Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle Byrd (Review and Interview)

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle (Rated: C)
Morgan James Publishing
ISBN: 978-1600377488
Published May 1, 2010
Trade Paperback, 176 pages

I like reading books set in the South. This one contains short anecdotes of funny moments in the life of Southern author Olivia deBelle Byrd. There were times when I was laughing really hard at some of the situations she brings up. This author is one outspoken, opinionated, and honest lady! She discloses funny and embarrassing moments about her family, extended family, neighbours and friends. As I was reading, I kept thinking, I wonder if these people know what she has written about them for the world to read? (See the author's answer to this in my interview with her below the review.)

It's true that she refers to Southern traditions and ways, but I was able to relate to her as a woman and mother in many of the circumstances. And of course, I loved her Southern accent and colloquialisms. Her take on sassin', gratitude, Southern grandmothers, success, we-know-Mom's-crazy rule and the art of bargaining had me nodding my head and laughing out loud. She mentions several times about how polite Southerners are, and I believe her, but I must say, there was an incident that caught me off guard when she slammed the door in someone's face!

These are not profound anecdotes--although the discerning reader will glean a few gems--but mostly personal accounts meant to entertain with the use of exaggeration and lots of humor. Some of the anecdotes are as short as two pages, making this a quick and light read. It's one of those books you can leave on a coffee table for guests to enjoy and for you to re-read when you're itchin' for some good ole Southern humor.

And now for the interview!

1. How did you decide which anecdotes to include and which to exclude?

That was one of the more difficult parts of the editing process. My daughter, who is very good at editing, spent hours with me going over the stories and together we hashed out what worked best. I reminded her I had spent six hours in labor to have her and this was payback! It was also nice to have someone who could be more objective to sense if the anecdote worked.

2. You write about funny but potentially embarrassing moments experienced by family and friends. Did you ever worry about offending anyone?
I absolutely did worry about that. I was raised in a household filled with humor, but I was taught at a very early age that you laughed with people NEVER at people. I worked very hard to accomplish that. My immediate family played a part in many of the anecdotes and they were great sports. They were amazed I could write something besides thank you notes!

3. From your stories, I can see you love shopping in NY. What’s your favorite thing about being in NY besides the shopping?
Isabella (from the book) and I LOVE Broadway shows and we LOVE to eat. We also work in the ballet. Brunch at Balthazar's in SoHo is a must!

4. Your anecdotes reveal a stable and good relationship with your hubby. Any advice for today’s woman on how to make a marriage last?
I read this very true quote once: "Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat!" Besides having the finest character of any man I know, my husband is the funniest man I know. Every marriage has its ups and downs and, during a down time, I have been known to look at my husband and say, "You better be glad you are funny." So my advice to today's woman is to find a man who has great character and who will make you laugh.

(I totally agree! My own hubby is funny and it has helped diffuse many tense moments that occur throughout the different stages of marriage and parenthood.)

5. What was the last great book you read?
One of my goals each year is to read some classics. I just finished Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, both beautifully written. A modern great book I just finished is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I could not put it down. It is one of the most endearing books I have ever read.

(The Guernsey was one of the best books I've read too.)

About the Author:
Born and bred in the South, Olivia deBelle Byrd is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and a Kappa Delta. Olivia is the third generation of her family to call Panama City, Florida, home. She and her husband, Tommy, are the proud parents of Tommy Jr. and Elizabeth.    

To learn more about this book and the author, visit:

Miss Hildreth is on tour for the month of April! You can find more reviews here:

Friday, April 1: Mrs. Q: Book Addict
Saturday, April 2: A Journey Into Reading
Sunday, April 3: Reading Between Pages
Monday, April 4: My Round File
Tuesday, April 5: Chaotic Compendium
Wednesday, April 6: 4 The Love of Books
Thursday, April 7: Knitting and Sundries
Friday, April 8: Chocolate and Croissants
Saturday, April 9: Lulilut's Stack O' Books
Sunday, April 10: Let Them Read Books
Monday, April 11: Steph the Bookworm
Tuesday, April 12: The Cajun Book Lady
Wednesday, April 13: Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, April 14: CMash Loves to Read
Friday, April 15: The Road to Here (Squirrel Queen)
Saturday, April 16: My Life as a Young Southern Prep
Sunday, April 17: Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Monday, April 18: Kelsey's Book Corner
Tuesday, April 19: Books and Life!
Wednesday, April 20: Life in the Thumb
Thursday, April 21: Diary of an Eccentric
Friday, April 22: Metroreader
Saturday, April 23: Just Books
Monday, April 25: Ramblings of a (Future) Librarian
Tuesday, April 26: Socrates' Book Reviews
Wednesday, April 27: My Life In Not So Many Words
Thursday, April 28: So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 29: Peeking Between the Pages
Saturday, April 30: Under the Boardwalk

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. The book does sound like a lot of fun! Southerners are just a little bit different, but in a good way.

  2. I loved this book too! Great interview also!

  3. This one was totally fun! I wish I had thought to mention the "Sassin'" antecdote in my review; it had me nodding my head and smiling!

  4. I enjoyed this book, too. Loved the interview! I'll have to remember to use the line about her daughter helping because of the time she spent in labor, though I don't think it would work on my daughter.


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