J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “A Beckoning Hellfire”

Five-Star Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

I received another five-star review for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. This is the second book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Jose Popoff, for your outstanding review!

Jose Popoff

5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase

A beautiful tale set in history

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸

America will always remember the Civil War as one of the most tragic events in their history. This story is set in that time and it is quite engrossing. The details and narrative are captivating and you can see how the author easily conveys a bevy of feelings in its characters.

But I think that, more importantly, there is a strong powerful message embedded within the words, sentences, and paragraphs. This is like a poetic salute to the delusion that war is honorable and whatnot. I have never seen a man die but I am guessing that there is nothing beautiful about it. This book exposes this through the experiences of David Summers.

Another Five-Star Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

I’m so honored to have received another five-star review for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. This is the second book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Pacific Book Reviews and Arthur Thares, for your amazing review!

Title: A Beckoning Hellfire 

Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1-64803-077-2 

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Pages: 234 

Reviewed by: Arthur Thares 

Pacific Book Review  

To write good historical fiction book, you must be skilled at both  research and imaginative storytelling, which is a tall order. However, J.D.R. Hawkins seems 

to do both with ease as she paints a realistic picture of the Civil War era using characters  that were grown in her imagination. A Beckoning Hellfire is part of something special in the  Renegade series, but it deserves individual accolades. 

The story begins unassumingly with the main character, David, on his family farm in  Alabama. A visitor arrives to deliver devastating news that will forever change the course  of David’s life. Though he had already decided to join the Confederate army, a tragic  accident speeds up his timeline, and he leaves his home with not much more than his  horse and best friend Jake in tow. David is searching for retribution, but what he finds is  the horrors and sadness of war. The trials and tribulations may prove to be too much for  the young Southerner who is only trying to do what he thinks is the right thing. 

Some people are born with the gift of storytelling, which is true of J.D.R. Hawkins, but she  has taken it to another level by creating stories with the history she is passionate about.  Her writing style shows she has a deep and intimate knowledge of the Civil War, especially  the Confederate side. The small details in her writing lend a genuine authenticity to the  story you don’t always find in fiction. One of the most admirable attributes of Hawkins’  writing is that she is not afraid to make her characters human; they have their faults and  aren’t invincible. 

A Beckoning Hellfire is a little difficult to read, not because of the book’s quality, but  because you know this fictional telling is not far off from the reality of the Civil War.  Although the content can sometimes be questionable, this book would be an excellent  story to introduce to older middle schoolers and above. It is a reminder of one of the worst  times in our nation and the sacrifices that were made, but being a work of fiction takes the  edge off of a harsh reality. Once you have read this book, there is no doubt you will want  to read the other books in Hawkins’ Renegade series.

Excellent Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

I received this flattering review from Hollywood Book Reviews for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. It is the second book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Mr. Jack Chambers, for your awesome review!

Title: A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War (The Renegade Series)
Author: J.D.R. Hawkins
Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing
ISBN: 978-1648030772
Pages: 249
Genre: Military Historical Fiction
Reviewed by: Jack Chambers


Hollywood Book Reviews
The realities of war are often far more brutal and harsher than the stories and imagery the governments of a nation will make it out to be. The search for glory and heroism will often outshine everything else, but those who find themselves in the midst of war will find more cruelty, fear, and bloodshed than any sense of glory they were promised. To find a means of preparing for war is far less likely the more one focuses on the morality of our world. As Sophocles once said, “War never takes a wicked man by chance, the good man always.”


In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War, the second book in The Renegade Series, the author takes readers into the dark realities of war and vengeance through the eyes of David Summers. The story finds David thrust from his farm in Northern Alabama and into the heart of the American Civil War on the battlefields in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The news of his father’s death in the Battle of Fredericksburg rocks David to his core, and he goes in search of vengeance against the people he blames for his passing. Yet as time goes on and the war looms large over him, he begins to lose the bloodlust that drove him forward as the battles wear on him physically and mentally, leading to a haunted look at the human cost of the American Civil War.


As a reader who has had the pleasure of reading several books in this historical fiction series, I was immediately drawn into the author’s familiar yet always engaging focus on historical accuracy and cinematic writing style. The emotional and psychological weight of the Civil War has never felt more profound, as the author does an excellent job of showcasing both sides of the war and the many different realities of those fighting on the frontlines of battle. The atmosphere was definitely heavy, and the haunting tone the author’s writing struck was a great way of highlighting the plight of the common man who fought in this war, rather than focusing on the historical figures or wealthy landowners who fueled the war behind the scenes.


This is the perfect book for those who enjoy historical fiction reads, especially those that enjoy historical fiction that focuses on American History, in particular the American Civil War. The balance the author found between the historical accuracy and the rich character development was great to see, as David’s evolution throughout the narrative was the heart and soul of this narrative. The reader gets a true sense of the horrors and weariness that overcame the average soldier during the war, and made for a wellrounded reading experience.


Thought-provoking, adrenaline-fueled, and historically entertaining, author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War is a must-read historical fiction novel and a great entry into the author’s The Renegade Series. The haunting imagery and detailed accuracy of the battles and death that many soldiers experienced during that time puts a real human element into this fictional story, and will leave fans eager for more of the author’s incredible work.

Latest Happenings

Recently, three of my books were featured via my publisher, Westwood Books Publishing, at the London Book Fair. I wish I would have had the chance to attend! It was an amazing turnout, and a great opportunity for people across the pond to see my books.

In other news…

My new novel, Double-Edged Sword, is being featured on BookGoodies. Here is the link:

http://bookgoodies.com/?p=423787

For a limited time, this book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

(Click on book cover to see link.)

B.R.A.G. Medallion Report Card for A Beckoning Hellfire

B.R.A.G. Medallion Report Card 

Book Title: A Beckoning Hellfire 

Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Our decision regarding your book was based on the following assessment. For more details about this process please read the ABOUT US/HOW WE DO IT section of our website. 

Ratings 

The book was rated on the following criteria using this scale: 

(If nonfiction, criteria in parentheses) 

5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Poor, 1 = Very Poor, 0 = Not Rated 

Title 

Intriguing, forceful, appropriate to the story 

Cover 

Striking, professional looking, appropriate to the story 

Plot (Subject Matter) 

Original, compelling, engaging, coherent 

Characters (Relevant Anecdotes) 

Interesting, appealing, believable 

Dialogue (Clarity of Content) 

Authentic, quotable, advances the story 

Writing Style 

Distinctive voice, pleasing rhythm, evocative 

Chapters 

Logical flow, advance the story, build momentum 

Copy Editing 

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice 

Content (Developmental) Editing 

Structure, coherence, continuity, accuracy 

Formatting 

Front matter, layout, font 

Additional Comments

I really liked this book. I am not much of an expert on the Civil War so am not a great judge of accuracy. However, I do love stories about the War and was not disappointed! I found the story to be concise and well-told, the construct of the story strong, the storytelling fantastic. My only observation was how David just took off and was gone for extended periods before riding back in. I would have thought he would have been considered a deserter or, at the very least, been interrogated as to what he had been up to. Also, not to be overly “gross”, why wouldn’t a starving army eat the horse instead of just burning it? Just a thought. In all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope to read the next one in this series. This is a very talented author! 

I have to award any book that was fun to read and challenged my understanding of military history enough to make me look up the battles to find they are all accurately depicted from a private’s viewpoint. I am so used to reading battles from an omniscient officer’s viewpoint or “god’s eye view” that it is refreshing to experience the confusion of a private down in the muck point of view. I have to admit that I doubt a couple of privates got as much freedom to choose as Jake and David did in this book nor as much freedom as David took going AWOL and returning with minimal disciplinary action. I’m a little disappointed that David’s trick riding skills didn’t get used in battle. It is also disappointing that his privileged position as a messenger was not used to give the view from the top to give a better overview of the various actions he was near or in and could have ridden through as a courier. Kudos for not giving in to the temptation to do either of these that I probably would have panned you for as pushing the realism envelope a little too far as it was a little stretchy here and there as it is, such as Renegade’s final run in this story to set up the next book. That is enough for now as I can’t wait any longer to read the third book.

*

This an excellent book. The principal character, David Summers, is believable and engaging. The story flows smoothly, albeit a bit slowly at first, and the cavalry battle scenes are stark, terrifying and appropriately brutal. I highly recommend this book for a Medallion. 

In addition to the numerical ratings, we ask our readers to leave a few brief comments or suggestions to help an author enhance their writing skills, especially if the reader is unable to rate a book on one or more of the above criteria. Please note, however, that not all readers choose to leave a comment. 

Copyright 2016 IndieBRAG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

A Beckoning Hellfire Receives B.R.A.G. Medallion

As mentioned in an earlier post, my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, recently received the prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion, which is only awarded to Indie books. According to their website:

“BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. The word “indie” refers to self-published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. The name “indieBRAG” and the B.R.A.G. logos are trademarks of indieBRAG, LLC. The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a certification trademark owned and controlled by indieBRAG, LLC.”

My book is featured on the homepage of their website, https://www.bragmedallion.com/. It is also on its own page: https://www.bragmedallion.com/award-winning-books/historical-fiction/a-beckoning-hellfire/.

A Beckoning Hellfire is the second book in the Renegade Series to receive this award. The first book in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has also received the honor. Thank you, indieBRAG, for this distinguished recognition!

A Beckoning Hellfire Receives Award

I was recently notified that my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire has received the B.R.A.G. Medallion. The book, is the second in the Renegade Series. The first book in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, also received this award several years ago. I am so honored to receive this award! The book is chosen for this award by readers who vote for it, and is only given to books that have been self-published. According to their website:

“BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. The word “indie” refers to self-published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. The name “indieBRAG” and the B.R.A.G. logos are trademarks of indieBRAG, LLC. The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a certification trademark owned and controlled by indieBRAG, LLC.”

I will post more information about this as it becomes available. Thank you, indieBRAG, for this distinguished recognition.

More Five-Star Reviews for A Beckoning Hellfire

Here are more five-star reviews I recently received for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, which has propelled into the Amazon bestseller list. The book is the second one in the Renegade Series.

AliReads

5.0 out of 5 stars 

A very balanced take on the civil war with a cool storyline

Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2021

Verified Purchase

A Beckoning Hellfire, written by the talented J.D.R. Hawkins, transports us inside the heartland of the Great Civil Battle, revealing the brutal reality as a trooper. The story has an interesting starting point. On New Year’s Eve in 1862, David Summers, the protagonist, discovers that the Union Troops murdered his dad. In a moment of wrath and a desire for vengeance, David takes the heroic step and enters the Confederate Military, intending to get revenge. But, it is not as easy as it sounds. Hawkins kept the readers engaged till the end with her extraordinary skills. It is a must-read for everyone!

Nicki

5.0 out of 5 stars 

War Horrors

Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2021

Verified Purchase

Using the backdrop of the Civil War, the author gives a harsh picture of the war horrors. The book shows how men in the field turn completely barbaric, looting the dead, and striving hard to survive in the wilderness. The story is dark and sad and brings out the emotion of pity. It is well written and shows excellent research to create the feel of nineteenth-century America.

Ona

5.0 out of 5 stars 

A novel about the American Civil War

Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2021

Verified Purchase

A Beckoning Hellfire is book two in a trilogy that focuses on a family in Alabama during the American Civil War, sometimes known as the War Between the States. This is a behind the scenes look at the way the conflict affected southerners who were not big plantation holders or slave owners. There are some exceptionally realistic battlefield scenes, as well as examination of the field hospitals. Mass grave burials, as well as an examination of the toll that the conflict took on both man and horse. This war, which often divided families and called personal moral codes into question, was one of the first where photography was used to record the grim scenes on the battlefield, rather than an artists rendition. Echoes from this war and the circumstances surrounding it echo through U.S. politics and social attitudes today. This book is a reminder of the human lives that were deeply affected at the time.

Happy Holidays!

I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season! Please keep in mind all of our military personnel who are overseas and missing their families this Christmas. One of my favorite songs is “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” which was written by a soldier during WWII. Listening to it makes me cry every time!

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for some, as the following excerpt demonstrates. Losing a loved one during this time of year is especially painful, and sometimes lonely. I think the first Christmas after a loved one passes away is the hardest. I know from experience, since I just lost my mom last year.

The following excerpt is the opening chapter from my book, A Beckoning Hellfire. It takes place on Christmas Eve, 1862. What should be a joyous time has turned into tragedy. While we celebrate the birth of our Lord, let’s also keep in mind the hardships that many have experienced during Christmas.

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 world¼My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.

Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife, December 25, 1862

Chapter One

“Here it is! Come quick!”

David sauntered across the dead grass toward his little sister. Amused by the way she was jumping up and down like a nervous flea, he couldn’t help but grin. Obviously, she was too excited to care that her petticoats were showing from under the brown coat and green calico dress she wore, or that her long auburn hair had broken free from its bondage as her bonnet slid from her head and dangled down her back.

“Which one, Josie?” he asked, stifling a snicker.

She planted her feet and pointed to a small yellow pine near a cluster of sweet gum and ash trees. “Right here!” she exclaimed.

Glancing down at the sapling, he gave her a crooked smile. “Well, that’s a mighty fine tree, but ain’t it kinda scrawny?” He estimated the pine to be three feet tall at most.

Josie frowned at her older brother, who had one eyebrow cocked from under his slouch hat. His hands were tucked into his brown trousers, and his linen shirt hung loosely on his tall, lanky frame. “No,” she said, “ it’s jist right. We’ll string some corn on it, hang some nuts and berries on it, and it’ll look right smart in the corner of the front room.”

With a shrug, he said, “All right. If you reckon this is the one.”

She nodded, her bright blue eyes reflecting her elation.

David relished the moment, for he knew Christmas was her favorite holiday. He had only heightened her anticipation on the way out to the woodlot by reminding her what would happen that evening, how Santa would be stopping by later when she was sound asleep. Of course, he had no explanation as to how eight tiny reindeer could pull a sleigh all the way to Alabama. Josie promptly informed him that she wasn’t a child any longer. She was all of thirteen, and didn’t believe in those farfetched stories anymore, but he knew better. She would be lying in her bed tonight, listening and waiting.

“Well, go on now, cut it down!” Josie insisted.

He put his thumb and forefinger to his lips and gave a high, shrill whistle. Noticing how the gray sky was growing darker, he looked over at the edge of the clearing where they stood and saw the underbrush rustle. Suddenly, two hound dogs bounded out of the trees, followed by a gangly young stallion.

“Come on, Renegade. Over here,” he called out to the colt, who responded by cantering to him.

Josie giggled at the sight. “Your dumb horse thinks he’s a dog!”

“He ain’t dumb. I’ll wager he’s a lick smarter than you are, li’l sister,” David teased.

The horse blew and stomped his front hoof.

“Why, that’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. And not only is he dumb, he looks right silly, too. He can’t decide if he should be spotted or palomino!”

David observed his horse for a moment. Renegade’s face was piebald. His dark chestnut coat was highlighted with white spots and patches concentrating on his underbelly, and his mane and tail were light flaxen. He had white socks up to his knees. His unusual eyes were brownish green. David remembered how he had heard that a horse with strange-colored eyes like Renegade’s was considered sacred and chosen by the Cherokee Indians. Several people had noticed the strange coincidence, and his other sister, Rena, also frequently commented that he and his horse had the same colored eyes.

“I reckon he knows what he is,” David remarked. “Besides, he’s unusual, and that makes him unique.”

“Oh, he’s unique all right,” Josie said, giggling again. She pulled her hair back from her face and replaced her bonnet.

David untied a saw from a leather strap attached to Renegade’s saddle. He knelt down, quickly sawed through the little tree’s trunk, picked it up, and tied it across the saddle’s seat. His two black and tan dogs sniffed around the tree’s sawed off stump. Suddenly, they both lifted their noses into the air with their ears pricked. They bolted across the open clearing, baying at an unseen curiosity as they disappeared into the woods.

“Caleb! Si!” David hollered after the two hounds. “Well, there they go,” he observed wryly. “All right, Renegade, take it on home.” He patted his horse on the shoulder.

Renegade nickered softly, shook his head, and trotted off in the same direction as the two hounds.

Josie gasped. “Look, David! It’s startin’ to snow!” She tilted her head back and stuck out her tongue, trying to catch snowflakes on it.

He chuckled.

“Come on, you do it, too,” she coaxed him.

He obliged his little sister by imitating her.

Josie laughed, spinning around with her arms extended while snow fell silently down around them.

“Oh!” David clasped his hand to his face. “One fell in my eye!”

Josie giggled.

He couldn’t help but smile, although he was careful not to let her see, and snorted to cover up his delight. “Well, I’m right glad you think it’s so funny.” He looked at her, trying to keep a straight face. “Come on, Josie girl. We’d best be gittin’ on back.”

He allowed her to go ahead of him as they started on the bridle path that cut through the woods.

“Let’s sing Christmas carols!” she said. “That new one we heard last year. Jingle Bells!”

“You start,” he prompted.

“Dashin’ through the snow…”

He joined in. Their voices grew stronger in unison.

“In a one-horse open sleigh…”

They came to an empty field, and trudged through, stepping over mud puddles while they continued singing.

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…”

Their house stood quaintly at the far end of the field. Smoke circled from its two chimneys, dissolving into the gray sky. The sweet smell of burning hickory reached out, inviting them closer. From a distance, the structure appeared to be two separate cabins sitting side by side, but upon closer observation, one could see that they were connected by a covered breezeway. Each section contained two rooms and a fireplace. A wide flat porch on the front of the split log building served as an entryway. The tin roof, which seemed to expel heat in the summertime, also managed to repel snow during winter months.

The cold, damp air encroached upon brother and sister. As they sang, their breath escaped, floated out across the fields, and vanished in phantom gusts.

“Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!”

On the last note, Josie’s voice jumped an octave. They laughed at their grand finale and walked around to the front of the house, where Renegade was waiting patiently for the tree to be removed from his saddle. A buckskin horse stood beside him.

“Whose horse is that?” Josie asked.

“It looks like Bud Samuels’ horse.”

David and Josie looked at each other, wide-eyed. “Pa!” they both exclaimed.

Josie sprang onto the porch, burst through the front door, and went inside while David untied the small yellow pine. He set it aside, pulled the saddle from Renegade’s back, and removed his bridle.

“Go on into the barn, Renie,” he said. “Or you’ll be one big ole snowball in a minute.”

The colt blew and trotted around the side of the house.

David carried his tack into the breezeway. He placed it on a horizontal board, which was supported by a plank on each end. Collecting the tree, he heard the sound of Bud’s voice coming from inside.

“I had some trouble gettin’ here,” Bud was saying as he entered. “But I convinced the Home Guard to follow me home so’s I could show them my furlough paper.”

David produced the tiny tree. “I know it’s small,” he said with a grin, “but Josie insisted, and…” The sight that befell him inexplicably filled him with dread. His smile faded. He looked around at the faces before him and let the tree fall onto the wooden floor. Warmth from the fireplace did nothing to relieve the chill that grasped him. “What is it?” he asked.

“Come in, darlin’, and close the door,” his mother said from her high-backed chair, which sat near the empty corner they had readied for the Christmas tree. Her brown skirt encircled her like a puddle. Her dark brown hair, streaked recently with gray, was parted in the middle and contained in a white cotton hair net. She clenched her hands in her lap, and her lips were pursed. The flickering firelight accentuated the grooves on her face, which, for some reason, David had never noticed before. After closing the door behind him, he looked at Rena, who was sitting beside the hearth. She vacantly stared back, her violet eyes welling up with tears.

“Rena?” he asked her.

She looked away and hugged Josie, who had taken the chair beside her.

David walked across the room to their neighbor, Bud.

“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Samuels,” he said, shaking the man’s hand. “How’s Pa? Is he comin’ home for Christmas, like he wrote?”

“Have a seat, David.” Bud’s eyes filled with concern. He scratched his straggly, graying beard.

Obeying the command, David slowly sank into a chair, keeping his eyes fixed on Bud’s face.

“I’m afraid I have bad news.” Bud cleared his throat, then slowly, deliberately said, “Your father’s been killed at Fredericksburg.” He looked down at the floor. “A little over a week ago. I know he was lookin’ forward to seein’ y’all. I’m…immensely sorry.”

He pulled a folded piece of yellowed paper from his coat pocket. The gray coat was torn and tattered in places, not at all like the beautiful piece of clothing that had been provided to him nearly two years earlier. His trousers and the kepi he held in his hand were weathered, too.

“Miss Carolyn, Hiram wanted me to give you this here letter…in the event of his death.” He solemnly handed her the note.

Squeezing her eyes shut, Carolyn held it to her mouth. Tears streamed down her weathered face. “Thank you, Bud,” she finally said. “You’ve been a good friend to my Hiram. I know he appreciated you dearly.”

Bud nodded. “Please let the missus or me know if there’s anything we can do,” he offered, and walked toward the door.

“I surely will.” Carolyn wearily stood, followed him to the door, and walked him out.

Bud placed his kepi on his head, untied his horse, mounted, and galloped off down the lane. The rhythm of hoof beats faded.

Turning from the doorway, Carolyn somberly gazed at her children. Her two daughters came across the room to hug her. The three of them burst into tears. Carolyn gazed at her son, who was sitting motionless across the room, his handsome young face drained of color, his hazel eyes growing a darker brown.

“David,” she said, her voice filled with the sorrow that had now overtaken the room.

He looked over at her, his face blank with grief-stricken shock.  Finding no comfort in her anguished expression, he glanced up at the ornately-carved mantle clock, the one his father had given to her as a wedding gift. It read ten minutes past five. Beside it sat a framed tintype of his father, adorned in Confederate glory, ready to march off to victory, but now he was never to return. David’s eyes wandered, and he noticed things he’d taken for granted before: the raised oval portrait of his paternal grandmother on the wall, the paintings of flowers his mother liked so well that hung on the opposite wall, the fieldstone fireplace that his father had built, and the pine furniture that had been there ever since he could remember. Somehow, all of it seemed irrelevant.

Moving numbly, he rose and walked across the room to pick up the little tree he had dropped earlier. A tiny pool of water remained where it had fallen. He carried the tree outside, leaving a trail of moisture that splattered onto the floorboards. The cold winter air, uncluttered with snow, barely whispered, its breath deathly quiet and still. Dusk was rapidly approaching.

David hurled the tree as hard as he could. It landed with a rustled thud out in the yard. Without pausing, he walked into the breezeway past his mother and sisters and grabbed a kerosene lantern. He carried it outside, lit it, and threw it at the pine. The glass shattered upon impact. Kerosene trickled out onto the tiny branches and within seconds, flames engulfed the little tree. He stoically watched tongues of fire consume the sapling. Slowly, he turned to face his mother and sisters, who were standing on the porch, watching him while they wept.

“I reckon we won’t be celebratin’ Christmas after all,” he said, his voice raspy with distress.

Impending darkness engulfed his heart. Feeling the need for solitude, he walked around the house toward the barn, vaguely hearing his mother call out to him. The sky opened, releasing icy rain. He stomped past the pigpen and the chicken coop. Upon reaching the old wooden barn, he went inside and blinked several times before his eyes adjusted to his dim surroundings. He caught glimpses of shadows dancing off the walls and up around the rafters. A pungent combination of dry, clean hay and musty wood enveloped him. The rain rattled down upon the barn’s tin roof and sounded like a thousand tiny drums. Three cows studied him with soft brown eyes. One mooed a welcome as he walked past them.

Sidestepping bales of hay stacked near the stall door, David paused to shake off cold drops of moisture that clung to his shirt and ran his hand over the top of his head, wiping the rain from his dark brown hair. A large Percheron, standing in the stall next to Renegade, gazed at David with his ears pricked.

“Hey, Joe Boy,” David said softly to the tall white gelding.

The draft horse sniffled at David’s pockets but seemed to lose interest and shuffled to the other end of his stall when David didn’t offer a treat like he usually did. Renegade looked up from his fodder and nickered softly. David walked over and gently stroked his muzzle. “I’m sorry I put you through all that trouble of bringin’ home a tree.” Anguish and anger welled up inside him. Searing-hot tears streamed down his cheeks. His hatred seethed. His grief was overwhelming, and he could hold it back no longer. Sobs escaped him. He grasped onto his horse’s mane, burying his face in Renegade’s neck. The colt stood quietly, seemingly to console him.

https://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-Renegade-ebook/dp/B09C2HXBZL/?encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=S5Coj&pf_rd_p=29505bbf-38bd-47ef-8224-a5dd0cda2bae&pf_rd_r=CE2AMZTMFTYM2Y392VS5&pd_rd_r=d7da3536-eeb5-4d0c-8d3e-525f97a5f395&pd_rd_wg=XFA9u&ref=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mr_hp_atf_m

More Flattering Reviews

I hope y’all aren’t getting tired of my sharing these reviews, but I’m just over the moon with receiving them! I feel very fortunate that I have been able to receive these reviews for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, in recent weeks. Here are a few more that I’d like to share with you!

Phil Bolos

5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction
Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2021
Verified Purchase
A Beckoning Hellfire by J.D.R. Hawkins takes us into the heart of the Civil War and shows us the harsh realities of what it was like to be a soldier in the bloodiest conflict in American history. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers finds out that his father has died at the hands of the Union Army. Caught up in rage and seeking revenge, David does the honorable thing and joins the Confederate Army so that he can goes against the Union and get revenge for what happened to his father. But, all honor is quickly forgotten when he is thrown into numerous battles and he sees what war is really like. Revenge begins to fade away as David becomes more focused on just staying alive so that he can get back home again.
I am a big history buff, so reading this was a lot of fun. The author has done a nice job of creating a piece of historical fiction that gives the reader a chance to get a glimpse of what it was like to go through this horrific conflict. I think that fans of history and of fiction will really enjoy this read and the efforts the author took to make this as realistic as possible.


JoJo Maxson

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating novel

Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2021

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A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War by J.D.R. Hawkins brings one of our country’s devastating times to life. David Summers is angry, hurt, and wants revenge. He can’t fathom a war that would have killed the man he idolized. His passion now is to make everyone pay who represented a small part in the death of his father. As he fights this war, brother against brother, father against son, he realizes there isn’t glamour or pride when you win a battle. The destruction and despair are unimaginable.

I found J.D.R. Hawkins a skillful writer as she brings the Civil War alive with a fierce reminder of our country torn apart. A Beckoning Hellfire is well-written and a fascinating novel. The characters are just as you would imagine them with hopes, dreams, and disappointments. They strive to live one more day and to keep their family and friends alive. People will show their true light during their darkest days. History lovers will enjoy this novel.


astrofan
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at what it might’ve been like to be the family of a Confederate soldier.

Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2021

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I would say, if you’re going to go into this easily offended by the vivid descriptions of a Confederate soldier and his family, don’t bother picking this one up. But if you want to know what it might’ve been like to be part of a family whose father has gone off to fight for the Confederacy and was killed, this is the book to get. It’s a vivid look at how ugly the war was and what it’s like to have one’s images of glorious warfare and revenge shattered.

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