1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over.
Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them.
Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle’s courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance…
Reed Jackson went to fight in the civil war. When he returns home to his beloved South, he’s stuck in a wheelchair. His father thinks he’s not capable of running the estate anymore and leaves everything to Reed’s younger brother. Reed moves in with his cousin in Missouri and fully intends to start over. Unfortunately, starting over isn’t as easy as it sounds and the past haunts him at every crossway. He must come face to face with the demons of the past in order to fully live in the present.
Then there’s Belle Richards, who’s brother is violet and who’s father is a drunk. Belle is courageous in so many ways that she inspires Reed to be courageous as well. As he starts to fall for her, he begins his journey toward his actual ‘new’ beginning. Together they can dream of a future, but in times where dreams are sparse, they must fight with everything they have to achieve them.
I interviewed Holly Bush on my blog two weeks ago, and ever since, I’ve been dying to read her book, so I was glad when Christmas came along and I could finally get started. The book was great from start to finish. Holly Bush has a very vivid way to describe things, painting it as clear and detailed as in real life. She managed to set the setting and historical period extraordinarily well for this book. I was also thoroughly impressed with the fluent writing style. The words flowed, the pace was quick, and the setting very well described.
On to the characters. I liked Reed’s internal struggles, how he has to start over again, and how he has to learn to live with what happened in the Civil War. It provided a blank canvas to have him start all over again, yet he wasn’t a completely unwritten book, which made it all the more intriguing. I also liked Belle. She was so courageous in her own way, such a strong girl with such brave dreams. I thought they were a nice couple, and definitely a refreshing change from some of the historical romance couples I’m used to. They both had depth and personality, a history that formed them and a future they wanted to shape themselves.
I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all historical romance fans. I look forward to reading more of Holly Bush’ work in the future.