Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Tour Review + Guest Post: Miss Hildreth Wore Brown by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern BelleFrom the Back Cover:

With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.

The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt LottieMae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

My Thoughts:

When I was asked to participate in this blog tour, I jumped at the chance. From the moment this book started popping up in bloggers' mailboxes, I wanted to read it! And as soon as I opened the book and read this opinion of hers, which echoes my own, I knew we'd get along just fine:

     It is never too hot for coffee and never too early for chocolate.

Hallelujah! And so I decided right then that I would enjoy a few stories every morning with my coffee, and so for the following week my days started off with a dose of humor and more often than not, a trip down memory lane! Her tale about about worry was like reading a story out of my own life--my mom does the exact same thing! Everyone has to have the same number of Christmas gifts, and she'll be finished with someone and then see something that she just has to get for that person, so then she has to buy everyone else one more thing, and on and on it goes until she's doubled her Christmas budget! And where I come from, having a party when your parents are out of town is a rite of passage, and Olivia's reminiscences about her sons' escapades brought a smile to my face, and fond memories of my own:

     I feel sorry for any parent whose teenager has not thrown a party while they were out of town. It just doesn't seem fair for only some of us to have the joy of raising juvenile delinquents.

I also loved her take on southern churches:

     Hands down you won't find better food, and the prayer list alone provides fodder for gossip for a good month.

I enjoyed reading Olivia's stories and reliving some related stories of my own that came to mind. And while Olivia and I will have to disagree on a few things (I do treat myself to $4 lattes on a regular basis with no shame, and I do enjoy some pretty, sexy little things from Victoria's Secret), we do wholeheartedly agree on a great many others, including toddler temper tantrums, the importance of a cute pair of shoes, grandmas and soap operas, Christmas sweaters, and speed bumps. Miss Hildreth Wore Brown is a humorous, uplifting, "just let your cares fall away for a little while and enjoy these stories about life's little moments" kind of read!

And now I am pleased to welcome
Olivia deBelle Byrd to Let Them Read Books!

Upon finishing this book, I wanted to learn more about Olivia's journey to bring her collection of stories to publication. I know I personally think to myself every now and then that I need to write down some of my family's most memorable stories and moments of hilarity, and I bet just about everyone else has those thoughts, too. So, I wanted to learn what inspired her, and how she set her feet on the path to publication, and here's what Olivia had to say:

by Olivia deBelle Byrd

It began as a mundane task of cleaning out my filing cabinet. I happened upon a humorous anecdote I had written when my son was sixteen years old. He had asked me a question pertaining to sex that had struck me as funny. Since we Southerners have a penchant for turning ordinary happenings into entertainment, I had written an anecdote about it. My husband and daughter were sitting in the room so I read this anecdote to them and they looked at me with their mouths agape and said, “Honey/Mom, that is really funny!” The truth is they were amazed I could write something other than thank you notes.

A few days later, I was telling one of my oft repeated stories and my husband said to me in exasperation, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?” The Scarlett O’Hara in me, who loves nothing more than a good challenge, surfaced and these two occurrences spurred me to action. Why not write some of these tales down for my children as a Christmas gift? I had a quest.

Since I had been raised by a Southern father and grandmother of uncommon wit, the fabric of my childhood was laced with humor. When I finally put pen to paper, the stories flowed as freely as water drops on a rainy day. The tales would surface in the quiet of church, where it seems much of my book was written on the back of offering envelopes. It would probably be best if my preacher never discovered this little fact. One day I was thirty minutes late picking my daughter up from the airport, where she was perched on her suitcase, hands in face. I had pulled over to the side of the road to write. When I surfaced from this rain storm of writing, I realized I had actually written a book!

With the encouragement and mentoring of two wonderful Southern authors, I began the arduous journey into the world of manuscripts and rejection letters. I had armed myself by reading everything I could on publishing and growing a thick skin, but the rejection letters were growing faster than my skin. Then, miraculously, thirty-one months and fourteen rejection letters later, Miss Hildreth Wore Brown-Anecdotes of a Southern Belle was published by an independent New York publisher.

Lives have many forks in the road, but this was a U-turn in mine. The world of marketing a book has taken me down many new paths. My readers have made the lost sleep, uncertainty, and long hours worth it all. I have made new friends and renewed old friendships. I have found family I never knew existed. Every time a reader tells me they laughed at my words, my soul smiles. I have been in love with the written word as long as I can remember and to use it to bring pleasure to others is the greatest pleasure of all.


Olivia deBelle Byrd is a self-proclaimed Southern Belle who resides in Panama City, Florida, with her husband, Tommy. She is the author of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle, which is her first collection of satirical essays.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown is on a blog tour this month!
Visit Olivia's website to view the other stops along the tour!


  1. Nice review and guestpost :D The book sounds so much fun

  2. I enjoyed this one too and my review is coming up on Wednesday.

  3. I love reading about the south of the US (I'm in Scotland and have never visited) so I think I may have to put this one on my wish-list!

  4. It is amazing how many "accidental" authors there are out there! Olivia stops by my blog on Monday and answers some questions! Check it out!

    Hope you have a great weekend Jenny!

  5. Your review was almost as much fun as reading the book! I think a whole lot of my enjoyment came from my own reminiscences about my Southern mom, grandmom, aunts, and great-grandmother. What a fun book!

  6. I really enjoyed this book, too! My review is posted today. I found myself nodding several times; for instance, my mother made sure we had exactly the same number of gifts, even if it meant someone got a package of socks. LOL


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