A Becharmed Callie Christmas

A Becharmed Callie Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year … but will it be different this Christmas?

Callie Mae Copeland is the only child of affluent landowner, Sullivan Copeland, and his wife, Faye. Because Callie has been doted on her entire life, she is pampered and outspoken. Although the Civil War is looming and is in its second year, it hasn’t affected the Copelands or their neighbors in north Alabama too much … yet.

Once she turns sixteen, Callie realizes the influence she has over boys her age and uses her flirtatious graces to her advantage. She turns her sights on Christmas and is determined to do everything in her power to make the Copeland’s annual Christmas party a success. Although money is tight, she convinces her father to buy material for her stunning new Christmas gown. She can’t wait for the party so that she can impress her beau, his best friend, and all the other guests who are invited.

But following the party, Callie is abruptly faced with the realization that the war is closer than she imagined, and everything is uncertain. A terrifying thought consumes her. Will this be the last Christmas she will ever see in her family’s old antebellum home? Will anything ever be the same again?

Buy It Now

Author: J. D. R. Hawkins

Fiction / Historical / War/Military / Drama / Suspense / Young Adult

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CN2D4YMW
  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (November 7, 2023)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-8866387212

“This book could serve as a companion to the novel Gone with the Wind.”
– The US Review of Books

“It seemed the war wasn’t as glamorous as she had been told.”

In this novel of historical fiction, the author delivers the flavor and essence of high society life in the South during the Civil War era. The charmed and unfazed young belles get glimpses of the outside world, though they tend to quickly look away. They are a living portrait of joyful naïveté and innocence. The main character, Callie Copeland, plans parties and thinks about boys. She is a privileged and sheltered sixteen-year-old beauty, and she is well aware of it. Her cares about the war are usually remote, but sometimes bubble to the surface, “She suddenly realized how fragile life was. So many soldiers had died, and so many families had lost their loved ones. She was one of the lucky ones.”

This book could serve as a companion to the novel Gone with the Wind with respect to its focus on the cares of young, privileged ladies of the 1860s: “There would be no more worries until after the Yule, and she would make happy, even if it meant appearing insensitive.” Perhaps the best elements within the narrative are the artful descriptions that take readers right into the life of the South’s elite with their details of the antebellum homes, rooms, and decor. “A thick pink quilt covered her four-poster bed. A fire crackled in the white marble fireplace at the opposite end of the room.” The message is subtle but obvious that war is unspeakably terrible, even amongst those who are living more remotely and are less aware of the ugliness of military conflict directly. As all good authors do, Hawkins shows rather than tells, never preaching. The book ends each chapter with a letter home from the war front. It brings the juxtaposing viewpoints to the forefront. In short, Hawkins’ novel is exquisitely done.

Review by Toby Berry

“A poignant book which would make a great fireside read.”
– Hollywood Book Reviews 

A bestselling, award-winning author of Civil War fiction, J.D.R. Hawkins adds another  installment to her well-received The Renegade Series, which focuses on the life-altering  effects of the Civil War on a family from Alabama. To which, this book, A Becharmed Callie Christmas, adds to the atmosphere and perspective of the war and those touched by it. 

To begin with, the characterizations are intrinsically realistic as we get to meet the central character, Callie Copeland. She is young, pretty, and spoiled. Also, she comes from an affluent family; her father is a wealthy landowner. Callie is often indulged by her well-to do-father, who gives in to her whims most of the time. Set during the midst of the second year of the Civil War, while a war wages on, Callie’s world revolves around friends; their concerns hover around the perfect dress, parties, especially an upcoming planned Christmas party, and of course, attention from males. Additionally, the other characters are also realistically presented according to the time period, as their interactions and conversations portray the sentiments and culture existing at that time.

Meanwhile, as the time for the long-awaited Christmas party approaches, life for Callie  becomes fraught with a mix of emotions as events in her life bring on both sadness and  happiness. However, Callie’s world is completely rattled, when she has a near death  experience and experiences a change in conscience when she realizes not only her own  mortality, but the mortality of the Confederate soldiers fighting in the war who are dying. 

Overall, I enjoyed A Becharmed Callie Christmas, as it made for an artfully written read.  Author J.D.R. Hawkins did a wonderful job of detailing the lives and landscape of the Civil War South, making this a brief, but altogether, impactful read. Throughout the narrative, I found myself engaged in this story, fraught with elements of life, loss, and love, from a time long past. Moreover, this book presents thoughtful exploration of the effects of the Civil War – told from the Confederate viewpoint, offering readers a brief exploration of the Southern perspective. Also, adding an intriguing touch interspersed throughout the story are letters from Confederate soldiers offering peeks into the way the war affected those out  in the fields of war. 

Ultimately, this was a poignant book which would make a great fireside read, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to those readers interested in literate as well as engaging historically based fiction.

Review by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

“Hawkins masterfully intertwines historical accuracy with an endearing protagonist”

– Pacific Book Review

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was a devastating conflict that tore the country apart, causing significant social, political, and economic changes. The main issue of the Civil War was slavery, which was resolved by the Union’s victory, leading to the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the United States as a single nation. It remains a critical moment in American history that shaped the nation. This book, A Becharmed Callie Christmas by author J.D.R. Hawkins, is set in this context. 

The story is set in 1862, Alabama, a place of great turmoil and strife. It revolves around the life of 15-year-old Callie Copeland, whose peaceful existence is interrupted by the chaos of war. As Callie prepares for her family’s Christmas party, the uncertainty and harsh realities of the conflict loom large, threatening to overshadow the joyous occasion. Despite the festive mood, the tension in the air is palpable, and Callie can’t help but feel that everything she holds dear is at risk. 

From a third-person point of view, the tale employs the simple and fitting vocabulary of the South, which enriches the readers’ experiences. The protagonist, Callie, is an intelligent and ambitious child who can sometimes come across as self-centered due to her ignorant ways and vanity. By portraying the protagonist’s naivety and self-absorption, the author skillfully brings to life the unblemished innocence of a child, creating a captivating narrative that draws in the reader. However, she also possesses good intuition and a keen sense of self-preservation, making her an impressionable child with solid values. 

The writer describes the social, economic, and political situation in the South, including disruptions to currency, the abandonment of posts by black slaves in their households, and trade disruptions. These details help the reader imagine the setting more vividly. The story emphasizes the harsh realities of war, including the sacrifices which must be made. Regardless of the dire setting, the author engages in a mildly cheery tone for the characters. 

The story is well-written and engaging, making it a good read. In addition to its historical significance, the text offers a nuanced portrayal of gender relations during wartime, highlighting the struggles and agency of women in a male dominated society. Through vivid descriptions and compelling characters, the text offers a window into a bygone era and the complex human experience of those who lived during that time. 

J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Becharmed Callie Christmas intricately weaves a poignant tale through the eyes of 15-year-old Callie Copeland. Hawkins masterfully intertwines historical accuracy with an endearing protagonist, offering a compelling exploration of gender dynamics and the human experience during a pivotal moment in history. I highly recommend this beautifully crafted novella to the fans of historical fiction seeking an emotionally resonant narrative.

Review by Manik Chaturmutha