Normally I haven’t read this type of novel, but this story grabbed from the beginning and is a page turner. The author painted a picture that placed me into the storyline. Voracious Readers gave me a complimentary copy of the book and I am glad that did. You should read this civil war tale.
I just received this awesome review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, from Diabolic Shrimp. Thank you for the great review!
A Beautiful Glittering Lie
JDR Hawkins brings the Civil War to life through the eyes of a family in A Beautiful Glittering Lie! The Confederacy has just broken away from the Union and Southern farmer Hiram Summers decides to enlist in the army, soon getting whisked away to war. Meanwhile, his wife Caroline and son David discover the realities of war on the homefront. I loved Hawkins’ focus on this one family as it gave the avenue to see the war from three different perspectives: that of the soldier, the youth, and the mother trying to make ends meet on the farm! This is a novel with great feeling and intrigue, and I loved the characters and getting to experience their moral struggle. If you’re interested in the Civil War and want a good emotional novel, come enlist with A Beautiful Glittering Lie!
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!
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.
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.
A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War by J.D.R. Hawkins Westwood Books Publishing
book review by Kat Kennedy
“It’s the end of all things as we know them.”
At the beginning of the Civil War, Hiram Summers, a north Alabama farmer and father of three, enlists in the Confederate Army. When Hiram and his best friend, Bud, join the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment to fight in a war that many believe will last only a short time, he leaves his wife, Caroline, daughters (Rena and Josie), and son, David, to take care of the family farm. As the surviving son in the family, David realizes the enormity of this responsibility. “He came to the realization that he was now responsible for protecting his family, tending to the farm, and taking his father’s place as head of the household.” Both Hiram and his family soon discover the horrors of war both in battle and on the home front.
This award-winning novel is well-researched, and the inclusion of historical battles and speeches give it authenticity. As readers follow the story of the Summers family, they are transported to both battlefield and family farm in an emotional narrative. Hawkins’ gift for storytelling is evident in each chapter. Her description of the battlefield and its horrors of war are so compelling that readers can almost smell the gunpowder. “Men dropped around him like flies, the thud of bullets sinking into them before their bodies exploded with blood.” Not only are the author’s descriptions of the devastation of battle intriguing, her attention to detail when relating the dangers faced by those on the home front is impeccable. “Two riders approached up the lane. It was still too dark for her to make out who they were. She rushed over to the gun rack, took down the shotgun, and walked out the front door to the porch.”
The novel explores the theme of friendship and brotherhood through both the relationship between Hiram and Bud as well as the one between David and Jake. The way in which Hiram and Bud look out for each other on the battlefield is a testament to the love the two soldiers have for each other. “Hiram stopped to catch his breath, watching the smoke clear. He looked around for Bud until he finally saw him walking toward him.” David and Jake also share a close bond, which is evident not only in their banter but also in the way they engage with each other during a trip to Huntsville to check out the location of Northern troops. “David jolted awake, realizing it was daybreak. Chilled to the bone, he shivered as he stood, and went outside. Jake was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed by his absence, he looked in every direction… Jake! Answer me, damn it!”
With its descriptive narrative, it is no surprise that this novel is the recipient of awards. The work won the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion. History buffs will appreciate the attention to detail and the inclusion of actual speeches, battles, and Civil War-era songs. The continuing story of the Summers family can be found in the next two books of the series, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us, which are also award-winning novels. This is a very good thing because the current book is a novel that engages the reader and leaves one eager to read the next one.
The narration of this book is excellent. It is plain to see that the author has an intense fascination with the American Civil War. Her descriptions of people, animals and places make you feel as though you are there with them. As a non-American I found it a little difficult to keep up with where all the places are (my copy didn’t have a map in the cover, which would have been helpful!) and the names of all the generals were lost on me. I found it a little confusing with the many names of the different sides at first, having never studied American history. However, once I got going I found it easy enough to work out. The book shows the civil war through the eyes of an ordinary Southern family, which is an interesting perspective and does not glamourise the war at all. It is a working class family’s story, which makes it easy to relate to. Be prepared to read the rest of the series – the ending leaves you wanting more!
Although not the genre of book I would normally read I was given the opportunity to read and review this book by the author through Voracious Readers. Looking for something different I jumped at the chance and was glad I did. Hawkins writes in such a way that the reader feels they are part of the story. A novel written about America’s battle between the North and the South the closest I’d come to reading anything around this period was Gone With the Wind so it’s definitely not my normal style. However I saw every battle scene clearly felt every emotion and experience expressed by Bud, Hiram, David, Jake and their families, friends and comrades. I found myself praying for Bud and Hiram’s safe return, internally yelling warnings at the boys, and reaching for tissues when Sally was stolen and Hiram didn’t return as planned. A great book well written and one I’d highly recommend
The work follows how the lives of a family from a small town in Alabama are affected by the Civil War. I usually steer clear of historical fiction revolving around wars because they’re all battles or overly romanticized. The author of this work does an excellent job at finding a balance; this is one of the most realistic works of fiction I’ve read concerning the Civil War. The author did her research. The characters are also well-written and aren’t static, making the work engaging. I received a complimentary copy of this work through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for my honest opinion.
I just received another great review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This one is from Pacific Book Review. Thank you, Anthony Avina, for your wonderful 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 LLC ISBN: 978-1643619941 Pages: 200 Genre: War & Military Action Fiction / Historical Fiction Reviewed by: Anthony Avina 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 who’s patriarch went off to fight in the war, and the brutal realities of war they faced both on the front-lines 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.
My publisher has been pushing to get top reviews for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, in hopes of spring boarding it to the #1 status on Amazon. I would like to share some of these with you in the next few weeks.
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 to date there are three volumes – A REBEL AMONG US, A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE, and this volume – A BECKONING HELLFIRE. 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. 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: “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.’ Approaching her novel from the family standpoint allows everyone entry to better understand the Confederate vantage.
Along those lines, the plot progresses as follows: ‘During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. But once in the cavalry, David’s life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.’
This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.
This review of my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is short and sweet, but it gets right to the point! Thank you so much, Kevin Marsh, for your flattering review.
A novel set in the American Civil War which was historically accurate, very readable and enjoyable. My first time reading of any of this author’s work and, given the book is the first in a series, will not be the last.
I recently received another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Pamela Loose, for your flattering review!
Review of A Beautiful Glittering Lie
This is a well written story with vivid descriptions of the lives of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. The comparison between their lives and those of the people left behind is fascinating.
Here is another flattering review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Joanne, for your wonderful review!
I had a little trouble getting into this book, but once I did – I didn’t want to put it down.
I have read several books about the Civil War, but written from the side of the North. This novel is written from the point of view of a family from Alabama. J D R Hawkins’ writing style is such that I grew to feel I knew the family who were the principal characters in the book.
My only complaint, if you can call it that, was that the book ended rather abruptly. There are however, two books which apparently continue the story.
All in all – I loved it! I will place J D R Hawkins on my favorite authors list!