Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, VANESSA LIND, and her favorite recipe for SUPER BOWL CHEESE BALL!
A FOND HOPE
Secrets of the Blue and Gray Series Book 4
BY VANESSA LIND
Follow the thrilling journey of Hattie Logan, a smart and resourceful spy for the Union during the American Civil War.
October 1864. As the conflict between the North and South escalates, Hattie is drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue when she learns of a plot to destroy US cities and kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. Embroiled in a tangled web of some of the South’s most powerful figures, she sets out on a perilous mission to stop the enemy’s plan at all costs.
As she races against time to stop the enemy’s plans, Hattie must use all of her wits and bravery to navigate the treacherous world of desperate Confederates. Along the way, she encounters a cast of complex and intriguing characters, including a handsome Union officer with a troubled past, a cunning Confederate agent, and a group of powerful men who’ll stop at nothing to achieve their goals.
Written in page-turning style, A Fond Hope is a thrilling tale of one woman’s bravery and determination during the turbulent final months of America’s Civil War. A fascinating historical novel of grit, valor, and resilience, this book is sure to be a hit with fans of historical fiction and spy stories alike.
A FOND HOPE
Secrets of the Blue and Gray Series Book 4
BY VANESSA LIND
Strolling under a starry sky with Lieutenant John Elliott at her side, Union spy Hattie Logan could almost forget the country was at war. For October, the air felt close to balmy, and the easy rhythm of their steps on the boardwalk added to the comfort of having enjoyed a fine meal—fine for wartime, at any rate—with the man Hattie believed she was coming to love.
“When do you think you’ll recover your taste for port?” John asked. Illuminated by the gaslights along the street, his gentle smile added to her contentment.
“Maybe when the war ends,” Hattie said. After a harrowing escape from a Rebel who’d tried to take over a Union gunship by serving the crew drugged alcohol, she’d lost her taste for wine.
John pressed his hand over hers. “So much will be different then,” he said.
“So much will be better.”
“Provided the outcome is as we hope.”
“But General Sherman has taken Atlanta, and we’ve got control of the Shenandoah.”
“For the moment.”
She smiled up at him. “You do know how to ruin a lady’s good mood, Lieutenant Elliott.”
“Sorry. It’s just that when everything seems to be going well, there’s always a chance that disaster lies right around the corner.”
“That’s quite enough talk of disaster,” she said. “I for one am thinking of the future.”
“And what, pray tell, will that entail?”
You, she almost said, but she checked the impulse. She’d known John Elliott for nearly two years. He’d supervised her work as a spy in Nashville, and together they’d survived an attack by the Rebel guerilla who’d killed John’s wife. But until recently, she’d kept him at arm’s length as she struggled with her feelings for her first love, a fellow spy who’d been captured and executed.
Now she felt as close as she might ever come to making peace with her memories, and she was glad to be here in Nashville, strolling beside the handsome and kind lieutenant. But John Elliott was a prudent man, steady in ways she was not, and he had his own memories to contend with. They would take things one step at a time.
“My future?” she said. “I suppose what I want most is a fresh start. A new beginning.”
“No more spying? Somehow I can’t imagine you not snooping around in things.”
She swatted his arm. “You of all people should know it’s not snooping. And I like to think my work will hasten our victory, even if only in some small way.”
“I wouldn’t call thwarting a Rebel plot to take over Lake Erie a small accomplishment.”
“I had help, you know.” But even as she said this, Hattie couldn’t suppress the swell of pride she felt at having achieved something meaningful for the Union cause. Not that she intended to crow about it as some did. That would mean giving up spying, and she intended to do her part to make sure the war came to an end sooner rather than later.
“Having help diminishes nothing of what you did. Working with others is the nature of our enterprise. Which is why I’m glad you’re staying on in Nashville to help with our Army Police work.”
“Staying on for a while,” she said. “If I’m needed elsewhere—”
“You are a restless one,” he interjected.
“Not always. At the moment, I’m feeling quite content. Only…” Her voice trailed off.
“Only passing along rumors gleaned from Nashville’s Rebel sympathizers isn’t the sort of spying you signed up for,” he said.
“I know it’s important,” she said. “Or at least it can be, every now and then, when something a woman whispers about at the market or in a shop or hotel lobby turns out to have merit. It’s just that I’m…impatient.”
“You want more.”
She squeezed his arm. “No more than what I’ve got right now.”
Rounding the corner, they fell silent. Ahead, the street was ablaze with light. Hundreds of men—and some women and children too—came marching past them, a sea of black faces. Each marcher wore an oil-cloth cape, protection from the open flames of the torches they carried.
Hattie slowed her steps, taking in the spectacle. Beside her, John slowed, too. Side by side, they stood among a group of spectators, listening as a song erupted from the marchers.
We’ll join in the struggle with hearts firm and true
We’ll stand by our chief and the red, white, and blue
“They be turning out in support of President Lincoln in the election next month,” Hattie said, recognizing the words to one of Lincoln’s campaign songs.
“That, plus I’m told Negro leaders here have been organizing to petition Governor Johnson to proclaim their emancipation here in Tennessee just as President Lincoln did for Negroes in the Rebel states.” John pointed into the night. “See how they’re turning toward the Capitol?”
Indeed, the marchers toward the front of the parade were veering off toward Capitol Hill, the highest point in the city. “I hope the governor grants their request,” Hattie said. “Slavery is an abomination no matter where it’s practiced. And we Northerners owe a debt to the Negro soldiers who’ve joined the Union cause.”
A lump formed in her throat as she thought of Samuel, the black soldier who’d given his life to save hers during the Rebel attack on Fort Pillow last spring. After all he’d done, she’d never even learned his last name. He’d had a wife and baby girl, he’d told Hattie. She felt horrible knowing they’d never see him again.
The end of the parade neared, the marchers singing the final lines of the song:
We never will falter, our watchword will be
The Union, the hope of the brave and the free
As the last word reverberated, a dark object flew through the air in front of Hattie. One of the marchers ducked, narrowly missing being hit by it, but his steps never faltered.
Another missile flew. Hattie whirled around to see one of the bystanders, a bearded man wearing dungarees and a straw hat, with a large rock clutched in his raised hand.
About Author Vanessa Lind…
Vanessa Lind loves writing about strong women from the past, especially the ones who’ve got a secret or two. She enjoys heartfelt stories that keep readers turning pages with characters that aren’t easily forgotten.
Vanessa grew up in Illinois but has since migrated to the Pacific Northwest, where she lives near a town rich in history (and breweries). She has a serious book-buying problem, never turns down a cup of tea, and gets her best ideas while walking her boxer dog. Her goal in life, besides writing unforgettable books, is to be a good ancestor.
Links to Vanessa’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Click here to order A Fond Hope, Book Four (incl. Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo) in the historical fiction series Secrets of the Blue and Gray.
Want to be the first to know about Vanessa Lind’s latest books and receive a free copy of Lady in Disguise, prequel to The Courier’s Wife?Sign up for her Passion for the Past newsletter.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Vanessa is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
SUPER BOWL CHEESE BALL
NOTE FROM VANESSA: I hear cheese balls are making a comeback. Here’s a family favorite for your Super Bowl party.
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
½ cup diced green pepper
1 (8.5-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups chopped pecans (1/2 cup of this reserved for rolling the ball)
2 tablespoons dried minced onions
1 tablespoon seasoning salt (or substitute your own blend of salt, pepper, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne)
Mix all ingredients, setting aside ½ cup of the chopped pecans. I use my (clean) hands. Shape into a ball. Spread the remaining ½ cup pecans on a plate and roll the ball till its covered. Serve with your choice of crackers, carrots, and celery.
Thanks, Vanessa, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!