beautiful glittering lie

A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Winner of Editor’s Choice Award

Honorable Mention – 2013 DIY Book Festival

Honorable Mention – 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival

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.

In this historical tale, 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.

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Author: J. D. R. Hawkins

Fiction / Historical / War/Military / Drama / Suspense

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing LLC (January 31, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1643619942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1643619941

Available from Westwood Books Publishing

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“Hawkins’s Narrative Stands Out”

– The US Review of Books

“The voices of thousands of wounded soldiers rose up from the ground in an eerie, harmonious chorus.”

In typical Hawkins fashion, the spirit of the battle, its highest highs and lowest lows, has been impeccably captured from the perspective of ordinary citizens turned soldiers. In this first volume of the Renegade Series, the author delivers an incredibly realistic experience for the audience. Readers not only get to read about the Civil War in an engaging manner, but they also get to feel the era come to life with the characters, their mannerisms, dialogue, and the tensions that tug at them as they are forced into difficult choices.

While history has already chronicled the Civil War, novels like this one truly embody the essence of the catalyst that led to bloodshed and the ensuing emotional turmoil. The novel opens up with the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis, declaring in no uncertain terms through a grand speech that war is inevitable. Just as jarring in the same opening scene, where morale is at an all-time high and dreams of glory are transcending reality, is the seemingly casual yet well-placed reference to “faithful slaves,” who were tending to the sprained ankle of a slave owner’s wife. From the onset, this historical novel sets the stage for what many future historians will likely perceive not as a battle between the Union and Confederacy but a fight for the nation’s identity, its soul.

Many storylines run concurrently, with the prequel shedding light on a young David Summers before he has become hardened by battle and softened by love. Characters like Hiram are beyond endearing, and one really is forced to wonder how many needless lives, how many broken homes, and how many unfinished stories stain the battlegrounds of the Civil War. While names like General Lee and Stonewall Jackson will certainly add an aura of familiarity for audiences, the ordinary lives of citizens like Hiram and Bud are the ones readers will root for because they are true reflections of unbiased humanity.

Whether in the budding relationship between David and his stallion, Renegade, or the innocence and purity of David learning to play the guitar, Hawkins has an uncanny knack for character development as she builds a backstory with the main characters that audiences of the other Renegade books will devour. Though David has yet to join the battlefield at this point, he represents the thousands of young men whose parents went to battle, leaving their sons to accelerate their coming-of-age stories and thrusting them into the role of protector and provider for their families.

Above all else, the narrative is based upon the prerequisite of placing each character out of his comfort zone. The result is seeing the indomitable human spirit rise in the face of the grimmest adversities. Although equipped with the same essential facts as one would find in a history book, Hawkins’s narrative stands out in its ability to bring these moments to life in a way that is universally relatable and evergreen. Free-flowing with intriguing character development against the backdrop of a bloody yet pivotal time in American history, this narrative is a compelling must-read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Review by Mihir Shah

“The absolute perfect read for those who enjoy historical fiction.”

Pacific Book Review

One of the United States most deadly and harrowing wars fought was perhaps amongst itself, when the nation became divided, and the North fought the South during the Civil War. Although most of the lessons we learned from this horrific war center greatly on the battle to end slavery and free those who sought nothing more than the freedom to exist, the battles itself and those who were on the front lines face so much death and pain that those issues seemed like something out of another lifetime, on both sides. As Anthony Minghella once said, “The only lesson to extract from any civil war is that it’s pointless and futile and ugly, and that there is nothing glamorous or heroic about it. There are heroes, but the causes are never heroic.”

In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s historical fiction novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War, the author explores a rarely seen side of the conflict; that of a lone family from Alabama whose patriarch went off to fight in the war, and the brutal realities of war they faced both on the frontlines and at home. The first in the author’s The Renegade Series, the story focuses on the Summers family, when father Hiram enlists in the Confederate Army and his son David must stay behind to help his mother and sisters care for the family farm. Although spurned on by the idea of patriotism for their Southern states and ideals, the realities of the war soon come to the forefront for both father and son. One witnesses the gruesome violence the war brought out on both sides, and the other sees everything from the grim reality of slavery and the emotional turmoil and fear that comes with waiting for a loved one to return home safely.

This is a truly captivating and engaging read right from the very start. The author did such an incredible job of incorporating both the horrific and gruesome details of the battles fought during this war and the personal and heartbreaking realities which families faced at home when their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers all left for the battlefield. The way the author fairly examined the history from the Confederate side and the mentality that drove so many to this path of war while also highlighting those moments when protagonist David felt guilt and sadness over the conditions and treatment of the slaves was so poignant and helped showcase that the realities of the battle and life were often lost in the politics and economics that fueled this war’s beginning.

The absolute perfect read for those who enjoy historical fiction, especially the study of the Civil War, this novel is emotionally driven and does an amazing job of paying attention to details historically which elevated the characters’ arcs. As a fan of historical fiction, I was fascinated and moved by the voice and tone the author found for these characters, and highlighted that once war has begun, the bloodlust that overtakes some soldiers on either side often leads to violence and dispensable acts that have nothing to do with the morality of the war’s conflict, but man’s inherent need to fight. For in the end, as in all wars, no one truly “won” the war, but instead an end to the conflict was truly found.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your own copy of author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Beautiful Glittering Lie today and prepare for a masterfully emotional and beautifully written narrative with a shocking twist ending that leaves readers wanting more.

Review by Anthony Avina

“Bone-chillingly real, emotionally-driven, and thought-provoking.”

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.

Hollywood Book Reviews