This is not the usual type of book that I read but the blurb was the thing that completely drew me into it. This is the first book in the series , set in the Civil War , we follow Hiram Summers as he is thrown into the combat , his family who have to stay behind struggle without him there but know he had to enlist and fight for the cause. Hiram and his son uncover the meaning of the war and soon realise that the choices they have made have torn the family they love apart.
It is brilliantly written , it has lots of action , secrets and drama to keep hold of your attention and keep you reading on. The book is only 199pages which for me is the perfect length of book in this genre , it is quick to read for the fact it flows so well throughout the book. It definitely makes me want to read on the rest of the series.
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
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.
I’m very excited about my new book, Double-Edged Sword, and I wanted to share an excerpt from the novel. This is from the first chapter. It will give you an idea of what it must have been like to see the South after the Civil War ended.
Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword
He turned and drove several blocks, trying to recall the direction of the house where he had stayed on his first night away from home. Everything appeared so different, and bluecoats were everywhere, swarming like flies. Down the street, a row of sutlers’ shops had been erected for the benefit of the Union troops. The newlyweds turned a corner and continued on, past structures that were once beautiful homes, but now sat empty, the glass in their windows shattered, their walls crumbling. Tent cities and clapboard structures cluttered vacant lots. Some of the boards were still adorned with wallpaper, an obvious declaration that the walls had been torn from citizens’ private dwellings. David recognized a two-story house, even though the paint was peeling around the window frames and the yard was filled with knee-high weeds.
“This is it?” Anna asked. “It isn’t quite how you described it.”
“It ain’t how I remember it, either,” he said.
He jumped down and tied the mule, then assisted his wife. They climbed the steps together. David tapped on the door. The brass knocker that had been there before was gone; holes from the bolts that had held it in place were all that remained. There came no response, so after a few moments, he tapped again.
“Last time I was here, she had a butler. Tall black feller, name of … Henry.” David nodded as he recalled. “He didn’t take to us much.” He flashed Anna a grin.
“He’s long gone by now, no doubt,” she said.
David tapped once more, but still no response came, so he tried the knob. The door stuck in the jam at first, but then creaked loudly on its hinges.
“Do you think we should go in there?” asked Anna.
He stepped inside. The long hallway was as dark as he remembered, but the lavish paintings that had adorned the walls were missing. Anna followed him down the hall to a large room that was empty except for a solitary wooden stool that squatted in the center. The ornate draperies David remembered had been ripped down, and a transparent gauze sheet had been draped across the broken windows in an attempt to keep insects out. The fireplace stood dark and empty, and the tapestries David remembered seeing were all gone, along with the furniture and knick knacks.
“I don’t think anyone’s here,” Anna whispered.
David walked to the window and looked outside. The back of the house was just as neglected as the front, and the stable doors yawned open with a passing breeze. There was nothing inside. He heard a thump and reeled around to see a small man standing behind Anna. She turned and gasped at the same time before rushing to her husband.
“Can I be of service to y’all?” the man asked feebly.
“Josiah?” David said, taking a step closer. “Is that you?”
The little man held his hand out to him. “That would be me. How may I help y’all?”
“Don’t you remember me?” asked David, trying to keep his voice quiet. “I’m David Summers. I came here with my friend, Jake Kimball. We met on the train from Huntsville, remember?”
The man didn’t seem to recall, so David went on.
“Your wife, Miss Martha, she had us stay the night. And her sister was here. Miss Mattie?”
“When did you say this was?” The old man shuffled to the wooden stool and sat down.
“It was in April of sixty-three. We were on our way to jine up with Jeb Stuart.”
The words seemed to register. Josiah looked up and smiled. “Yes. Yes! I believe I do remember you!” He stood up and vigorously shook David’s hand.
“This here’s Anna, my wife,” he introduced.
She stepped toward him. “Sir,” she said, taking his bony little hand in both of hers.
“Where’s Miss Martha? I’d surely like to see her.” David chuckled. “She made me promise to stop by the next time I was in town.”
The smile vanished from Josiah’s furrowed face. Suddenly, he looked very old. “She’s gone,” he said flatly.
“Where did she go?” Anna inquired.
Josiah sank back down onto the stool. “She left me … when the Yankees came. She got so upset with the occupation that one day, she …” His voice trailed off.
David exchanged glances with his wife. “She what, Josiah?”
He looked up at them, his eyes filled with grief. “She took the pistol out from under the mattress … and put it to her head.”
“Dear God!” exclaimed David.
Anna’s mouth dropped open.
“It was more than the poor darlin’ could bear, havin’ Hooker’s army come in here and take everything we owned. They took the nigger, they took the horses, they even took the rugs out from under our feet. Stripped clean, jist like a plague of locusts.” He paused, the silence overwhelming, then said, “Wilst they were fightin’, there was a lunar eclipse. Do you reckon it was some kind of omen?”
David gulped. “What happened to Miss Mattie?” he asked, afraid to hear the reply. “Where’s Miss Martha’s sister?”
“She’s gone too. Ran off before they got here, and I haven’t seen nor heard from her since.”
“Do you know where she went?” Anna asked, taking her husband’s arm to steady herself.
“No idea. I’m all alone here. Have been for quite some time now.”
David was at a loss, not knowing what to say. “We could take you somewhere. So you ain’t alone,” he suggested.
“And where would that be?” Josiah stood, slowly straightening. “The whole of the South is like this now. And besides, this here’s my home, and I’ll be damned to leave it.”
“Can we do anything for you?” Anna inquired.
“Jist leave me be, young’uns. I can fend for myself. Nice of y’all to stop by, though.” He sashayed into the parlor, or what David remembered to be the parlor, and closed a dark oak door behind him.
“We should go,” suggested Anna.
David glanced at her, unable to speak. He felt helpless, like he should do something, but was at a loss as to what. She took his hand and led him outside, where they boarded the wagon in silence and rode back to the depot. Chattanooga, David understood, had aged tremendously, just like Josiah. The town of two thousand was now overrun with bluecoats who seemed unconcerned with the annihilation they’d caused. What was once an elegant town was now demoralized by Yankees, and the whole city appeared beaten down and ancient.
I recently received two new five-star reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, VEdwards and Joshua Grant, for your reviews!
It was interesting to read a book on the Civil War from the average Southern resident’s perspective. I haven’t really found any that tell of the bad things the Northern soldiers did to the Southern cities and people. The North is painted in such a positive light by most books that you really don’t get a realistic sense of the truth. The writing was excellent and the characters interesting. Descriptions of both everyday life and battle were well written and distinctive. I look forward to reading more from JDR Hawkins.
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 home front. 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!
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:
I’m so excited that my new novel, Double-Edged Sword, has made it into the third round of voting! I couldn’t have gotten here without you! Every month, AllAuthor sponsors a book cover contest. There are four voting rounds, one for each week of the month.
Cover of the Month
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade Series Hey Everyone, I’m excited to tell you that my book has been nominated for the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor.com. This will help me a lot if I could see some votes coming in, so please remember to vote my book. Vote Now » https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/13313/
Would you please be so kind as to vote for my cover once again? I would be eternally grateful! Thank you so much in advance.
Last month was Confederate Heritage and History month. In honor of this, a special event took place on April 23 at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Beauvoir is a beautiful mansion with breathtakingly stunning gardens. It is the home where Confederate President Jefferson Davis spent his last years after the Civil War ended. I have visited Beauvoir many times, and it always amazes me how beautiful it is.
Beauvoir was seriously damaged from Hurrican Katrina. But since then, it has been restored to its previous glory.
On the grounds is a Confederate cemetery, and in the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The wreath laying ceremony that took place on April 23 was in honor of the unknown soldier. Solemn ceremonies such as this take place all across the South during April.
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’d like to thank everyone who took the time last Tuesday to check out my post on the b00k r3vi3w Tourss book tour for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. If you’d like to check out the other bloggers who participated, here is the link:
The last time I checked, there were over 600,000 views! That was last Tuesday, so it’s probably over a million by now.
In other news, the book is now available for free on Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) for a limited time. And if you are interested in writing a review, I’d be more than happy to hear from you! Thanks again for all your support!
Confederate cavalryman, David Summers, returns home to Alabama, taking his new wife, Anna, with him. Upon arrival, he understands how much the war has changed him and has scarred his homeland. Faced with challenges of transition, he learns how to navigate his new world, along with the pain and trauma of his past. He is also forced to confront his foes, including Stephen Montgomery. Their hatred for one another inevitably boils over into a fierce confrontation, whereby David is arrested.
Will the jury believe his side of the story, even though he is an ex-Confederate? Or will he be hung for his crime?
David helped Anna down after tying the mule, and followed her inside. A lanky man who stood behind a counter looked up from the hotel register as they entered. David nodded to the man, led Anna into the dining hall, and sat down beside her at a small round table. Like before, the room was nearly unoccupied. Three Union officers sat in the far corner, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. Two men stood near the back of the room. One was playing a fiddle while the other attempted to sing a slow ballad in a low, baritone voice. The room was bright with sunlight, and lace curtains hung over the long windows. A thin, balding gentleman with an apron wrapped tightly around his waist appeared, pencil and paper poised in his hands.
“How do,” he said softly. “What would y’all like to order?”
Anna smiled up at him, but he only stared back.
“Well,” she began, “what is your specialty?”
“And more importantly, how much is it?” added David.
The waiter laughed. “More than you can afford, I’ll wager!”
David chuckled. “We have two dollars. Bring us whatever that provides.”
He glanced at his wife, who glared at him.
“It ain’t Confederate currency, is it?” the man asked.
“Silver,” responded David.
The waiter grinned and walked off into the kitchen.
Anna was still glaring. “The money you earned in prison?”
“You should hold on to that, sweetheart. We might need it for something important.”
He smiled. “You’re important,” he answered. “You said you needed to eat, and I’m starvin’. What could be more important than that?”
The musicians began to play another melody, and the couple listened to the lyrics.
“We shall meet but we shall miss him, there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him, while we breathe our ev’nin’ prayer.
When a year ago we gathered, joy was in his mild blue eye.
But a golden cord is severed. And our hopes in ruin lie.”
David couldn’t help but think of the loss of his best friend. The lyrics saddened him deeply, searing his soul, rekindling the painful remembrance of discovering Jake’s lifeless body on the battlefield. He drew a heavy sigh, and took his beloved’s hand.
“It’ll be all right,” she comforted.
He nodded in confirmation, relieved when the song finally ended and the musicians broke into a lively tune.
About the Author:
J.D.R. Hawkins is an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her “Renegade Series” includes “A Beautiful Glittering Lie,” winner of the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, “A Beckoning Hellfire,” is an Amazon bestseller and winner of the 2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion. “A Rebel Among Us,” the third book in the series, is the recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and winner of the 2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion. Double-Edged Sword is the newly-published, fourth book in the series. These books, published by Westwood Books Publishing, LLC, tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins has also published a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, titled “Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses,” with Pelican Publishing. She is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. Ms. Hawkins is also an artist and a singer/songwriter.