Customers, employees and community members crowded into the HomeStreet Bank location in Mountlake Terrace to get their signed copy of the limited holiday edition of a poetic memoir by Desiree Hartsock and her fiancé Chris Siegfried, who found each other on “The Bachelorette” reality television show.
Hartsock and Siegfried appeared in the ninth season of the ABC reality dating show that aired over the past summer. The two have been living in Seattle since Siegfried was given the final rose by Hartsock.
The title of the book, “Diamonds + Hearts: A Poetic Memoir,” describes the baseball diamonds Siegfried played on and struggled with during his professional baseball career and the more recent relationship he has with Hartsock. The book is made up of poems Siegfried wrote to cope with the struggles of professional baseball, as well as poems that Siegfried and Hartsock have shared with each other. Each poem is paired with a synopsis of what was happening in their lives to inspire the poem.
The limited holiday edition contains extra poems and photographs of the couple not published in previous editions.
“It’s nice that we both write poetry,” Hartsock said. “We can both bond over that.”
As noted in the book’s synopses, the poems they wrote during the period that the show was airing — when they needed to keep their relationship a secret — are particularly important to the couple. Hartsock was living in California while Siegfried was in Seattle, working as a mortgage broker for HomeStreet Bank.
They have been living together in Seattle since August—and for those who are wondering, Hartsock has since become a Seahawks fan.
When the bank approached him asking if he and his fiancé would do book signing events at various locations, they agreed. The Mountlake Terrace signing on Tuesday was the third such book signing the couple did for the bank.
While signing books, Siegfried explained that he was approached on the streets of Queen Anne to see if he would be interested in applying for the show. Initially, he declined, but his friends and family told him that he would have nothing to lose. He had, after all, just moved to Seattle and had not really met anyone yet, so he changed his mind and applied.
“Good thing, too,” Hartsock said, glancing and smiling at Siegfried.
The couple also took photos with various guests in addition to signing books.
Tuesday’s event also included cookies, drinks and live music performed by the award-winning Mountlake Terrace High School jazz quartet. HomeStreet Bank hired the quartet for the evening, and the money they earned will go to fundraising for the high school jazz band.
Fans of the show were elated at the opportunity to meet the stars.
“They seem nice on TV, but it was great to see that this is actually how they are,” said Bachelorette fan Ashley Lundgren.
Employees of HomeStreet Bank said that they felt proud when they found out that one of the “Bachelorette” contenders worked for their bank during the run of the show.
“They’re so nice and grounded, nicer than I was expecting,” employee Genavee Hayden said. “When you’re watching the show you just don’t know if it’s real and meeting them here, you can see that it’s real and that they love each other.”
Enrique Henao and Diane Wagner de Henao, a husband and wife from Edmonds, regularly watch both “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor” with some family friends. Henao is a concert guitarist by trade and was just as pleased to listen to the jazz quartet as to meet the celebrities.
Mountlake Terrace Chief of Police Greg Wilson is not a fan of most reality television (“’24’ is the best reality TV show,” he said.) but he came to get signed copies of the book for his wife and daughters, who are fans.
Marilla Sargent, manager of the HomeStreet Mountlake Terrace branch, said her goal in hosting the event was to bring both her customers and the larger community together. The event also served as a “soft launch” of the branch’s recent remodel. The bank plans to host a grand opening in February 2014.
— Story and photos by Natalie Covate