In Which I Am Taking a Break

taking a break

First things first: congratulations to Alessandra, who is the winner of our Pink XII themed mug from Ask the Author last week!  Alessandra, if you will email me at, I will get your prize in the mail to you.

Next order of business: I wanted to let you all know that I am taking a little vacation from blogging.  I wish you happy reading and a fantastic fall! Take care of yourselves.

Ask the Author XII

Good morning!  It’s finally that time – time for our very last “Ask the Author” Q&A with Lauren and wrapping up our year of reading the Pink series.

What are your questions about Jane and Jack, Colin and Eloise, Aunt Arabella, or anyone else from the Pink books?  Is there something you have always wanted to know about Parsnip Fitzhugh, or are you dying to ask about the big revelation regarding Nicolas in the Reader’s Guide?

Leave your questions in the Comments section below, and Lauren will pop by throughout the day to answer them.

Once again, our benevolent Pink Fairy has agreed to gift a Pink XII mug to a lucky comment-writer today (the mug designed, as ever, by Miss Eliza – go check out Zazzle to see the full garden of mugs she created for Pink for All Seasons!).

pink xiiSo for one last time, thanks again to Lauren for agreeing to hang out with us today!  I can’t wait to hear your questions – they are probably very similar to my own.

Final Ask the Author: TOMORROW!

Hi friends!  Lauren will be back tomorrow, Wednesday September 23, for a final round of Ask the Author as we say goodbye to the Pink series.  If you have questions about Jane and Jack or ANY of the Pink crew, stop by tomorrow and post them in the Comments section for Lauren to answer periodically throughout the day.

UK Pink

As an added bonus, Lauren is giving away two SETS of the Pink books (1-6) in their UK editions.  These books are BEAUTIFUL.  Hurry over to her site and comment on the giveaway post to enter – she’ll pick a winner on Thursday.

See you tomorrow!

Pinkly Ever After

HEAI read a book in college for my senior seminar called Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece. The book has an introduction by Jennifer Crusie, and I felt like Crusie really hit on the reason why Pride and Prejudice has spawned such a massive number of sequels and modernizations. We care about the characters after the book is finished. It’s not just that we want to read the book over and over – we want to visualize what happened next. Crusie says, “[W]e close the book knowing that they’re still milling about in there, Wickham putting up with Lydia as his punishment for being a rat, Jane and Bingley in clueless contentment and Elizabeth teaching Darcy how to laugh while not inviting Lady Catherine to dinner.”

The books I love best, the ones that stay with me long after I’ve closed the cover, are the ones whose characters feel like people I know. They are the books I’ve read so often that I feel like I could have imaginary conversations with the main characters, or maybe invite them over for dinner. I love to think about what happened next for these people who feel as familiar as friends, and I know I’m not alone here.

In the Readers Guide at the end of The Lure of the Moonflower, Lauren gives us a lovely sense of closure by filling us in on what some of our favorite characters get up to after the series is over.

In some of the books, like The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Lauren actually has Eloise discover what happened to the main characters by reading an inscription below a painting or finding a reference in a document to their future years. Some characters, like Richard and Miles and Henrietta, were almost like audience-favorite guest stars on a TV series – they popped up fairly regularly in the following books. But it was wonderful to hear a bit more about Penelope and Alex, or Geoff and Letty.

I love that Alex and Penelope adopted a whole crew of children from a neighboring village in India. Can’t you just see Penelope turning into a dragon-mother when some stuffy British woman tries to comment on her choice of family? I can also perfectly visualize the look on Mary’s face when she finds out that Letty has written a book on housekeeping techniques. I also love that Agnes turns out to be a formidable feminist. Take THAT, Mr. and Mrs. Wooliston.

I know that, even with the gift of these little glimpses into the future, we still feel like we want to know more. But I think one of the best things Lauren has done for us over the course of the series is helped us get to know these characters so well that maybe we don’t need to have their whole lives spelled out for us in additional books. I’m not saying I wouldn’t snap up another Pink book in a heartbeat, but I’m not sure I need one to envision the later years for the Pink crew. I imagine that Henrietta tries to make Miles ginger biscuits herself when Cook comes down with a cold, and she smells like burnt sugar for weeks afterward. I think Turnip tries his hand at coloring his own linen, with mixed results, and Arabella winds up with pink hair for a few months in consequence. I can see Laura tearing up the first time Gabrielle calls her “Maman.” (I also see this happening when Gabrielle is in her thirties – she is hard-headed.)

What about you? What do you see in the future for your favorite Pink characters?

In Which I Am Grateful

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

And just like that, the month of August is over. I know it has been our Pink for All Seasons tradition to have Ask the Author at the end of the month – I am still planning to have one last Q&A with Lauren. If you follow her site, you probably have seen that she is in the midst of a move. We will get around to Ask the Author when she has time to breathe.

We will also talk soon about all those juicy tidbits from the back of The Lure of the Moonflower where Lauren gives us a brief look at what our favorite characters get up to after the series has ended.

But today, I wanted to take a moment to say some thank-yous. My debts are heavy and numerous. Pink for All Seasons started as a fun way for me to re-read my favorite series before the last book was published. I decided to grow it and put it on the blog, and I just had no idea what it would turn into. Thank you, THANK YOU all for being here and for reading and chatting with me for the past year.

Firstly, thanks to Miss Eliza, who has been an excellent cohost – designing logos and mugs, brainstorming with me, moderating and comoderating, dream casting each of our books, and actually (truth be told) inspiring me to start blogging in the first place. Miss Eliza, you are like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel – beautiful and terrifying in your enthusiasm and efficiency. I hope you will interpret that as the compliment that it is, and not think I am calling you scary. You know you are awesome.

Secondly, many thanks to all the fantastic moderators who have stepped up to lead entire months of discussion: Erin, Beth, Sarah, Anne, Betty, Abby, Amanda & Holly, Paige and Dara. I was so touched by your willingness to give a month of your time to this project, and you all brought your own creativity and flair to your posts. Thank you for keeping the discussion going and keeping me on my toes. Thanks also to Chanpreet, Alison, and Sarah, who wrote guest posts for the blog.

Thank you to the Pink Fairy who, although she chooses to remain anonymous, donated the monthly mugs as prizes for the Ask the Author posts. She also donated the mugs that arrived to each of the moderators once their month was completed – you thought it was me, but no! Pink Fairy, your gifts were and are appreciated.

Thanks to Beth, who put a copy of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation in my hands nine years ago, and whose cheerful enthusiasm for this and all my other crazy ideas is such a comfort.

Thanks to ALL of you. No, really – every last one of you reading this post. Whether you were a regular commenter or a quiet observer, this project would not have been the same without you. I have been absolutely amazed by the number of you that have participated in one way or another, whether it was by offering up a casting suggestion, entering a giveaway, or just popping by once a week to read what we’ve been up to.

And I have saved the most obvious for last: thanks, as always, to Lauren for the following:

  1. Donating signed books for each month.
  2. Posting about Pink for All Seasons on her site and generally encouraging readers to come here and hang out.
  3. Volunteering to participate in monthly Ask the Author posts.
  4. Writing such awesome books that have inspired a group of 150 people (yes, there really are that many of you) to hang out for a YEAR discussing books together.

I won’t put a “The End” stamp on this post, because we’ve got a bit more Pink to go. I just wanted to make sure I had a chance to tell you all how awesome you are and how much fun you have made this last year. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Pink XII Week 4 in Review

Somehow, incredibly, we have reached out last recap post for The Lure of the Moonflower.  Buckle up, y’all.  Miss Eliza has a lot of ground to cover.

Lure week 4

The Bien-Aimée, Fort of Peniche, and Berlengas São João Batista Fort, 1807: Jack arrives at the Bien-Aimée, which is a bit of a surprise. It’s appears to be a rich man’s pleasure yacht peopled by aristocratic lunatics. He has a bad feeling about this. If this is Jane’s rescue party he would have been better off storming the fortress with the damn donkey. Besides the indignant brunette and the ginger giant, he finally meets whom Jane sent him to, Lord Richard Selwick, who doesn’t seem to be in charge. The one in charge is Miss Gwen, who has so much purple on it is like being assaulted by an aubergine, and she takes control of the situation. Jack is shocked to learn that his “retrieval” was apparently part of Jane’s mission. He can mull that over later, firstly Jane is in danger from the Gardener. At least at the mention of that deadly spy he has their attention. Jane has until sundown to bring the Queen to the São João Batista Fort, but after that it’s up to them if she misses the rendezvous. But at that moment he is ambushed by kith and kin, and the way his father is looking at the lady in purple doesn’t bode well for Jack. Could that woman be his father’s new wife? But his father seems settled, happy. The restlessness is gone. When Lizzy rockets out of the hold with a crossbow Jack is convinced that this has to be some elaborate and fantastical dream, now where are the dancing aardvarks? Jane couldn’t have held this big a secret from him, could she? Luckily it turns out she was as ignorant as he of the welcoming party, at least according to his father. Jack wasn’t prepared for any of this. He starts to question everything Jane has told him. Is the Queen really at large or was that just a ruse and she was just to retrieve him like luggage? As for their part of the rescue plan, everyone seems to take it on faith that Jane will succeed and they won’t be needed. Even if she deceived Jack she’s still human and she is not invincible despite what everyone else might think. If her plan fails Jack and Lord Richard are to go in and rescue her. Miss Gwen obviously replaces Lord Richard with herself and considers it a fine plan, if they could add some repelling.

Jane has “prepared” herself for her meeting with Nicolas. She is now bathed, perfumed, and beribboned like a china doll. She tries to stay in the moment, but is fervently hoping that Jack is boarding the Bien-Aimée as she awaits Nicolas. Given Nicolas’s slow seductions, she’s calculated that she has about two hours to incapacitate Nicolas, forge the orders, and see the Queen to the boat. Nicolas is his usual charming self but she can tell that he is hurt by her recent actions. It might be easy to despise him in absentia, but it is hard, in person, not to feel a little fond of Nicolas. While she is plotting on how to get Nicolas to ingest the sleep draft she realizes that things have changed between them. It’s not that she loves Jack, it’s that Nicolas isn’t abiding by their agreement. He views Portugal no longer as neutral territory and therefore all bets are off. Yes, Jane wants the Queen. But perhaps the reason he has the Queen isn’t to help Bonaparte but to help himself. He may have gotten his title back, but what about the land, the house, the works of art? And what about Jane. He wants Jane. But she doesn’t want to be tethered, and a golden chain is still a chain. Nicolas is switching allegiances again, back to Louis XVIII. As she looks at Nicolas, Jane realizes that it’s him, not Jack, who is the real opportunist, for sale to the highest bidder. But perhaps this time it means that they have the same goal? She goes all in and tells Nicolas of her plans and the Bien-Aimée and her reinforcements on Berlengas. But Nicolas is well informed. The Bien-Aimée is Lord Richard’s ship, and she wasn’t with him at the abbey, so who was? So Mr. Samson it is. He was the spy all along. Though he is really Rene Desgoules and he isn’t Nicolas’s man. At that moment Mr. Samson appears in a miasma of rage, he is Fouché’s man and demands Jane be placed in chains, and definitely not golden ones. Desgoules threatens Jane but she quickly has Nicolas’s sword-cane at his throat. But Nicolas has a gun aimed at the pair. Who will he shoot? It would clearly define his intentions. Or at least his intentions of the moment. He pulls the trigger.

Nicolas has killed Desgoules, after all, he wasn’t his man, not that that would stop him. Jane realizes it was also a test. He hoped her to kill Desgoules as a way to finalize their courtship, making her just a little less virtuous. How had she ever fancied herself in love with him? He uses the incident to their advantage, saying that Desgoules was a spy in their midst trying to kill his fiancée, to precipitate his and Jane’s departure with the Queen to Berlengas. But are Nicolas’s motives for her or just for what he views as rightfully his? Why should she trust him? It wasn’t his heart at her feet but a murdered operative. For now that would have to do. On the island Jack and Gwen wait. They form a tentative bond over their love for Jane, Gwen has always cared for this maddeningly omniscient girl. When the boat finally arrives there is something wrong. They are unnerved, to say the least, when she arrives on the arm of the Gardener. The Jane that arrives and has changed the plans, yet again, seems more Nicolas’s creature than ever, with the French perfume wafting on the breeze. At least Jack can shake up the Gardener in return, announcing himself as the Moonflower, Nicolas’s agent who was supposed to be dead back in India, not alive and standing in front of him. But Nicolas has brought the Queen, so there has to be a trick. Reinforcements, something. Nicolas jokes that Jack could shoot him before that happens, the first idea of Nicholas’s that Jack likes, as he cocks his pistol.

And Jane won’t let him kill Nicolas, which puts out Miss Gwen most of all, it was just starting to get interesting! Jane worries that it’s not just Nicolas angering Jack but the fact that she changed the plans again; and that she looks and smells like a French brothel. At least Jack isn’t the only one whose hackles are raised by Nicolas’s arrival. In fact, the rest of the group, minus Jane, would be happy to see a bullet in him. Lizzy would opt for a crossbow bolt, but Nicolas did rather like her outré ensemble. Yet he did bring them the Queen as the first token of his good intentions; that must stand for something. Then why does Jane feel bewildered and hurt. Nicolas isn’t going to make this any easier as the situation descends into French farce. Nicolas believes that completing this quest, no matter how ignoble, is worthy of the hand of fair maiden, to seal their alliance. He makes quite a display of proposing to Jane, yet again. Did he really think that making a public spectacle would change her answer? It is still a no, not a “perhaps later.” Before she can reject him for approximately the 38th time Jack storms off. Jane finds him sulking and tries to get it through Jack’s thick skull that she does not want what Nicolas has to offer. She is not a prize to be won or a parcel to be handed back and forth, they both have pasts and Nicolas is her past, not her future, there needs to be no duel. Everything that was clear is murky. She doesn’t want a pedestal or to be an ornament. And once again, no duels! Jack isn’t being noble, he’s wrong. It’s Jane’s turn to storm off and Jack gets some advice on woman from the last place he expected, his father. Happiness isn’t a gift, it’s a task that you work on, together. Perhaps the easiest answer is to just tell Jane the truth. That he loves her. Damn, when did his father get insightful?

Jane didn’t realize how uncomfortable sitting on a cannon was. It’s even more uncomfortable contemplating her murky future. Tomorrow the sun would rise, she would return to England, and embark on a new mission. She thought she knew all there was to know about Jack before she met him, but she didn’t know anything; the kindness, the fundamental decency, everything good about him. When she was with him she didn’t feel the weight of being the Pink Carnation. But she was the Pink Carnation, she should go and make sure everything was seen too and that Henrietta hadn’t killed Nicolas. But then Jack joined her. His opening gambit made time tilt backward: “I hear that the eagle nests only once.” Jack asks Jane what her next move is, she says perhaps Russia. Jack says that sounds lonely and had she ever thought of taking a husband along? The suggestion hurts too much, if he isn’t volunteering for the position she can’t bear to hear it. But he wants to go where she is. To work together. No ornamentation, no pedestal, no lutes. He’s found his nest. The proposal has a full audience, but that seems to be the case with family. What matters is that they love each other, the messy, muddy, totality of it. The eagle had found its nest.

Constantinople, 1808: Jack and Jane are now married and they have infiltrated the Ottoman Court so that a new sultan who is not beholden to Napoleon could be crowned. Napoleon has always dreamed of an alliance with the Ottoman Empire, but the new ruler is beholden to the Pink Carnation, so that put paid to Napoleon’s ambitions. Mahmud II, the new ruler, has been secreted away by his mother, Naksidil Sultan. Jane delayed the assassins sent by Mahmud’s half-brother and predecessor Mustafa IV by throwing ashes in their face. She has been posing as a slave girl while Jack was a Janissary. That Janissary now has that slave girl thrown over his shoulder. They are finally leaving after completing a mission weeks in the making. They also herded the leader of the rebel forces, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha, who as they escape is proclaimed Mahmud II the new sultan. Mustafa IV didn’t count on Mahmud’s secret allies, who are sailing off into the sunset.

Sussex, Selwick Hall, 2005: Aunt Arabella is looking none the worse for wear after their late night escapades and waiting for her “contact” to come and deal with Nigel Dempster, while Eloise is obviously sleep deprived. Eloise is grateful to the magic of make-up, seeing as she didn’t see her bed till 4 AM. But it’s her wedding day and the sun is shining, something that isn’t to be taken for granted in England in the summer. As Aunt Arabella helps Eloise with the finishing touches of her ensemble, including a modern and not Regency inspired Vera Wang wedding gown, she fills in the details of Jane and Jake’s married life together, they were also married from Selwick Hall. They also happened to receive a very hefty tea service for their wedding, one that might have been re-gifted to Colin and Eloise. Aunt Arabella always suspected that they were involved in putting Mahmud the Second on the throne of the Ottoman Empire in 1808, but there was no way to prove it. From there they went to Russia, and that didn’t help Napoleon one little bit. They settled in Brazil, as the Portuguese owed them a debt, but it didn’t go the way the Portuguese hoped, Jack and Jane were instrumental in Brazil’s War of Independence. Jane did eventually learn Portuguese. As Eloise says, there’s a book there, Aunt Arabella counters that there is more than one. But the Pink Carnation’s love story would have to wait; it was time for Eloise to get her happily ever after. There were no doubts about Colin; he was her focus in a room full of happy and blurred faces. That is until Pammy’s phone went off. At least the call was about Eloise’s book deal, so kind of about the bride. Once they wrested that phone from Pammy it was only a matter of time till one of her backup phones went off so while the ceremony might have been a farce on the scale of The Princess Bride, the future was so bright they’d have to wear shades, the Vicar for an entirely other reason. Eloise’s life had been coffee soaked, rain-grey, and with Colin the future lay ahead, uncharted and full of possibilities. As for the book, Colin wonders if perhaps The Secret History of the Pink Carnation isn’t just the perfect title. Eloise thinks he has something there, besides her that is. They were brought together by the Pink Carnation and now telling her story is their future.

Pink XII: Dream Casting

This post was written by Miss Eliza.


I seem to start every dream casting post with stating that whatever character I’m currently casting is the hardest. While obviously they couldn’t all be the hardest, that would be impossible, some are trickier than others. There is that rare synchronicity that makes the planets align perfectly, but the truth is each character has proved difficult in their own special way. Eloise is hard in that she is the reader’s conduit into the book. She is basically us, to some extent. But she is also very much Lauren. So my problem is who should play her if I basically see her as Lauren? Maybe we should be asking Lauren who she would choose to play her in her life story? Because that’s basically what casting Eloise is, casting the fictional Lauren. Before I started seeing Eloise so much as Lauren I was trying out any red-headed actress I could think of, even those that could convincingly be red-heads. There was Alexis Bledel (did I mention I was going through a Gilmore Girls phase when I started these books?) Then there was Laura Prepon followed by Lauren Ambrose, Amy Adams followed by Isla Fisher. The complete Titian haired line-up was presented to me and all found to be lacking. Until now! Re-reading the books I was struck by Eloise’s sense of humor and her clumsiness. Of course said clumsiness could be written off because of inappropriate footwear, but the fact still remains that she’s quite likely to fall into Colin’s arms, literally, not that that’s a bad place to be. And that’s when I thought, wait a minute, what about Ellie Kemper? Most of you probably know her from Bridesmaids, as the unhappily married mouse in the wedding party, but I know her as the unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. For some reason, she’s it. She’s Eloise. And I totally think she’s game to wear a Regency dress to a Halloween party and take on spies, modern of historical, with the best of them.


As for her better half? They are after all soon to be man and wife! Sqwee! Well, for the longest time I had pictured Colin Selwick as Raymond Coulthard, the actor who played Frank Churchill in the Kate Beckinsale adaptation of Emma. But given the fact that he is now in his late forties I thought it might be time to recast… But more than age, because as you will see later age doesn’t always enter into it, it’s his recent roles on shows like Mr. Selfridge that made me realize he wasn’t the one. So who was THE ONE? Well, oddly enough it related to the casting of Richard Selwick. While re-reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation I was thinking that Richard could also easily be played by that most wondrous of actors, JJ Feild, he does look so fetching in Regency garb, watch Austenland and Northanger Abbey for obvious proof. But because I had so clear a vision of his Northanger Abbey co-star Felicity Jones as Amy, well, I couldn’t quite repeat this casting and maintain my cred as a good dream casting agent now could I? So I ignored my desire to cast him as Richard and while re-reading the books for Pink for All Seasons I realized that he had become Colin. He was tromping round the Selwick Hall property with a nice green quilted jacket on and a jaunty hat; for some reason that jaunty flat cap, the kind that snaps in the front, was key to my image of JJ as Colin. The sweaters Eloise could bury her face in cloaked his body. JJ is Colin. Also, I will admit that maybe while watching Outlander and how they decided to have Tobias Menzies play both Jack and Frank Randall, that the idea to have my “Richard Casting” move to the present might have been sparked. We could also have JJ play both Selwicks… Double the JJ double the fun?


And seeing as this is a super-sized dream casting session, let’s get to that other “historical” couple, one of whom has been waiting a damn long time to be cast, and no, I’m not talking about you Jack, sheesh. Jane Wooliston. The Pink Carnation herself! The problem with trying to cast Jane prior to reading The Lure of the Moonflower was that I had no insight into her. She, like her nom du guerre, was thwarting me as much as she was the French. I only had her appearance to go on really, which just had to be the societal standard of beauty really. Oh, and her deeds thwarting the French. As a placeholder I had the actress Paloma Baeza who was demure and beautiful in The Way We Live Now and a rebellious in the 1998 adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. She was generic enough that she could be Jane till I learned more about her character. Reading Jane’s story I realized the role needed to be played by an actress with depth. Someone who could be hurt but also cover up that hurt; a woman capable of great feats in the face of insurmountable odds. That is when I thought of Hayley Atwell and Agent Carter. Yes, it might seem odd to think of a more modern special agent, but look how Agent Carter and the Pink Carnation are similar! They are both women kicking ass and taking names in a male dominated field. Plus, let us not forget that Hayley Atwell did not start out as Agent Carter, oh no, she had years and years in period dramas to give her the cred I require of all my casting choices. Plus, as Mary Crawford in the 2007 adaptation of Mansfield Park, aka the only recent one I will acknowledge, she showed that she can totally pull off the look, if not the manners, of a Regency lady of fashion. I give you Hayley Atwell, the Pink Carnation


And now for the Moonflower, see Jack, you only had to wait a paragraph! The thing with Jack is we all know he’s based on Harrison Ford. So I needed to find the British equivalent of Han Solo, and sadly the casting has yet to be completed on that young Han Solo spin-off film. Though I’m guessing even if it was I would strongly disagree. Because that, that is how I role. Plus who could actually play a young Harrison Ford convincingly? I don’t think it’s possible. Back to finding my British Han… so there’s many actors who I have come up with their equivalent across the water. Seth Green has Tom Hollander, John Cusack has Matthew Macfadyen, and to my mind, Harrison Ford has Toby Stephens. Yes, I put forth Toby Stephens as my casting for Jack Reid, mainly because he can call me “Princess” any day. Yes, I know he might be on the older side, but the fact of the matter is I’ve always viewed him as a Reid. He has the red hair, the roguish grin, how could he not be a Reid? Knowing, as I did when re-reading The Passion of the Purple Plumeria that Toby Stephens was going to be my Jack, I toyed with the idea of instead casting him as Reid the elder, aka Jack’s father William. I knew he was too old for Jack, but he’s too young for William, and I wanted to appease my audience. In the end I just accepted that perhaps I will find a time machine and thus get Toby to the correct age, but seriously, watch him in action on Black Sails and it’s THAT Toby, the Toby of now, that is Jack. So perhaps Lauren will have to write another adventure for when Jack and Jane are older for my casting to work. I’m totally ok with getting another book, aren’t you?

Eloise Kelly played by Ellie Kemper
Colin Selwick played by JJ Feild

Jane Wooliston played by Hayley Atwell
Jack Reid played by Toby Stephens