Karen: Let's welcome Linda Nightingale! I'm so glad to have her here once again on KMN Books Blogspot. She's here to tell us about her new release, HER GENERAL IN GRAY. Do you love ghost stories and historical romance? If so, you're in for a treat.
Linda is also giving away a book from her backlist to one lucky commenter. Winner's choice.
Take it away, Linda.
Linda: In Her General in Gray, the heroine’s (Autumn Hartley) dinner guest, whom the hero despises, in answering her question, says: “He was reputed to be as wily as the Swamp Fox—do you know who Francis Marion was?” Dudley looked at Autumn over the rim of his crystal glass.
Her back went rigid. She stabbed another morsel of her food.
Francis Marion was my childhood hero. I read any biography of him I could find. The Mel Gibson movie, The Patriot, was loosely based on Francis Marion. Walt Disney produced a mini-series, airing 1959-1961, entitled The Swamp Fox.
He was born in 1732 in Berkeley County, South Carolina, and died in 1795. He was a military commander during the American Revolution and, due to his unconventional battle tactics, he is considered the father of guerilla warfare and maneuver warfare.
Marion would tease British regiments in a hunt-and-seek type campaign with quick, surprise attacks, then leading the Redcoats into the swamps where he’d grown up and knew like the back of his hand. He cut a dashing and romantic figure to a young girl looking for a hero.
After the war, he returned to his plantation to find it burned to the ground and his slaves run away to fight for the British, and he had to borrow money to restock his plantation with slaves.
The historic Francis Marion National Forest near Charleston, and the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston is named for Francis Marion.
John Sibley Allen’s (the hero) fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as it was seen by his countrymen). He fought and perished at Antietam, his southern spirit returning to his plantation in the South Carolina Low Country to take up residence and frighten away anyone brave enough to purchase the property.
Enter Autumn Hartley, a Northern lass, and sparks—of all kinds—fly!
I had to compare General Allen of the Confederacy to Francis Marion, didn’t I? And being a horsewoman I had to give him a superior mount, The Black, that he called swift and agile.
With that one mention, the parallels do not stop. Being a wealthy landowner in the Charleston area, John Sibley would have owned slaves, and they remained of their own volition after the war started. After his death, his elder brother inherited, gambling and womanizing away the family fortune and banishing the remaining slaves to fend for themselves in the new era.
Her General in Gray is funny in places and poignant in places as any story about the Civil War must, at times, be.
About the Book:
"A Massachusetts lass purchases a southern plantation that comes
complete with the ghost of a Civil War General for the Confederacy. Sparks fly!"
John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat,
Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.
After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty
Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old fashioned ghost possibly hope for?
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Autumn climbed the stairs to the dusty attic. No trepidation followed her. Since she’d moved into the house, she’d planned an excursion into its past. For some reason, her irritating spook had been absent this morning. She had to admit that she missed having her coffee poured and a nice good morning greeting when she forced her eyes open, but she was now on an adventure that she’d rather not share.
She rambled around, stirring up a cloud of centuries old dust, and in the corner she found a lovely old leather trunk with the brass lock open. Cautiously because of its age, she lifted the top and gazed at a stack of women’s clothing, surprisingly intact. With careful fingers, she lifted a beautiful dress and held it up to her. The billowed sleeves were short and a shawl collar finished the bodice. Strings of pearls tucked the emerald overskirt over a beige embroidered underskirt. If she weren’t afraid of damaging the garment, she was sure she could fit into it. The full skirt would accommodate her hips and the tiny waist looked as if it would close around her. The romantic she chained deep inside warmed her. What would it have been like to have lived in that elegant time?
In an age of smart phones and tablets, she stood for a moment contemplating the past. The temptation was almost too much for her, but she’d started to fold the dress back into its resting place when a hand landed on her shoulder.
Sib’s voice was soft and tender. “The dress belonged to my mother. She wore it at a ball before the war.
It appears to be in passable condition. Why don’t you try it on? I’ve imagined you so attired.”
“I’m a Northerner, remember? I’m surprised you offer your mother’s gown to me.” She turned, the green frock draped over her arm. “Where have you been anyway?”
“Here. All the time. I was simply playing along with your game of asking for my disappearance.”
She stiffened. “Don’t play games with me. My mother used to do that. It was disturbing and hurtful to a child.”
“You reveal more of yourself every moment, and I’m enjoying getting to know you. Very well, I’ll share something about me. My father what do you call it today? cheated on my mother. More than once. I’d hear her crying at night. Thus, I would have been true to my wife.” Eyes sad, he nodded at the dress.
“I’d like to see you in that, Autumn. We are becoming friends. She would have approved. I’ll assist with the buttons.”
“Turn your back. I’ll have to get undressed.” She motioned at him. “I’ve no desire for a ghost to see me in my bra and panties.”
He chuckled, his big grin enticing. “Such modesty. Actually, I was anticipating that view. Anyway, I’ve seen you in your underwear before.”
“You Peeping Tom!” She accused, shaking a fist at him. “Will I have no privacy? Do you follow me to the bathroom, too?”
“No, Ma’am.” He shook his head, his hair moving in soft waves. “I was simply in my bedroom when you changed into your nightgown.”
“It’s not your bedroom. This is my house, and don’t you forget it.” She glared at him.
He snapped a smart military salute. “
About the Author:
Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston.
She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.
Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is now a finalist in the 2016 SARA Merritt.
She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Miata Club, and enjoys events with that car club. Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.
PS The piano plays itself!
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