The Girl In The Butternut Dress by Joanne Hardy

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Based on real historical events, "The Girl in the Butternut Dress" is a searing saga set near the fault line of the Civil War in Southern Illinois. Though it is Union country, the rolling grassy hills are alive with so-called Copperheads, or Southern sympathizers who give aid and comfort to Union deserters. Against this backdrop of national turmoil where neighbors become enemies comes a deeply, and unlikely love story.

In their small, war-stricken town, a man and a woman experience a romance both sweet and troubled. Gabrielle, a young woman, helps feed runaway slaves secreted in a safe house on the Underground Railroad. While working to help slaves escape to freedom, she falls in love with a southern-sympathizing gentleman who is the epitome of everything she opposes. Cayne is a lawyer who is not only sympathic to the fledging Confederate nation, he also gives aid a bounty hunter tracking runaway slave. Can their love bridge what divides a nation?

To truly come to terms with her love for Cayne, Gabrielle will need quell a deep hunger to know her own origins--to find her own identity. She was raised as an illegitimate child by her grandparents, often enduring her grandmother's verbal and phyicial abuse. Her mother died young, refusing to name the man who fathered her child. Gabrielle's rough-and-tumble upbringing runs counterweight to Cayne's, the son of Southern gentry. Their differening social standing only inflames Gabrielle's passion, and she devotes herself to making herself acceptable to him, even as she is repulsed and puzzled by his allegiances.

The sieges and battles of the Civil War grow ever more violent, and sometimes are brought in the streets of the town and the dark road of the countryside especially when a camp of Union deserters hide in the wood, plundering smokehouses and barns for survival.

Gabrielle cannot stop loving this man she does not agree with or understand, even when he is sent to the State Legisture in Illinois representing the Copperhead ticket.

This gripping romance set during the Civil War will tug readers' heart strings making them question what they would do when faced with a choice between moral wrongdoing or love and listening to their heart.

About Joanne Hardy

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The Girl in the Butternut Dress" is my debut novel. I grew up in the locale where the events in the story took place. My father remembered hearing, as a little boy, his two grandfather, both Civil War veterans, talk about their war experiences and the unrest in the county during the war, as well. My childhood was steeped in the lore of the era which my father brought to life for me. Later, I did my own investigation into the local turbulence I had heard about and found an even broader, richer drama than I had been told. Though politically the state of Illinois belonged to the Union, it was deeply contested territory peopled by settlers who's roots were in Virginia or the Carolinas. As the war dragged on, discouragement ran high, and Union soldiers deserted their army and found refuge in a campground, with Confederate sympathizers sheltering and provisioning them with ammunition. In this tinderbox of divided loyalties and hair-trigger tempers, I found the seeds for a story of two troubled lovers, one who has secretly helped escaping slaves on a farm that is a station on the Underground Railroad, and the other who believes the Southern nation has a right to be recognized.After retiring from a two-decade teaching career, I continued to write for both local and national publications. While working on this novel, I found a home for my addiction to history, genealogy and writing in organizations such as Daughters of the American Revolution, the Palm Springs Writers' Guild, and National League of American Pen Women, a consortium of female artists, composers and writers.
Published October 25, 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 484 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In Hardy’s debut historical novel set in the Civil War era, a woman in a border state is torn between her moral beliefs and the brother-in-law she secretly loves.

Dec 10 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl In The Butternut Dress

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