Jennifer Vido: What inspired your new release, WEDDING OF THE SEASON?
Lauren Edmondson: The idea for Wedding of the Season came about five years ago, when I was visiting Newport on a girls’ trip. We went to visit The Breakers, the grandest of all the historic Newport mansions owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County. I learned that the descendants of the Vanderbilt family, who had called the “cottage” home for 120 years, were moving out of their third-floor apartments, having turned over the rest of the mansion to tourists and preservationists. This relocation was either voluntarily or involuntarily, depending on which source you read. The situation sparked my curiosity, and soon I was down the rabbit hole of Vanderbilt and Gilded Age mansion lore. I saw fascinating parallels between the outrageous spending habits of turn-of-the-century American royals and today’s elite. I also thought it would be great fun to set a story in one of those Newport mansions.
Jen: What brings Cass Coventry back home to Newport, and how does she feel about her return?
Lauren: Cass, reluctantly, comes back for her older sister’s engagement party. It’s not that she doesn’t love her sister or her future brother-in-law—Cass just doesn’t like being in Newport, for reasons explored in the book!
Jen: How does her family’s complicated history make its way back in the limelight?
Lauren: Cass’s sister isn’t just marrying anyone—she’s marrying into the family who stole the oceanfront Gilded Age mansion that the Coventrys had called home for over a century. Centering the novel’s conflict around this wedding between two feuding families was a fun way to dramatize all the ways people like the Coventrys are unique—their public personas and famous names an irresistible draw to online gossip and mainstream press.
Jen: Why does Cass’s weekend in town turn into a summer season?
Lauren: During her sister’s engagement party, Cass receives some truly shocking news having to do with their home, The Land. Cass decides she must stay and help her parents, sister, and younger brother navigate this surprise. She hasn’t always been the best kid, sibling, or Newporter, but she tries to make up for her past mistakes over the course of the summer. Some attempts go better than others!
Jen: What do you hope readers take away from Cass’s story?
Lauren: Cass is really caught between past and present, saddled with the famous name and the thorny, problematic family legacy, but no longer welcomed into the corridors of power—economic or social. It’s no mistake that Cass is a middle child, scrunched between her more famous siblings, initially unable to see a place for herself in the family or in Newport. She certainly has her fair share of struggles over the course of the book but, ultimately, I want readers to see Cassie’s journey home as a hopeful story about the ways family and home can make a person whole.
Jen: What’s the best way for readers to stay connected with you?
Lauren: I love connecting with readers, so you can find me on Instagram or via email.
Jen: Sneak peek! What’s your current work in progress?
Lauren: I’m excited to be working on a novel about a group of friends set in East Hampton!
Jen: What books are on your TBR stack?
Lauren: I’m reading Laura Warrell’s Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm right now, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Next will be The Sunshine Girls by Molly Fader, and Meg Mitchell Moore’s The Summer Stage, which comes out in May.
Jen: Thank you for stopping by to chat about WEDDING OF THE SEASON. I devoured it in two days! I can’t wait for my readers to experience Cass’s unforgettable story about the true meaning of home.
Lauren: Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
A warm, whip-smart novel about two modern-day society families and the summer wedding that has all of Newport talking...
Despite its beauty, Newport is a place Cass Coventry would prefer to forget. But after an extended absence, she’s back in her hometown to celebrate her sister’s engagement—even if she’s marrying into the family that famously stole the Gilded Age Coventry mansion out from under them a decade ago.
The moment Cass pulls up to the estate, she’s in for one surprise after another. The bride-to-be is hiding a big secret. Her mother has royal-wedding aspirations. And, when the date is set for only three months away, a local gossip blog makes the two families its new favorite subject.
It's not long before Cass's weekend in town becomes a full summer of frenzied wedding planning and society drama—but also idyllic sails, starry nights, and a former love. As the grand affair arrives, along with new truths about her family, Cass must finally face her own thorny past in Newport and decide how to honor the Coventry legacy in all its chaotic glory.
Women's Fiction [Graydon House, On Sale: February 21, 2023, Trade Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781525899997 / eISBN: 9780369720542]
LAUREN EDMONDSON has a BA from Williams College and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. She teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.
Jennifer Vido writes sweet romances set in the Lowcountry filled with southern charm and hospitality. In between chapters, she interviews authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on FreshFiction.com. Most mornings, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class for seniors before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit. A New Jersey native, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescue dogs and is the proud parent of two sons who miss her home-cooked meals. To learn more, please visit her website.
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