Trey led Kaylee, blindfold over her eyes, to a spot next to two dozen red roses along the boardwalk in Wilmington, North Carolina. An easel was strategically placed between the two bouquets of flowers holding a small chalkboard. A message handwritten in chalk read, “This will be the view ... each brand-new day with you.”
Trey took off her blindfold and began to kneel.
It was like something out of a novel.
To Kaylee’s surprise, that’s exactly what it was.
▪ ▪ ▪
From the day she first picked up a Karen Kingsbury novel in middle school, Kaylee Christian was hooked. She loved the stories and the characters the Christian fiction author created. Kingsbury quickly became her favorite author. Not only has Christian, who is from Griffithsville, read each of Kingsbury’s books, but she belongs to an online community of other dedicated fans of the author’s work.
As much of a fan as she is, getting engaged in a scenario crafted by the famous author was something Christian had never imagined.
Trey Faber, who is from Charleston, had been dating Christian about two months when he sent an email to Kingsbury with an idea in April 2016. Both are 20 and currently undergraduate students at the University of Charleston.
“Dear Mrs. Kingsbury,” he wrote, “You are my girlfriend’s favorite author. I love her very much and I’m going to ask her to marry me at sunset on Sunday, May 21, 2017. I thought maybe you could help.”
His hope was for Kingsbury to write her next book about Christian. Kingsbury was already in the middle of completing her newest book, “Love Story,” so she couldn’t craft an entire novel about her fan.
She did, however, write their engagement into “Love Story,” working with Faber to create an engagement scene that she inserted into the book.
The scene came to life on May 21 in Wilmington.
Kingsbury and her marketing team worked with Faber to pull the engagement off. Faber’s only request was to have red roses, which was already written in the book.
They set up the scene along the boardwalk where the couple would have dinner nearby and go for a walk afterward.
The scene was almost identical to what was described in the book. Kingsbury hid herself from the couple and had a camera strategically placed as though an interview was happening on the boardwalk. Instead, it was filming the couple’s engagement. Faber hid a microphone in his shirt to pick up audio for the camera.
“I thought if I could write his real-life engagement into the book as a scene ... and if I could get this romantic young man an early copy of the book, he could use ‘Love Story’ to actually propose to her,” Kingsbury said.
And so she did.
“There had to be a dozen bouquets of red roses sitting along the short block wall that separated the parking lot from the sandy beach,” the book reads on pages 177 and 178. “And one more message on an easel set up between the block wall and the lifeguard station. The sign read: This will be the view ... each brand-new day with you.”
“Love Story” was released publicly on June 6. By May 21, an advanced copy had been printed and was ready to be the prop for the real-life proposal.
“He took me to dinner and we went to the riverfront in Wilmington and he had me pose for some pictures to stall me,” Christian said. “At 7:30, he said, ‘I have to blindfold you. I have a surprise.’”
Faber had her stand in front of the roses and easel and read from the two pages of the book.
“Kaylee, will you marry me? Love, Trey,” was the first line Christian read.
The book tells the past love story between the characters John and Elizabeth as John shares it with his grandson, Cole. The book also includes the story of a family friend, Cody, who is going through his own heartbreak when he walks by and witnesses the engagement scene.
After Christian finished reading the passage, Trey went off script from the book, declaring his love and asking for her hand in marriage.
Kingsbury’s team uploaded the video to YouTube and shared it on social media. As of Tuesday, the video had been viewed more than 11,640 times.
The crew approached Christian after she said “yes.”
“I’m still just amazed,” she said. “I’m in a book. I’m still in shock. It was the best proposal ever. If I didn’t know he loved me before, there’s no doubt now.”
The couple had about 30 minutes after the proposal to chat with Kingsbury about life and marriage.
“She bought us a Bible and presented it to us and prayed with us,” Christian said.
She and Faber met through a mutual friend in February 2016. They began dating shortly after.
“We just hit it off and we pretty much knew,” said the bride-to-be.
They plan to get married after they both finish pharmacy school at the University of Charleston. They will graduate in May 2022. Christian said they hope to get married in Wilmington. Christian said she loves the Wilmington area, especially for its fame as a filming location for The CW’s past hit drama “One Tree Hill,” and the film “A Walk to Remember,” among other films and television series.