J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “A Rebel Among Us”

Another Wonderful Review for A Rebel Among Us

I just received another great review for my novel, A Rebel Among Us. This is the third book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Pacific Book Review, for your wonderful review!

A Rebel Among Us
Title: A Rebel Among Us
Author: J.D.R. Hawkins
Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64803-079-6
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 485
Reviewed by: Arthur Thares


Sometimes a book comes along and catches you completely off guard. A Rebel Among Us seems, on the surface, like a run-of-the-mill period romance novel, but it is so much more. By the time you finish this book, you will have a vested interest in it and its characters.


When Confederate soldier, David Summers, shows up on the Brady Farm wounded and weak, there is no way he can imagine how much his life will change. Anna and her sisters nurse David back to health, but with the Civil War raging, they know trouble is right around the corner if anyone ever finds out they are harboring a traitor. While their intentions seem generous initially, the Brady girls have a secret that spurred their kindness and generosity toward their enemy.


What starts as a relationship of convenience grows and changes, and Anna and David fall in love. As their forbidden love grows, the couple faces trial after trial until a scorned would-be lover threatens to tear the two apart forever. While the two face the most challenging times of their young lives, they learn a lot about themselves, but their happily-ever-after may not be meant to be.


Hawkins is an extraordinarily talented writer born for this work. The character building in this book is second to none. By the end of the story, you will find yourself rooting out loud for characters in a book. One of the many aspects which makes this book so appealing is, while it is a work of fiction, there is a certain realism to it, thanks to her knowledge of the civil war era.


A Rebel Among Us is a captivating story that will capture your imagination and your heart. The attention to detail in this story will subtly draw you in and not let you go until you’ve read the last word. This is far from the traditional romance story, as Hawkins trades in cheesy romance scenes for a relatable story with actual substance. Although this story takes place almost two hundred years ago, it will still resonate with readers today. A Rebel Among Us is easily a must-read title that will entertain, tug at the heartstrings, and ultimately leave the reader satisfied.

New Review for A Rebel Among Us

I recently received another amazing review for my novel, A Rebel Among Us. This is the third book in the Renegade Series. Thank you, US Review of Books, for your fantastic review!

A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War (The Renegade Series Book 3)
by J. D. R. Hawkins
Westwood Books Publishing
book review by Mihir Shah


“The anguish in her eyes broke David’s heart. He gazed down at her and, as reassurance, gave her a sorrowful smile.”


How one acts in the face of adversity is often a true reflection of one’s character. This is no different for the protagonist, Anna Brady, a teenager who harbors a soldier from the Confederate Army as the Civil War is reaching its most pivotal point. Despite fears of being labeled complicit in a crime, Anna finds herself mesmerized by Alabama native David Summers. More than that, though, she recognizes that he is near certain death after being wounded at Gettysburg, and if she doesn’t help, his blood will be on her. As the story unfolds, Hawkins does a masterful job of using the Civil War as a stage to highlight the torturous choices faced by those who lived through these times.


Centered around the dichotomy between love and war, the entirety of the premise revolves around a forbidden love story that clashes head-on with the throes of war and egos. Using strong character development to showcase the instant bonds that Anna and her two younger sisters, Abigail and Maggie, form with Summers’ horse, Renegade, the author does a commendable job of keeping the plot flowing with energy. The work is largely driven by the developing relationship betwwen Anna and David (a teenager blossoming into a woman and a perceived traitor to his country) and the inevitable chaos that will ensue when the truth comes out.

The antagonist of the story, Stephen Montgomery, ironically a Union sergeant, is a thorn in the side of Anna and David’s love story. But in reality, the thematic question that the author tests to its limit is at what point and at what cost can love still reign supreme? That internal battle pits Anna and David against their individual duties. For David, the burden of filling the void left behind by his father and supporting his family weigh heavily against his desire to be with Anna, while Anna is mired in caring for her sisters after the loss of her father.


With one obstacle after another continually in their way, the couple’s resolve is almost endlessly tested, whether it is by Anna’s aunt, Sarah, who encourages David to understand the ramifications of his and Anna’s union, or Maggie, the sister who refuses to accept David. In the story, readers are exposed to the perspective of the Confederacy, how they would have viewed President Lincoln, and the ruthlessness of Union soldiers toward captive soldiers. As historical fiction, Hawkins’ work is especially intriguing because of the raw, authentic settings and tension that is being created. Conjuring the palpable feeling of a nation divided amongst itself is downright harrowing, and the contentious dynamic between Stephen Montgomery and David Summer is simply the epitome of that.


While Anna and David are front and center, numerous other storylines are simultaneously heartwarming and gut-wrenching, such as Claudia and Abigail’s expression of childhood innocence and exuberance and the genuine friendship formed between David and Patrick, a neighbor in whom Anna confided wholeheartedly. Above all else, what makes this story so intriguing is the purity of a love story grounded in the faith of the human spirit and unwavering resolve, come what may. Acceptance, or the lack thereof, is a strong theme that resonates universally in Hawkins’ work. Against the backdrop of the Civil War, the duality of war and love create a riveting environment that holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover.


RECOMMENDED by the US Review
©2022 All Rights Reserved • The US Review of Books

Another Awesome Review for A Rebel Among Us

I just received this review from Hollywood Book Reviews. Thank you so much for the amazing review!

Title: A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War (A Renegade Series) Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1648030796 

Pages: 493 

Genre: Romantic Action & Adventure / War & Military Action Fiction Reviewed by: Jack Chambers 

Hollywood Book Reviews 

One of the things that people rarely ever think about or consider when discussing the impact of war throughout history is the immediate aftermath. There are many books written about the long-term effects war has on things like the economy, a nation’s power on the world stage, and politics as a whole, but the study of how we as individuals interact with one another in the wake of war and the mental struggle which occurs with those who fought in wars is rarely given enough attention. The need to advocate for peace in the wake of war is essential, and as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”

In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War, the author brings readers back to the popular A Renegade Series with the third book of the franchise. The protagonist, David Summers, finds himself in a whole other world when he wakes up from his injury-induced slumber. After his dreams of chivalry and heroism are quashed by the horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg, a wounded David and his horse are taken in by four sisters in enemy territory who help restore him to health. Deserted by his Confederate brothers in arms, David struggles between his desire to avenge his father’s death and the love he begins to feel for the oldest sister, Anna. As she presents him an interesting offer, he must also contend with his identity being revealed lest he be labeled a traitor by the Union while also coming face to face with Anna’s longtime neighbor, now a Union soldier, who has been in love with her for years, and will stop at nothing to have her heart, even if it means having David arrested. 

The author crafted a truly beautiful, heartbreaking, and emotionally complex narrative. The balance struck between historical fiction and romance was eloquently written here, as the author brought enough of the historical setting and events happening around the cast of characters into their daily lives without sacrificing the personal conflicts or intimate developments that they made with one another. The concept of two very opposed sides of a bloody conflict such as this coming together to find common ground is something which feels more relevant than ever in our modern age, and the ability of the author to showcase all of the underlying causes of the conflict, and the lies and illusions that many average soldiers fell under from their leadership in the war made this story so fascinating to read. 

This is the perfect read for those who enjoy romantic stories, especially those set in a historical fiction setting and who enjoy, in particular, stories surrounding the American Civil War. As a fan of history, I was fascinated with the authors ability to get into each side’s perspective so equally and bring the setting and tone of the era to life so 

naturally, especially without sacrificing the natural character growth and story beats overall. Powerful, thought-provoking, and entertaining, author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War is the perfect historical fiction romance novel and a great new book in the A Renegade Series franchise. The rich dynamics that are presented between David and Anna especially are great to see, and how these very different groups of people find a way to work through their differences and find common ground in an era filled with untold violence and hatred is amazing to read.

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.)

A Rebel Among Us Wins B.R.A.G. Medallion

My novel, A Rebel Among Us, has recently received the B.R.A.G. Medallion. This book is the third one in the Renegade Series. Now all three books in the series are recipients of the B.R.A.G. Medallion. According to the IndieBRAG 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-rebel-among-us/

The first two books in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have also received the honor. Thank you, indieBRAG, for this distinguished recognition!

Interview By Sara Louisa

I was recently interviewed by friend and fellow author, Sara Louisa about my books and writing process. Here is the post. I hope you enjoy it! Please check out her website at saralouisaauthor.com. Thank you for the interview, Sara!

Award Winning Author J.D.R Hawkins’ Interview!

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s author interview!

I was absolutely thrilled to interview author J.D.R Hawkins, and get to know her better!

Hawkins began writing at an early age. Music inspired her to write song lyrics, which developed into poems. From there, she branched out into writing short stories, articles, children’s books, and eventually, novels. Hawkins has also written a non-fiction book!

I’m always interested in how fellow authors choose the names of their characters. For me, the name usually comes to mind straight away when starting a new project. Hawkins has an interesting way of finding her characters and putting a name to the person in mind! Hawkins says:

“I researched names in a baby name book, and chose the ones I felt would most closely fit my characters’ personalities.”

Writing the perfect scene is important to an author; we strive for that ‘wow’ factor, and we all have favourite types of scenes to tackle. I personally enjoy writing romantic scenes, and action sequences. Hawkins told me what her favourite scenes are to write, and why.

“I like writing scenes that have an eerie element to them. Mysterious happenings are always fun to write, as well as scenes that show friction between the characters. I enjoy writing dialogue, because it gives me the opportunity to reveal things about the characters and their backstories.”

Authors get their story ideas literally from anywhere, and everywhere: walking, driving, listening to music, or in complete silence. Hawkins says she gets her greatest ideas when it’s quiet in the early morning, or later at night. She says:

“It’s wonderful when an idea comes to me suddenly, but sometimes, it takes several days for an idea to come to fruition.”

J.D.R Hawkins writes about the civil war in her fantastic collection of novels, which I was quite excited to learn about! Canadian and American history is a huge passion of mine, which brought up my next question for Hawkins: Are these incredible novels based on true events?

“Since my novels are about the Civil War, there are many parts that are true. I have to write realistically and factually, or I will get called out by people who are very knowledgeable about this time in American history. Many of the characters are real as well, including Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, etc. My first novel, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie,” is based on the journal of a Confederate soldier.”

Hawkins’ answer was fasinating to me, because as a writer myself, I could just imagine the hours of research that would need to be done for such a project!

I always enjoy learning where fellow authors are from, and a little bit about their personal life. I learned in our interview that Hawkins is a retired postal carrier living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband. They have two sons, one daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

Hawkins says:

“We also have three fur babies: two dachshunds and a Siamese cat. We love to travel and spend time with our family. My husband and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.”

Happy 40th anniversary to you and your husband!

The fourth book in J.D.R. Hawkins’ Renegade Series is due to come out later this year. It is titled “Double-Edged Sword,” and takes up where the last novel, “A Rebel Among Us,” left off.

Huge thank you to J.D.R Hawkins! Congratulations on your up coming release!

You can find J.D.R Hawkins, her books, and information on her website and links! Check out her fantastic book trailer and live interview at: https://jdrhawkins.com/

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Confederate Heritage Month

April has been signified as Confederate Heritage Month by many Southern states. The month is significant to the Southern cause in that the Civil War started and, for the most part, ended in April. In recognition, memorial services are held at Confederate cemeteries throughout the month. I have attended several of these ceremonies. They are poignant and beautiful remembrances of ancestors who suffered and died to protect their homes.

There were many atrocities that took place during the war. One of the worst was the conditions of Confederate POW camps. My novel, A Rebel Among Us, specifically discusses the conditions that took place at Elmira Prison Camp toward the end of the war.

PRIVATIONS, SUFFERING AND  DELIBERATE CRUELTIES 

“Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its  deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the  blood of many of Lee’s men from insufficient and  unsound food that a slight wound which would  probably not have been reported at the beginning  of the war would often cause blood-poison,  gangrene, and death. 

Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate . . . it was a harrowing but not uncommon sight to see those hungry men gather the wasted corn from under the  feet of half-fed horses, and  wash and parch and eat it to satisfy in some measure their craving for food.”  

General John B. Gordon,  

“Reminiscences of the Civil War” 

Elmira Prison Camp, Elmira, New York

“Winter poured down its snows and its sleets  upon Lee’s shelterless men in the trenches. Some of  them burrowed into the earth. Most of them  shivered over the feeble fires kept burning along the  lines. Scanty and thin were the garments of these  heroes. Most of them were clad in mere rags.  

Gaunt famine oppressed them every hour. One  quarter of a pound of rancid bacon and a little meal  was the daily portion assigned to each man by the  rules of the War Department. But even this  allowance failed when the railroads broke down and  left the bacon and the flour and the mean piled up  beside the track in Georgia and the Carolinas. One sixth of the daily ration was the allotment for a  considerable time, and very often the supply of  bacon failed entirely. 

At the close of the year, Grant had one hundred  and ten thousand men. Lee had sixty-six thousand  on his rolls, but this included men on detached duty,  leaving him barely forty thousand soldiers to defend  the trenches that were then stretched out forty  miles in length from the Chickahominy to Hatcher’s  Run.”

Henry Alexander White, “Life of Robert E.  Lee.” 

“When their own soldiers were suffering such  hardships as these in the field, the Confederate  leaders made every effort to exchange men so that  helpless prisoners of war would not suffer in  anything like equal measure, offering even to send  back prisoners without requiring an equivalent.  Hence, the charges brought against the Confederate  government of intentional ill-treatment of prisoners  of war are not supported by the facts. 

[In the South] the same quantity and quality of rations were given to prisoners and guards; but that  variety in food could not be had or transported on  the broken-down railway system of a non manufacturing country, which system could not or  did not provide sufficient clothes and food even for the Confederate soldiers in the field. 

[The] control of the prisons in the North was turned over by Secretary  Stanton and the vindictive and partisan men (who  were later responsible also for the crimes of  Reconstruction) to the lowest element of an alien  population and to Negro guards of a criminal type,  and such men as President Lincoln, Seward,  McClellan, and the best people in the North were  intentionally kept in ignorance of conditions in  Northern prisons while officially furnished with  stories as to “the deliberate cruelties” practiced in  the South.” 

(The Women of the South in War Times, Matthew Page  Andrews, Norman, Remington Company, 1920, pp. 399-406) 

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans; President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, vol. 45, issue #4, April 2021 ed.)

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is nearly upon us. This year will look much different because of Covid-19. Parties will be limited, Trick or Treating will include social distancing, and of course, everyone will be wearing masks, whether they are Halloween-themed or not. This Halloween will be extra special, because it will have a full moon, which is the second one this month, and is known as a blue moon. The holiday will also be followed by the end of daylight savings time and Election Day next Tuesday. We’re in for a bit of crazy during the next few days!

In the spirit of Halloween, I would like to share an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. Two of the main characters discuss their renditions of All Hallows Eve. I hope you enjoy it. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

On October 31, Patrick arrived with a bottle of whiskey and invited David to partake with him. They stood shivering at the back door, passing the bottle between them. 

“‘Tis Samhain tonight, lad. All Hallow’s Eve. Were ye aware of it?” 

David nodded. “Where’d you git this whiskey?” he asked. 

“Aye, ‘tis a grand thing the Meyers provide me with allowance for such an indulgence,” he replied. He pulled a pipe from his coat pocket and lit it. Puffing away, he shook his head and remarked, “Sure’n ‘tis a far cry from real tobacco.” 

A thought crossed David’s mind. “I’ll be right back,” he said. 

He went upstairs to his room, grabbed the pouch of tobacco, and brought it back down to his friend. 

Patrick peeked inside before taking a deep whiff. “Ah!” he sighed, relishing the pungent aroma. “Might this be the Southern tobacco I’ve heard tell about?” 

David grinned. “Jake brought it along for tradin’, and this here’s what’s left.” 

Patrick loaded his pipe, relit it, and puffed euphorically, smiling all the while. “‘Tis a wee bit o’ heaven, indeed.” He glanced at his friend. “Now, have ye any scary tales from the Southland that might have me skin crawlin’?” 

David thought for a moment, “There’s a story from north Alabama about a place called the Red Bank.” 

Raising his eyebrows, Patrick said, “Let’s see if ye might be tellin’ it frightfully enough to send a shiver up me spine.” He happily puffed away. 

David grinned. He lowered his voice so it was a threatening grumble and delved into his story. Once he had completed the tale of an Indian maiden who had killed herself after losing her baby and had promptly turned into a ghost, he paused. 

Patrick puffed silently on his pipe. “Well, now, I have a scarier one.” He puffed again, took a swig from the whiskey bottle, handed it to David, and said, “‘Tis an old tale from the motherland.” 

The wind blew past them, whistling off through the barren fields. Both young men shivered, suddenly aware of the ominous darkness surrounding them. 

David forced a nervous laugh before taking a swallow. “All right, Patrick. Let’s hear it.” 

He took a puff and slowly exhaled. “There once lived a wealthy lady who was courted by two lords. One of the lords grew so jealous of the other that he plotted to kill his rival. So one night, he snuck into the unsuspectin’ lad’s bedchamber. But instead of choppin’ off his head—” 

He said this with so much exuberance David jumped. 

“He accidentally chopped off his legs instead.” 

A dog howled in the distance, adding to the nuance of Patrick’s eerie Irish story. 

“His torso received a proper burial, but his legs were tossed into a hole in the castle garden and covered with dirt. The murderin’ lord deceived the lady by tellin’ her the other suitor had abandoned his proposal to her. She agreed to marriage. But on their weddin’ night, in walked the two bodyless legs.” 

An owl hooted from somewhere off in the empty trees. 

“The legs followed the bridegroom relentlessly until the day he died. It’s said the legs can still be seen walkin’ round by themselves. ‘Tis a true phuca.” Upon this conclusion, Patrick puffed on the pipe. Smoke billowed around his head like an apparition. 

“What’s a phuca?” asked David. 

“A ghost,” Patrick responded. 

Raising a skeptical eyebrow, David snorted. “I reckon that’s the dumbest spook story I ever did hear.” 

A gate near the barn caught in the wind and slammed loudly against the fencepost. The two men jumped. They chuckled at their reaction, but immediately felt the terrible chill. Reasoning they would be more comfortable inside, they entered the kitchen, consumed the remainder of the whiskey, and bid each other goodnight. Patrick returned home, and David retired quietly upstairs, careful not to wake the others. Relieved the fireplace had been lit for him, he undressed. 

Climbing into bed, he snickered at the thought of two legs unattached to a body, chasing after a rival. Once he’d fallen asleep, however, the thought invaded his dreams. The legs ran toward him. Right behind them rode the headless Union horseman. The torso raised its saber and swung it where its head should have been. Just as the blade came down, David jolted awake. He gasped to catch his breath, realizing, once again, his imagination had gotten the best of him. Slowly, he lay back. Unable to sleep, he listened to the wind rattle the shutters and shake through the skeleton-like tree limbs from outside the frosty, lace-covered windows. 

Interview With Dixie Heritage Newsletter

Recently, I was invited to participate in a podcast interview conducted by Dr. Edward DeVries, who publishes a weekly newsletter known as The Dixie Heritage Newsletter. I was honored to have the opportunity to discuss all four of my published books, as well as upcoming projects. We also talked about music, the Confederate gold, and several other topics. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Dixie Heritage Banner

New Cover Reveal for A Rebel Among Us!

I am so excited to reveal the new cover for my novel, A Rebel Among Us! The new cover comes with a new publisher as well, Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. The book is the recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, which is given by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. This is a very prestigious honor, since the MOSB does not give the award every year, but only to books they deem as worthy of representing the Confederacy.

ARAU Cover

A Rebel Among Us is the third book in the Renegade Series. Two other books, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, are also in the series and have been re-published with Westwood Books Publishing as well.

I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a PDF copy for review!

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