Mary Jane Clark is the New York Times best-selling author of fourteen
novels: 12 KEY News media thrillers and 2 Piper Donovan/Wedding Cake
Mysteries. A former writer and producer at CBS News in New York City,
Clark is the daughter of an FBI agent and mother of two.
A holiday that celebrates love.
The origin of
Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery and the story of its patron saint is
murky. But my favorite theory is that
Valentine was a priest in ancient Rome.
When the emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those
with wives and children and outlawed marriage for young males, Valentine defied
the ruler and continued to perform secret weddings for desperate lovers.
How romantic! Love conquering all, even with a government
mandate against it. Love surviving
against all odds, the lovers making clandestine vows, sealing themselves forever
before God. Forbidden love triumphant!
As the old song
goes: “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and
carriage. This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other.” Americans are obsessed with the idea of love
leading to the altar. Billions and
billions and billions of dollars are spent on weddings every year. Weddings, modest
and grand. Traditional weddings, unconventional
weddings, whimsical weddings and rustic weddings. Seaside weddings, woodland weddings, tropical
weddings and garden weddings. Winter, spring, summer and fall weddings, in the
United States or out.
For a suspense
writer, the possibilities are endless.
Emotions run high as the bride, the groom, their families and friends
and everyone involved in the wedding plans have the potential to be suspects in
a crime that has to be solved before a wedding can take place. All those prospects for murder and mayhem
along with my innate desire for happy endings are why I’m writing the Piper
Donovan/Wedding Cake Mystery series.
From childhood, we
daydream about whom we will marry and imagine our weddings. Little girls wonder what the dress will be
like. As they grow older, they keep a running mental
list of who they will choose as bridesmaids, even when they have no idea who
the groom will be. Will he be handsome
and smart? Will he be kind and have a
sense of humor? Or will he have a dark,
mysterious side? Will he have secrets
And, oh, the
choices to be made! Will the church
aisle be long enough for a grand entrance?
Would it be better to wed barefoot in the sand at an idyllic beach? Or marry by candlelight in the ballroom of
some grand hotel or historic estate? But,
sometimes, things aren’t what they seem.
Even the most beautiful venue can have evil lurking somewhere.
We are drawn to
the pomp and the ceremony, the hope and the promise, the idea of two people
loving one another enough that they solemnly pledge to spend the rest of their
lives together. We want to believe in the dream, all fresh and frothy and
white. Perhaps the most celebrated
wedding, causing tears and cheers, is the one where, after overcoming great
obstacles, love conquers all and the bride and groom finally make it to the
Some of us cry as
we watch because we realize that life will undoubtedly throw some painful
curveballs at the hopeful, unsuspecting couple.
Maybe we weep because we fear the match is all wrong or for failed loves
of our own. But what if, among the
genuine emotion of many, there are crocodile tears shed by so-called friends
who aren’t really friends at all?
Are you rolling
your eyes at this point? Are you
thinking cynical, jaded thoughts, certain that you are not like the rest of us
who are intrigued by weddings? Perhaps you think that love and marriage are
overrated. Weddings are of no big interest to you, right?
Well, let me ask
you this: When you see a bride on the
steps of a church or spot a bridal party posing for wedding pictures in a park
or field or on the beach, do you pay absolutely no further attention? Do you pass on by without a second glance
because weddings hold no allure or fascination for you?