by Julie, dodging raindrops in Somerville
I am THRILLED to let you all know that today is the launch for the fifth in my Garden Squad series, The Plot Thickets! The end of the book marks a year since Roddy Lyden crashed Lilly Jayne’s garden party, and the Garden Squad started guerilla gardening around Goosebush, Massachusetts. A year in book time, and almost four years since Pruning the Dead, the first in the series, was released.
This book takes place in the spring, and Lilly has had a rough winter. She fell on the ice, and her back still bothers her. She’s frustrated that she can’t do everything as easily as she once could. When she and Delia go to the town cemetery to look into a possible beautification committee project cleaning up some of the gravestones and planting flowers, she’s looking forward to wandering around. Her father used to give tours of the historic site, and Lilly knows many of the markers by heart. Or so she thought. As she wanders towards the Jayne family mausoleum (of course they have a mausoleum), she notices that some markers seem to be missing or moved. Is her memory going? Or is something afoot?
If you’ve read the series, you know never to bet against Lilly Jayne. The plot weaves around small town politics and shady business deals. As I mentioned in a Jungle Reds post recently, I did a lot of research, mulled it over, and made it all work for the book. I loved revisiting all of the characters, and moving their lives forward in different ways.
Writing this series has been a great joy. I am sorry that this is the last book Kensington will be publishing in the series. I didn’t know that it wasn’t renewed when I wrote the book, and parts of it may have changed if I had known. (If you have a book group who wants to read The Plot Thickets and invite me to visit, I’ll let you know more about that. Reach out at jhauthors at jhauthors.com). Though the last in a series is bittersweet, I am so grateful to have five books published, and to have introduced the Garden Squad to the world.
I’m also grateful to my sisters Kristen and Caroline, who took ARCs of the book on their travels and sent me pictures. And to my niece Becca, who helped me photograph the book at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Please post pictures of your copy of the book traveling around, and tag me. If you’ve enjoyed the series, let your friends know. Help me make this launch week wildly successful.
I hope you enjoy reading The Plot Thickets as much as I enjoyed writing it.
To celebrate the release of The Plot Thickets, I’ll give away three copies of the book to commenters. Tell me, do you like wandering around old cemeteries?
About the book:
The ever-quintessential New England town of Goosebush, Massachusetts truly shines in springtime, but when an underhanded undertaker digs herself an early grave, it’s up to sixty-something gardening sleuth Lilly Jayne—and her fellow Garden Squad members of course— to unearth the cryptic killer . . .
With spring’s arrival in Goosebush, Lilly and the Beautification Committee turn their eyes to new projects. A cleanup of the historic Goosebush Cemetery may be in order, after Lilly and Delia find the plots there sorely neglected and inexplicably rearranged. Lilly soon discovers that Whitney Dunne-Bradford snapped up custodianship of the graveyard once she inherited Bradford Funeral Homes. But before Lilly can get to the bottom of the tombstone tampering, she stumbles upon Whitney’s body at the Jayne family mausoleum . . .
Though at first it appears Whitney died by suicide, Lilly has doubts, and apparently, so does Chief of Police Bash Haywood, who quickly opens a murder investigation. Plenty of folks in town had bones to pick with Whitney, including her stepdaughter, Sasha, and funeral home employee, Dewey Marsh—all three recently charged with illegal business practices. But when the homicide inquiry suddenly targets an old friend, Lilly and the Garden Squad must rally to exhume the truth before the real killer buries it forever . . .
Buy the book:
The book will be available in mass market paperback, large print, e-book, and audio book. It is available at your local bookstore, through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop.org or other online retailers. You can also request it through your local library!
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Hello! Sounds like a great read. Do I like wandering around old cemeteries? Hmmm in the daytime maybe, at night no way. Too much a scardy cat.
There is a different vibe at night, for sure. Daytime suits me as well.
Happy book birthday, dear Julie! My copy is waiting over at Jabberwocky Books, and I’ll be sure to send pictures as it travels.
Thank you Edith!
I like wandering around old cemeteries- seeing the weathered stone, reading the names and dates of their lives- feeling connected to time. Newer cemeteries with new grief can break my heart though.
Paying attention to the markers and thinking about the stories can be sobering indeed.
I love wandering around old cemeteries.Interesting what you can learn and occasionally the sad thing you find but a trove of info none the less.
There is absolutely the range of emotions. But that’s one of the things I like. Honoring the lives by reflecting on them.
Yes, I absolutely love wandering around old cemeteries near my home in New England! I also really enjoy visiting old, historic, or significant cemeteries when I travel. I’ve seen “Snow Cemetery” on Cape Cod where some of my husband’s family members from long ago are buried and the Dia de los Muertos event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Wandering around can give you a lot of context. And visiting family plots is a great opportunity to pause.
That little book of yours sure gets around! Yes, I do like to wander through old cemeteries–I like to read the old names and see how long they lived and when. Fun to imagine their lives! Our town library does an historical tour of the local cemetery and they’ll tell the life story of the more prominent (or notorious) town members buried there.
I love those sorts of tours. That’s what I imagined for the book. And yes, thanks to traveling and indulgent sisters, the book got around for sure.
When I was in high school we had a project where our class went to the old cemeteries in town and were given a 50 year time span per group to figure out how old people were when they passed on and why if listed (a lot were for our time frame, like in child birth). Then each group had to graph everything to show that people were living longer in the more current years than in the older. It was very interesting. That you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com
What a fascinating project!
Congratulations, Julie! Wishing you lots of sales. Cheers!
Congratulations, Julie! So sorry the series is ending.
I love cemeteries. The markers, especially old ones, are often beautiful and there is such peace there. And some of the old names are hilarious. I remember in high school my best friend and I used to roller-blade in the local cemetery because they had just repaved the roads and they were so smooth.
Love the roller blading story. The added benefit is that there isn’t a lot of traffic to contend with. Thanks Liz!
Happy book birthday! I hate that this series is ending and I won’t be able to visit with Jayne and gang again. I love the photos of your book!
Thank you my friend!
I received my preordered book this morning via e-reader and have read three chapters! Love the characters and the strings that tie them together. I do like wandering around old cemeteries but for the names, the dates and the historic markers! Some are fascinating and seeing the markers of familes together is very interesting. You can create a entire family saga on that! Not by roller skatiing though. I never could manage those very well!
Congratulations on the new book!
Doris, thank you so much! I’m with you on the roller blading. I tried a few times, and it never went well.
Cemeteries always make me sad and also a little creeped out. I’ve enjoyed this series and am sad to see it end. Thanks for letting us get to know the Garden Squad.
Thank you for your kind words.
Happy book birthday, Julia. How sad that this will be the last of the series!
Wandering around historic cemeteries is a vice of mine. One of the things I love about living in Maine is that family cemeteries crop up everywhere. Even more special – no matter how old the cemetery is, it’s always tended. A lovely sense of continuity.
I went to a Lyle Lovett concert this summer, and he told a story about a family cemetery that is tended once a year during a family gathering where the younger generation gets to know each other, and the others do the work. I love that idea.
Happy Launch Day!!!
I love this series and am so sorry to hear this is the last one in it. Sigh.
I’m presently living about five miles from the cemetery where many of my ancestors are buried, now a National Historic Site. Cousins and great-great grandparents, aunts and uncles, line the pathways. I like to think that any ghosts still lingering are friendly.
Cemeteries with a lot of relatives always remind me of the third act of OUR TOWN. So wonderful.
My favorite old cemetery to visit is the Quaker meeting house cemetery in South Dartmouth. My grandparents, great grandparents and aunts and uncles are at rest there. It holds such collective quietude and Quaker simplicity.
I own all of your previous books in this series and am sorry to see it won’t continue. Looking forward to your next book adventure.
That cemetery sounds lovely. And thank you for your kind words!
I don’t really enjoy wandering around cemeteries. For me, they have a very sad connotation. I am also sad that this will be the last book in the series. I enjoy Lilly Jayne’s adventures and will miss her.
Thank you for your kind words!
Super congratulations, Julie on your release! What a lovely group of images you shared!
Congratulations on the release of The Plot Thickets. It is on my Kindle and ready to go. Cannot wait!
I do enjoy wandering around old cemeteries! One favorite is a tiny one next to Chapel House, a silent retreat house at Colgate University. One of the graves has a number of small rocks on top of & next to the stone, each one shaped like a heart. I like to think of someone searching out heart shaped rocks to leave at a loved one’s grave! When my son was at school in Amherst MA I made a pilgrimage to Emily Dickenson’s grave. It’s a lovely old cemetary so I wandered a bit. One plot had a large stone with a man’s name on it, a smaller one that just said “wife” and a tiny marker that said “baby.” Thinking about the nameless wife & child saddened me.
Those “wife” and “baby” markers sound like a writing prompt. Wandering around those older cemeteries always give me pause. And I love the ritual of adding rocks when you visit.
The last book in the series! Nooooo! I love this series! I preordered and it should be here any day. I am so happy to read it but so sad that it’s the last book. Shame on you Kensington. Obviously, someone goofed and didn’t renew.
Thank you for supporting the series! I hope you enjoy THE PLOT THICKETS!
Oh, no! What is Lilly going to do? What are WE going to do without Lilly? I absolutely love this series. And I have loved visiting old cemeteries since I was a little girl. I’ve been fortunate to live in several places where there are a lot of very old cemeteries. For many years, I took photos of the more interesting gravestones/tombstones – and copied the wonderful epitaphs. I took them in black and white and developed and printed them myself. That really makes the aged details stand out.
Oh, and I pre-ordered the book so it should be coming in today! Yay!
I bet those photographs are lovely. And copying the epitaphs is such a great idea–some of them are really wonderful.
I’m sorry to hear this is the final in the series.
I’m not usually one for walking around cemeteries. However, on my vacation last month, my friend wanted to visit Mount Auburn Cemetery. We covered every path in it walking around. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)
The Mount Auburn Cemetery is a treasure. I saw a play there last year that was performed in the cemetery itself. A beautiful place.
Condulations! (Condolences on the end of the series and congratulations on the publication!) I actually make a point of visiting a tiny, old Jewish cemetery in Greenwich Village whenever I’m walking to work in daytime. It’s a wonderful little place, and great to take a moment to pause and honor the people who came before.
I love this new word! Thank you my friend!
I am so very sad that Lilly and the Garden Squad are not going to continue. It is a GREAT series and I have enjoyed my time with the characters immensely. Thank you for creating them. I look forward to your next book series!
Thank you so much, Judy!
I love wandering around old cemeteries. They are so historical and some of the tombstone are works of art.
They really are, aren’t they?
Interesting question. I never really thought about it one way ot the other.
Fair enough! I think it depends on where you live.
I do enjoy wandering in old cemeteries. The gravestones tell a family’s story, especially if they are buried close together. It’s interesting to read the older gravestones because they would sometimes put more info on them making you feel like you know a little bit about them.
They do show a lot of personality, don’t they?
I enjoy wandering in cemeteries, even if I don’t know the people who are buried there! Once I located a gravesite that had a husband buried next to his first wife, and a future spot was marked for his second wife. Many years had passed, and the second wife was never buried there.
I guess she did not want to share the gravesite with wife #1!!
LOL. In my book world, that other space would have been taken by someone else off the books!
Happy Release Day! I must tell you it breaks my heart that the series is ending. Love them!
I’ve post my review everywhere and only waiting on notice that it’s posted to share those posts on social media. Everyone needs to read this fabulous book!
I do enjoy visiting old cemeteries. One of the ones that fascinated me the most is the one in Springfield, MO. It’s the only cemetery with both yankee and confederate soldiers buried in the same cemetery. They had to build a rock wall to divide the two sections. Makes one wonder about how their lives were, how short the lives of most were and the hardships they endure. Then I wonder if we really are off any better now with all of modern technology and still many that carry the hate in their hearts.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
What a story. And I agree with you about pondering their ages, their lives, etc. And thank you so much for your kind words, and your support!
I don’t really know, never really wondered around a cemetery unless I’m putting flowers on graves of people I know.
A good reason to visit.
YAY!!! CONGRATULATIONS…the plot truly thickens with the addition of this new book in your excellent series! My favorite cemetery to visit (and I have done this many times with groups of tourists) is the famous Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There you can visit the tomb of Evita Peron, and wonder about surrounded by most ostentatiously carved marble statues and mausoleums. There are also other cemeteries like the pyramids near Cairo, but that is a different kind of cemetery than the usual ones 🙂 Thank you for sharing your writing talents with us eager readers! Luis at ole dot travel
That sounds wonderful! I am been to the pyramids, and yes, that’s a bit different. But still wonderful.
I did before I became disabled. I have a hard time walking. I wear a plaster brace on my leg and foot. It makes it hard for me to balance on uneven ground. Therefore, I do not try to go anymore. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Sending you my best.
I do, but only during the daytime. I like looking at the various headstones and imagining the lives of the inhabitant of that grave. I don’t like visiting a cemetery at night. Too scary!
I am a daytime visitor as well, LOL.
Yes! I found them so interesting. Some you can’t read the date of them at all. The different types of headstones are so interesting too. When you found one’s with your same last name. It makes me want to look the names up to see if by any chance we are related.
I hate it when a publisher won’t continue a series that people love. We want to know what happened to the characters. Only one author that I have read knew this and did an epilogue of the future of her characters and that was Ellen Byron in her Bayou Mysteries. Too bad. Maybe another publisher will pick you up. I love cemeteries and have since I was a child. In college, I used to go to the National cemetery and visit with Texas most famous patriots while I drew in my sketchbook. My husband even took photos of me in a long blue dress lying on a grave and did it as a double exposure to look like a ghost.
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