New historical Christian fiction release
Today I’m happy to have Margaret Brownley stopping by to tell us about her new historical novel Gunpowder Tea. First, let me give you a glimpse at the book:
Annie Beckman arrives at Last Chance Ranch in the Arizona Territory holding the classified ad she found. Miss Walker’s search for an heiress who is single and willing to remain so gives her the perfect cover. As a detective for the Pinkerton Agency, Annie’s latest clandestine task is to discover the identity of the mysterious Phantom, a train robber thought to be hiding out at the ranch.
Ranch hand and undercover Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is secretly tracking the Phantom too, but Annie suspects he may be the train robber she’s after. They’re constantly at odds and she even goes so far as to serve him gunpowder tea in an attempt to gain the upper hand.
Danger lurks around every corner and everyone is under suspicion—even Miss Walker! It’ll be a race to the finish to see which rival detective finds the Phantom first. Nothing—not even romance—can get in their way.
Gunpowder Tea: Good for What Ails You
“Tea?” Miss Walker made it sound like something that crawled out from under a rock. “You want me to drink tea?” –Gunpowder Tea
British TV commercials are timed for three minutes and that’s not by chance. It takes roughly that long to heat a teakettle and brew a cup of tea. Nothing—not even a commercial for soap powder—is allowed to interfere with Britain’s love affair with tea.
Apparently no commercials were shown during William’s and Kate’s televised wedding. After the happy couple exchanged vows, a surge of electricity consumption equal to a million heating teakettles swept the country.
Americans love tea, too, but mostly drink it iced. It wasn’t always that way. Tea was once the favored beverage of early colonists and remained popular until the mid 1800s. Though coffee became the drink of choice for rebels after the Boston Tea party, its appeal was limited. Sold green, the chore of roasting coffee beans baffled housewives and chuck wagon cooks alike. Once the beans were roasted, they quickly lost flavor and aroma. The short shelf-life meant that roasted beans could be sold only in big cities.
This posed a problem for early westward travelers. Out of necessity the forty-niners turned to tea, which was in plenty supply during the California gold rush thanks to the Chinese.
Gunpowder tea was especially popular. When hot water was added, the hand-rolled pellet shaped leaves made little popping sounds.
While it might take a stretch of the imagination to visualize someone like John Wayne walking into a saloon and ordering a cuppa gunpowder—that’s exactly what those early frontier men did when they wanted something hot to drink.
Gunpowder tea is the perfect metaphor for the heroine of my book. Miranda Hunt is a Pinkerton detective working undercover at the Last Chance Ranch. She hopes to catch the outlaw believed to be hiding there and known only as the Phantom. Gunpowder tea is described as being strong as soft honey. Miranda is one tough lady when she has to be, but can be surprisingly vulnerable in matters of the heart. Just like the tea, however, her real strength comes when she lands in hot water—which is more times than she cares to count.
Gunpowder tea is said to cure everything that ails you from tooth decay to high blood pressure. It supposedly even slows aging. You won’t find this in health books but, as the heroine in Gunpowder Tea clearly demonstrates, this particular tea can also issue a strong warning to an annoying (albeit handsome) hero.
Margaret Brownley is a New York Times bestselling author with more than 30 novels to her credit including her newly released Gunpowder Tea, and a non-fiction book. Look for her work in the following recently released collections: A Bride for All Seasons, A Log Cabin Christmas and A Pioneer Christmas. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.