Spotlight: The Lilac Bouquet by Carolyn Brown

It’s an exciting day here in southern Oklahoma today. The Lilac Bouquet is on the shelves. The idea for this story has been in my mind for more than forty years. I do believe that it was just waiting for Emmy Jo to be born and grow up for all the puzzle pieces to the whole story to fit together.

With that in mind, I’ve asked Emmy Jo to tell us a little about this big wedding and why she thought it was so necessary in her life. So I’m going to get a glass of sweet tea and a homemade pecan cookie and let her do the talking.

(Emmy Jo takes the microphone.) 

Hello, folks. I’m so glad to get to visit with you about The Lilac Bouquet. The whole story started way back in the 1930’s when my great grandmother, Tandy, got pregnant and had to raise her child as a single parent when the baby’s father joined the service rather than marry her. When my grandmother, Rose, grew up she had a child, Crystal, out of wedlock. Tandy was left with that child to raise, too, when Rose died in an accident. Then Crystal got pregnant in high school and planned to marry her boyfriend but died when I was only a few days old. That was four generations that I termed the Massey curse and I was determined to break it with the biggest wedding Hickory had ever seen. With a big splashy affair like I’d planned the curse would be over. But a wedding that big and fancy is expensive so I took a job as assistant for Seth Thomas and almost lost Tandy and my best friend for the decision. But even if it cost me everything, it was that important to me.

Maybe a little excerpt about the day I brought out my wedding book to share with Seth: 

Seth had not expected something so thick or heavy when Emmy Jo laid the wedding book on the table that evening. “All this for one wedding? Just how big is this event going to be?”

“We are posting an open invitation in both churches for all our friends and families. Basically the whole town of Hickory is invited.”

Seth whistled through his teeth. “Good Lord! Why?”

“Because I want everyone to witness the fact that I am breaking the Massey curse. I’m getting married, and it will be at least nine months—but hopefully two years or more—before I have a baby,” she answered.

“And you think you need to have a big affair for that?”

“You don’t?” She crossed her arms over her chest and raised her brows.

He opened the book to the first page, which had pictures of various cakes she had cut from magazines or taken photos of. “The way this town gossips, you could get married on the creek bank with no one there but you, Logan, and a preacher and it would be all over the county in twenty minutes.” He turned a page. “Which one have you picked out?”

She reached over and flipped through to the middle of the section marked with a tab that said cakes. “That one.” She pointed. “And then there will be all kinds of fancy cupcakes. Only a few folks will have the actual cake. Do you like those little stick things with a lilac bouquet picture on them?” She pointed to a picture of a dozen cupcakes with different things on the tops.

“Lilacs?” His voice cracked.

“Always been a favorite of mine. My colors will be shades of purple, and I’m going to carry a white daisy and lilac bouquet.”

He had to swallow four times to get the lump in his throat to go away. “Purple, huh?”

“Loved it since I was a little girl. Got into lots of trouble one year when I was a little girl for picking every pansy in Granny’s flower bed and the neighbor’s, too.”

Seth pointed at the cake. “I don’t see any purple on this.”

“There will be. We’re not putting a bride and groom on the top like that shows. A tiny bouquet made just like mine will lie on the top, with the streamers coming down the front side.”

“Then you need the lilac pictures on the cupcakes,” he said.

She picked up a pen and circled the cupcake with the lilacs. “Another decision made. Thank you. Now let’s go look at dresses.”

“First you need a place so you know what kind of dress to get, right?” he asked.

“Why?” she asked.

He flipped to the tab with dresses on it and pointed to the first one. “See that big train out behind that thing? Now think about having this wedding in a park or outside. Dragging that thing behind you would guarantee that by the time you got down the aisle you’d have more cockleburs and goat head stickers than you’d have them shiny things on it.”

She ignored him and stuck a finger under the venue tab, and suddenly he was looking at pictures of outdoor weddings. In most, white folding chairs were set up on two sides with an aisle down the middle for the bride. Some had archways at the front with flowers. Others had a gazebo-looking thing with sheer fabric flowing in the breezes.

His mind shot into high gear as he imagined the wedding out on his driveway. Concrete paving, so she wouldn’t have to think about her dress. He could hire valets to park the cars out in the pasture beside his house, and the garage could be the reception hall. It was air-conditioned, so her cakes and food would be safe from the heat and flies

There were a few places that put tears in my eyes so you might want to grab a few tissues, but then there were many happy times that Seth and I shared. He’s got a right snarky sense of humor that matches mine so well. And now I’ll give this microphone back to Carolyn.

I’ll close this by saying thanks again for inviting me and Emmy Jo to your site and by saying that I appreciate and value every one of my readers. So until next time, Happy Reading to you all!

Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance


Come hell or high water, Emmy Jo Massey will have a wedding. After three generations of Massey women with children out of wedlock, she wants the whole town of Hickory, Texas, to witness the legitimacy of her union with Logan Grady. But dream weddings aren’t cheap. So she accepts a highly lucrative stint as a home health assistant to retired realtor, and town recluse, Seth Thomas—a decision her great-grandmother Tandy is dead-set against.

Seth isn’t happy about it, either. The eighty-two-year-old doesn’t want a “babysitter”—much less a Massey—something he makes clear when Emmy arrives at his house, an empty mansion built for the woman who broke his heart. But as Emmy stays and the two eventually open up to each other, she learns the reason behind a feud between Seth, Tandy, and Logan’s grandfather Jesse Grady that goes back six decades. She also uncovers a secret that forever changes how she sees her past and her future…

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About the Author

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, as well as a RITA finalist. She has written several beloved and popular romance titles, ranging from historical to contemporary to cowboy-themed. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children, and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

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