.R. Hawkins is a well-written and researched historical drama about the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and the difficult years that came to be known as the Reconstruction era. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and a well-deserved five stars from me.

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