Reconstructing Jackson

ISBN Number: 

Reed Jackson returned from the Civil War a changed man, physically and emotionally. Losing his left leg below the knee and with an injured right leg, Reed is confined to a wheelchair.  The promise of a fiancée and inheriting his parents' prosperous Southern plantation have both been turned over to his healthy, younger brother. Moving to Fenton, Missouri, where his cousin Henry Ames lives, may be a new beginning for Reed as he uses his law degree to open an attorney's practice.
Dirt-poor and uneducated, Belle Richards longs for more than being a housekeeper to her ungrateful father and brothers. Her dreams are simple - a house, a garden, a husband, children... and to be able to read.
Set in 1867, “Reconstructing Jackson” is a really delightful romance and realistic historical western! This story does not try to whitewash the anti-black, pro-slavery sentiment that still persisted after the War. The ugliness of racism against freed slaves and their supporters is not hidden. It is peppered with racist words (without being overdone) depicting the times and attitudes authentically.
The characterization of Reed is particularly poignant  as he struggles at times to reconcile his values of growing up in the South with this new world. Sweet and gentle, but stubborn and strong, Belle is able to teach the educated Reed some life lessons. And Beulah, the black manager of the hotel owned by Henry and who teaches Belle to read, is possibly the most outstanding character in this cast.  The story could have been fleshed out with more details in the history and setting but, all in all, “Reconstructing Jackson” is a finely written historical western, very well-balanced between history and romance!
Jill MacKenzie