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.
Post American Civil War
Romantic Historical Fiction
Heat level 2
Review Rating: 5 Stars *Top Pick*
REVIEW BY VIKKI
This was such an engaging read. Belle and Reed’s story captured my heart. Reed moves to Fenton, Missouri from the south, 2 years after the civil war. He arrives in Fenton a broken man. During the war, he lost his left lower leg and the right is mangled badly so he’s in a wheel chair. Once Reed meets Belle, things move very quickly. Due to some extenuating circumstances, Reed and Belle marry, even though they are virtual strangers.
This novel was full of action and emotion as the reader becomes privy to Reed and Belle’s personal thoughts and actions. The secondary characters add flavor to this excellent plot and storyline. I loved the way Ms. Bush ended the book with a letter to Reed’s mother.
I really enjoyed watching their love for each other develop. This novel is much more than a historical romance. It deals with the very real issues of slavery and the reconstruction period of history for our nation. Ms. Bush paints a vivid picture of the reality of the prejudices that existed then and still exist today.
This is a story that will linger long in my mind and one that I will read again in the future. I highly recommend this book and could easily give it 5 stars. I look forward to reading other works from this author. I’ve read all three novels she’s written and each of them have touched my heart.