Recently, I received more five-star reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, and I wanted to share them. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. It tells the story of a family from north Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts them. Thank you so much for the reviews!
This is a beautiful story of a family’s sacrifices and struggles as they stand up to a belief and their country. While we, as readers, encounter all the perils of the war, some ugly truths also surface, that make us question about the many facts and legends associated with the Civil War.
This book is a historical fiction centered around the Civil War. Not for the weak hearted. The POV in this is from the south so keep that in mind. Not for everyone but a good read. Great job to the author.
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; the initial volume is this exceptional book – A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE. This series, now four books in number, 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: “Oh, look! Here he comes!” Jenny exclaimed. The crowd exploded with cheers. David looked over to where she was pointing, his hazel eyes squinting in the bright sunshine. An elegant black lacquered carriage drawn by six white horses pulled up to the steps of the regal Greek revival-style state building. Eight musicians burst into “Dixie’s Land.” A slender, steely middle-aged gentleman stepped out of the carriage and was escorted by military personnel to a waiting platform, where he took his seat. “He looks sickly to me,” remarked David’s father, Hiram…’ Approaching her novel from the family standpoint allows everyone entry to better understand the Confederate vantage.
With that sense of presence, the plot progresses as follows: ‘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. 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.’
This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.
I recently received several new reviews for my latest novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth in the Renegade Series, and has already reached The #1 spot on Amazon. I’d like to share some of these reviews with you. Thanks so much for the awesome reviews, and for your continuing support!
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by J.D.R. Hawkins is a story that shows how a man can be changed after war. The quality of the novel is undoubtedly great. I liked how characters were developed and how the main character’s change was shown. I also enjoyed the dialogues, which seem quite accurate with real life. I recommend reading it.
Double-edged sword by J.D.R. Hawkins is an astounding story filled with remarkable character experiences and intense adversities. The troubles and conflicts brought on by the result of combat run deep. Instability and turmoil are triggered though violent behavior and suffering. It was rather fascinating learning about the life of soldiers following war, and the author does a great job of capturing genuine emotion. This is a very thought-provoking book that I would highly recommend.
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by author J.D.R. Hawkins is an enjoyable read that can be a very good stand alone – so, if you haven’t read the previous ones, you would be able to understand this one. The scenery, the description of characters and the dialogues are well created, making the reader immerse in the story easily. I would totally recommend reading it.
The American Civil War has come to an end. David Summers, a Confederate cavalryman, goes back to Alabama with his new wife, Anna, to settle down there after serving in the war. Upon returning, he is aware of the profound impact that the war has had, not only on himself but also on his homeland. As a result of being confronted with the difficulties of transition, he acquires the skills necessary to negotiate both his new reality and the agony and trauma of his past. Additionally, he is compelled to face off with his adversaries, one of whom is Stephen Montgomery. Their deep-seated animosity for one another will inevitably lead to a violent altercation, during which David will be taken into custody. Even though he was a member of the Confederacy in the past, do you think the jury will believe his side of the story? Or will he be executed by hanging for his crime?
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series by award-winning author J.D.R. Hawkins is a well-written and researched historical drama about the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and the difficult years that came to be known as the Reconstruction era. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and a well-deserved five stars from me.
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And in further news, the cost for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has been lowered on Kindle to $2.99. It is also free on Kindle Unlimited. This is the first book in the Renegade Series. Get your copy today!
This week only, all of my books in the Renegade Series are free on Kindle! This is an exciting promotion that I’m featuring to help jumpstart the holidays. It will also boost my ratings on Amazon. Get your free copies today!
My latest novel, Double-Edged Sword, is making its way to the number one spot on Amazon’s bestsellers list. As of today, the book is ranked at #3 under Best Sellers in War & Military Action Fiction.
The book ranks at #2 in Best Sellers in Action & Adventure Romance Fiction.
And it ranks at #9 for Best Sellers in Historical Fiction.
Double-Edged Sword is also being featured on the AllAuthor website. Here is the link:
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.
I received this review from the US Review of Books for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Mihir Shah, for your flattering review!
A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War (The Renegade Series)
by J.D.R. Hawkins
Westwood Books Publishing
Book review by Mihir Shah
“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.
As you might know, Halloween was invented by the Irish. Originally called Samhain, which means summer’s end, the ancient Celts also invented pumpkin carving. They carved turnips and other root vegetables and inserted candles inside to scare away evil spirits. They also invented bonfires, which were originally called bone fires. This is because the Celts sacrificed animals and burned their bones in fires to also scare off evil spirits. Just a few interesting facts about how the holiday started.
Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us, which is the third book in the Renegade Series. I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe this 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 exhuberance 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 heard.”
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.