Happy Friday Eve! I hope you all had a fantastic week. With the upcoming Easter Holiday weekend, I wanted to share a special book with you all. Long time followers, know that I have become a big fan of Carolyn Brown. Her books are comfort reading, and they helped me get through some tough times last year. Having read numerous books by Ms. Brown, I have to say, that The Lilac Bouquet is probably my all time favorite. This is a delightful, poignant and sorrowful tale about coming to terms with the past and learning to live again. I adored the curmudgeonly Seth and the feisty Emmy Jo. This is a must read book. I loved it! Now that I have rambled on and on, I need to get to the point. I have the wonderful Carolyn Brown back on the blog today to answer a few questions. So let's take a minute and meet her:
About the Author:
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a RITA finalist. Her books include historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, she refers to herself as a Tex-Okie. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren.
Please welcome Carolyn Brown!
Hi Carolyn, Thanks as always for taking time out of your schedule to come and visit. I love having you here.
It’s always a pleasure to visit Rainy Day Ramblings and visit with all y’all. Thanks goes to you for all you do for authors.
Let's get started.
At the end of The Lilac Bouquet, you discussed in the author's note how this book was written over decades. Do you think it was better that you waited to share Seth's story when he was an old man? How would the book have played out if Seth had told his tale in his younger years?
I do think it was better that this story came together when Seth was an old man. Something about it just simply wouldn’t gel when he was a young man and even though I kept going back to revise it time after time, it wouldn’t go together right. Now, I’m beginning to think that it was waiting for Emmy Jo to be born and grow up before the pieces all fit together.
What was the inspiration for the Lilac Bouquet?
When Mr. B (that would be my husband) was in college we were living on a shoe string and such things as movies and date night was impossible. We heard a song, “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp,” by Merle Haggard and we started telling each other a story based on that song. Then later I heard a George Jone’s song, “The Old Old House,” and those two songs inspired the book.
I adored Seth, and I was thrilled to see him get started on a bucket list. What are a few things that are on your bucket list?
An editor asked me about my goals which would be something akin to a bucket list, I suppose. And I counted them off on my fingers. #1 is to sell a million books on one title. #2 is to win a RITA. #3 is to have 100 published books lining my shelves. And #4 is to have a movie made from one of my books. I would dance a jig in a pig trough it I could see The Lilac Bouquet on the big screen.
Every time I read one of your books, my mouth is watering. The folks in your stories are always cooking up such good grub. I am certain that you must be an excellent cook. Have you ever considered writing a cookbook? What is your secret for making the best brownies?
Cooking has always been a passion of mine. When I was about thirteen I figured out if I offered to stay in the house and cook that I wouldn’t have to go outside and hoe in the garden. Lord have mercy! But I do hate anything that involves sweat. I have considered writing a cookbook but it would involve measurements and I’m a taste and add type of cook. My secret for good brownies is not to overcook them and to put my famous homemade fudge icing on them.
I was a bit disappointed that Tandy wasn't more forthcoming with her secrets. Why did she carry such animosity toward Seth?
Tandy and I had lots and lots of visits. Seth didn’t turn out like she expected. She thought that he’d always be that kid who was bullied and that he’d never amount to anything. Then it made her angry when he turned out to be the opposite.
You are always so busy. What books do you have on the horizon?
The rest of this year looks like this: The Toughest Cowboy in Texas, May 30; The Strawberry Hearts Diner, July 18: Lucky in Love (a reissue) August 1; and Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas, Sept. 26. But keep your boots on and your reading glasses right handy because there’s more already in the works for 2018—the last of the Happy, Texas Trilogy will be out in January and another women’s fiction in February.
Finally, do you have any books on your wish list that you want to read for Spring?
I don’t have nearly enough time to read with my writing schedule. I’m an eclectic reader who will read everything from Faulkner to the back of the Cheerios box so if I do find a little time on a Sunday afternoon to pick up a book, I bet it won’t take me long to find one.
Thanks again, Carolyn for answering my questions. I love reading your books and having you on the blog. I hope to have you back real soon for your next Cowboy book and for Strawberry Heart's Diner.
Thank you so much. And thanks to all my readers for reading my books, telling your neighbors and friends about them and for taking time from your busy schedule to write reviews! Please know that you are appreciated beyond what words can begin to describe.
A huge thanks to Carolyn for taking time out of her crazy schedule to visit here with us. Hugs, Carolyn!
Now the best part, I loved this book so much that I want to share it with you all, so I am going to offer a chance to win a copy of The Lilac Bouquet . This is open to U.S. residents only.
To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
The Lilac Bouquet by Carolyn Brown
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…
Kindle Edition, 281 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Montlake Romance
Five stars: An amazing tale of secrets, love, loss and living life to the fullest.
Tandy is furious at her great granddaughter Emmy Jo. Emmy Jo has gone and taken a job working for the reclusive Seth Thomas. There has been bad blood between Seth and Tandy for over sixty years. Emmy won't back down because she is determined to have her dream wedding, even if Tandy doesn't like her fiancé. Emmy will prove to the town once and for all that a Massey woman, after three generations of children born out of wedlock, can get it right. She just has to tame Seth, who doesn't want her in his house babysitting him as he recovers from a broken hip. Once Emmy Jo starts her job, a funny thing happens. Long buried secrets come bubbling forth, and hearts change. Will Emmy Jo uncover the truth behind the long time feud? Can hearts change?
What I Loved:
- The Lilac Bouquet is a book that touched my heart, made me laugh and cry, and was an all around fantastic read. If you are a fan of Carolyn Brown, this book is different from her usual light and fluffy romantic tales. This one had sadness and loss, and it was rich and deep. I loved it! If you are a fan or a new reader, grab this one and settle in for a wonderful read.
- The story centers around Seth Thomas and Emmy Jo Massey. Seth comes across as gruff and eccentric, but once you peel back his layers and learn his secrets, he is a big old teddy bear. My heart hurt for Seth, and I loved him fiercely. I loved seeing him open his heart to Emmy Jo, and I cheered him on as he started his own bucket list. He stole my heart.
- Emmy Jo is a whirlwind. I loved her tenacity and her fierceness. She took on Seth and never backed down. It was so fun watching her get under his skin. I adored the relationship she formed with Seth. It was truly special! I couldn't help giggling as I watched Emmy battle her stubborn great grandma, Tandy. I could see where Emmy Jo got her fire.
- This is a book about long buried secrets and the pain of the past dragging down the living. It was heartbreaking to learn about the hardships Seth's beloved Mother endured. It was also eye opening to see how hard some women had to struggle and the lengths they had to go to take care of their family. Mary Thomas was a fighter, and I loved her bravery and her stubbornness. I only wish that she could have found some happiness.
- I enjoyed the take home message of this book. It is all about letting go of the past and learning to grab hold and live life to its fullest. It's never too late. Make your bucket list, get out and live.
- I can't recommend this book enough. It was a book that touched my heart and soul. I loved the characters, the struggles, the courage and the love. Read it!
And The Not So Much:
- I liked Tandy. She was feisty and funny, but I was disappointed that she remained so stubborn and that she refused to share the truth about the past. I was also frustrated with her because I didn't understand why she carried such hatred toward Seth all those years. She missed out by carrying a grudge for so long.
- I was disappointed in Jesse. I was hoping he would be a bigger man, and treat his great grandson better, but he remained small minded.
The Lilac Bouquet is a book that will land on my best of 2017 list. This was a story with heart and soul. It made me sad and it made me happy. This is a book that reminded me to grab hold of life and live it. I could go on and on, but I am not going to. Just take my word and read this book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.