Hello, everyone! I’m very pleased to be here for Throwback Thursday on Grace Duncan’s blog.
When I was growing up, the most desired time to have a wedding was June. Everyone dreamed of being a June Bride. The weather tends to be lovely, everyone is able to find time to get out of work, and the flowers are blooming.
But here it is, September, and I’m writing about a story where the wedding is set in the deep of winter. (Around Valentine’s Day, which is why there’s so much pink in the story.) Most brides I know these days aim for early September weddings. Like June, the weather is fine, school is usually around the corner or only just begun and the homework hasn’t piled up yet, and a lot of flowers are still blooming.
Aside from those logistical considerations, the concerns of the brides I know and Molly, the one in my story, are still the same. They want a drama-free wedding where all their planning pays off. I’ve witnessed the hard work done to ensure that so many things are taken care of. Even small weddings require patience, perseverance, and acceptance of the things you cannot change. Most weddings do go off without major hitches, riding over small stuff that is mostly forgotten about in the joyous years that follow.
The little mishaps in “How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings” ensure the wedding and reception aren’t entirely drama-free, but overall the story isn’t about gasp-inducing problems. The focus is on the barest nudges that bring people together and the loving responses of friends and family who care more about the couple getting married than their own egos. It makes Whippoorwill into a calmer story, allowing room for the romance between Everett and Jake to bloom and flourish.
Everett is busy as the best man and doesn’t really have a lot of time to woo Jake, the brother of the bride, even if he’s keenly aware of how attractive he is. Jake doesn’t need the attention to be on him because he cares that his sister gets the day she deserves. In the small snippets of time and space where they meet, Everett and Jake brush against each other emotionally and physically, spiraling closer and closer until they come together. Fireworks can be spectacular, but it is the slow burn of attraction and good-heartedness that warm from the inside, even on the coldest nights of the year. And it’s that slow burn that promises to last a lifetime.
Lots of other great stories out there have upheavals and pathos that cause romance to burst forth, but Whippoorwill is the sort of story to read before bedtime to ensure lovely, soft dreams. Perfect for winter and pulling the covers up to your nose. (My favorite time to re-encounter this story for myself.) Or June, with the windows thrown open for fresh air. Or September, when you know winter is coming and you need a reason not to hate the cold.
As a fun bonus, I did write a short free read that dovetails in with the main story. It’s called The Nightingale’s Confection. It’s set prior to the wedding, where Molly is shopping for wedding cake. She’s brought her brother, Jake, with her for assistance, and they get a chance to have a brother and sister heart-to-heart talk about romance. The wedding cake shop owner plays a pivotal role in the structure of the story and it was important and useful to make her a successful business woman. Jake might get all the romance, but she’s going to get all the business!
Here are links to the free read:
Also, here’s a short excerpt from “How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings” that highlights Molly, the bride, giving a thank you gift to Everett, the best man:
Molly beamed at him. “But there’s one more thing in the bag, and that’s from me.”
Everett searched the bag and his fingers closed around a smooth, cool object. He pulled it out and turned it over in his hand. It was a small paperweight of pink glass in the shape of a nesting bird. “A whippoorwill?”
Molly clapped her hands together once in apparent delight. “Did Irving tell you about the whippoorwills?”
Everett shook his head. “No. But I saw them on the cake, and on your dress.” He waved the glass bird down at the delicate embroidery on the hem of her dress, and Molly twirled left and right as she bent to glance at the design.
“It’s for luck, and for love.” She swished her skirts again. “I read a story when I was little, and in it a heroine went on dashing adventures, and along the way a magical bird was her companion. It was a little whippoorwill. Ever since then, I’ve paid attention, and if you look, you’ll see the birds everywhere. I hope this little one will be good luck for you.”
“It’s lovely.” Everett turned the glass bird over. It was a solid weight in his hand, though not too big. It would fit easily in his pocket. “I love it. Thank you.” He did like the bird’s form. He couldn’t decide if the bird looked as if it were settling down to sleep, or waking from a snooze, but either way, it looked calm, and comfortable, and had a friendly air.
Where to Find “How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings”:
About the Author:
Tray Ellis never learned to whistle and her home is rarely organized, but that just leaves more time for writing, which she adores. Gentle twirls of fate are her specialty and when she writes, she aims for a quiet humor and a satisfying ending. She can be found chronicling her writing journey at: