In the last post, I mentioned that I am jumping out of order in sharing our road trip with you in this post. I need to back up a bit first…all the way to one morning in early July when I was sitting in our hotel room on St. Simons Island. My computer was on, and I was looking at things on Pinterest while my husband was in a meeting. I decided to check my Pinterest messages, and there was this one that got my heart to beating:
It was from the publishers of Jan Karon’s books. I was thrilled that they even knew I had a Mitford board! (I suppose that is the chief job of PR people to keep tabs on anything related to their products.) Anyway, I replied back to them with this:
(If they didn’t know about my posts, I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to let them know!)
Well shortly after that, I got this message back from them:
If I was interested???? OH…MY…GOOOOODNESS! You better believe I was interested in reading it! So we exchanged a few emails, and they were given my address. I was so excited I wanted to do a cartwheel in that room! And when my husband finally took a break and returned to the room, I was about to burst with, “Guess what! Guess what! You’ll never guess what, so I just have to tell you!!!” (and I did.)
In a few days, a package from Putnam books was sitting on my porch steps.
Inside it was a personal note from the editor, her business card, and this cute save the date…
Loved it, but of course the real treasure was the book.
The book in July when it was not to be out until September.
So I have read it…and I have read it again…and I have read it yet again. Yes, it is that good. It is Lace and Dooley’s wedding story from beginning to end. There are a few surprises in this diy wedding, and there is a really nice surprise for us as readers between the end of chapter 12 and the beginning of chapter 13. Don’t peek! Just know I got a major lump in my throat when I turned the page and saw it.
You really feel like you are involved in a family wedding in Mitford (an exhausting experience at times just like in real life!) You will laugh out loud. You will cry (and cry majorly if you are a wedding-crybaby like me!) You will feel like you are seeing old Mitford friends, meeting new ones, aching in your heart for some that have passed away that you wish could have been at the wedding, and you will see romances begin to blossom. You will be touched by Lace’s voice through this story. I think it had to be her voice shining through in order for you to get the heart behind the wedding. It is my new favorite of the Mitford books, and you will most definitely want to get your copy as soon as you see it on bookshelves September 22.
Now the reason I wanted to move this post up in my calendar is because there is a sweepstakes you will definitely want to enter if you are a Mitford fan.
All the details are here, and the deadline for entries is 9/15/15. I wanted to make sure you had time to enter, and I am crossing my fingers that one of you will win. I also wanted to let you know the dates and locations of her upcoming book tour.
There are no Georgia stops on her tour this time. I would love to go to the one at New Dominion in Charlottesville, Virginia since that is the one shop I wanted to see when we were there a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t think we will be traveling any this month. The first stop in Fairhope, Alabama would be a ton of fun because dear Leslie Anne will be moderating the discussion! (We are all jealous of you Leslie Anne!) Ms. Karon will also be speaking in Bellevue, Washington where our oldest son lives. I emailed him about going for me, and he said, “Um…Mom, I don’t think I can go because we have a big card tournament here that night.” Boys! I hope some of you will be able to attend one of the events. Please let us know if you go! We would all love to hear about it.
Okay, now on to the next part of this. I wanted to do a post to celebrate Come Rain or Come Shine…something special. I knew I would share all about how I received it, but the book really deserved something more. And then I got an idea, but that idea has been sitting on the back burner for a few weeks. I decided to show you my interpretation of part of the wedding food table. It really needed to be photographed at a barn, but that just has not worked out. So Friday, I got busy…super busy. I needed roses in a bucket that had been painted a cream color…(remember this detail when you are reading the book.) That required a trip to a store for paint, a trip for roses, two coats of paint on the bucket, and a little flower arranging.
And I needed an orange marmalade cake (of course!)
That was another trip to the store for ingredients and time for making it.
For a number of reasons, I wanted to make it gluten free. It is possible to do! I substituted gluten free flour in the recipe and made sure all my other ingredients were gluten free as well. It did not rise quite as much as it normally does, so my husband suggested trying it with an additional egg. I think that will do the trick. The flavor was just as good as the original one from the old Victoria magazine recipe. (You can see how I made that one here.)
I messed up the frosting by adding in some “squirty” whipped cream thinking it would give me a little extra. Bad idea. The entire bowl turned to liquid. (My sweet husband made that trip to the store for me for more whipping cream after he got home from work.)
The phone rang crazy on Friday while I was trying to do all this…my mother called a couple of times…my sister called to let me know my brother was coming for a visit this weekend…my brother in law called to say his father (my father in law) was unexpectedly being released from the hospital…my husband called about his father getting out and needing to find home medical help… my sister called again this time offering a number of possibilities for home medical health…my husband called about finding a hotel for his conference in October because the hotel for the conference was already booked up…and on and on.
Isn’t that the way it always goes?
Cake finished (at a little after 7:00 p.m.)
My husband helped me move everything out to a table by the pasture.
I snapped a couple of photos, and then we heard it…
the rumble of thunder.
I thought to myself..You’ve got to be kidding me God. I have worked all day to get to this point, and You decide it needs to rain…right now?? I know the book’s title is Come Rain or Come Shine, but this is ridiculous….and SO not funny!
It rumbled a little more but never got closer.
And then for a brief moment, that beautiful golden light of a sunset came through a cloud. It was very appropriate for a celebration of the book…just what I wanted you to see. (Remember that detail when you are reading it.)
The sun began to sink lower. I finished taking pictures, and we moved everything back inside. The cake has been shared with my brother who is visiting from Atlanta, my parents, my sister and her family, and tomorrow it will be shared with my in-laws and my daughter who came home to see her grandfather – finally home from the hospital. Isn’t it funny, how you never know what is in store for the things you do?
But this is not the end of my Mitford story for you today my friends. When we were coming home on our recent road trip, we had to come back through Virginia. We were having lunch at a place not far from Charlottesville, and I asked my husband if we could go exploring for a little while to see if we could find Jan Karon’s old Virginia farm. (She has since sold it.) I told him the general vicinity where I thought it was located. He plugged it in the gps, and it looked like we could get there in about 20 minutes. So off we went.
I remembered a photo of the house on my post about it, and here is one from the architect’s site.
So I kept that in mind as we drove.
We drove and drove. We were out in the middle of nowhere…truly nowhere…and then we began to see a fence…a very nice fence by a beautiful pasture.
We went further and saw a building in that pretty pasture…and I began to think
This is it…
Next we saw this beautiful gate, and I thought..
This HAS to be it.
And yes, that gate was open, and for a split second I thought…we should drive up that drive. But then I came to my senses and thought heck no. Those people deserve their privacy.
We saw a house through the trees, and I knew for sure that was it…Jan Karon’s 1819 home that she spent years restoring.
The house has over 5000 square feet and sits on over 100 acres. The property is gorgeous. There are rolling hills and trees and a huge pond (which the house overlooks.) What a view!
After we passed the pond, we came to another gate..one that goes directly to the front of the house.
You can see the house at the top of the hill.
And now a zoomed in shot…
It would take a lot of work to keep up such a farm, but it was certainly a wonderful place. The farm was open for a garden tour in the spring of 2014. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been able to see that?
My husband turned the car around, and we continued on our way home. At the far edge of the property we passed this brook.
It would be hard to leave a place as lovely as that, but I cannot imagine all the work that goes into running a farm that size. Can you? I am just happy she chose to continue writing about Mitford!
And that brings us to the end of this waaaay-too-long post. I hope you have enjoyed this all-things-Mitford one, and I hope you will pre-order Come Rain or Come Shine, enter the sweepstakes, and find one of the upcoming book tour events that you can attend. Got all that? I am leaving you with my favorite quote from Lace Harper from the new book:
“Happiness. So much of it, all at once. And no, she mustn’t be frightened of grace.
She must let God give her all this and she must receive it with a glad heart.”
Jan Karon, 2015 Come Rain or Come Shine
I hope this Labor Day weekend finds you with a glad heart
surrounded by things that bring you much happiness!
Until next time…