Alison: How I Found the Pink Carnation

Doesn’t the title of this post sound exactly like the secret manuscript Eloise is searching for in the Pink prologue?

Today, I am hosting a guest blogger: Alison, from Hardcovers and Heroines.  When Alison learned about Pink for All Seasons, she volunteered to write a post for the project about how she became a fan of the series.  Without further ado, I will give you Alison in her own words:

My aunt picked up the first Pink Carnation book based on the cover and the staff recommendation at Barnes and Noble. She quickly was telling everyone how fantastic the book was, and decided to invite Lauren Willig to attend The Annapolis Book Festival (an event that my mother and aunt started when I was in high school). She even invited Lauren to stay at her house. Despite still being in law school and near finals time, Lauren said yes.

I was given the exciting task of picking Lauren up at the airport and showing her around Annapolis with my mother before the festival events began. I had long been interested in writing and spending time with a real, published author felt thrilling. Plus Lauren was just about the nicest and most understanding person ever, asking me about what colleges I was looking at and the kinds of stories I liked to write.

Lauren was so funny and clever in person that I bought the first two books and devoured them. I’d been a long-time fan of romance novels, chick lit, and historical fiction. Both The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Mask of the Black Tulip blended these genres together seamlessly. They also contained just as much intelligence and humor as Lauren displayed in person. Reading a book that contained both Shakespeare allusions and an almost-sex scene on the floor of a dirty boat felt like a revelation. I especially identified with Henrietta and developed one of the biggest literary crushes of my life on Miles. Who doesn’t find knee breeches and ginger biscuits a winsome combination?

I made most of my friends, who were much more into classics and literary fiction, read the books. Somehow I even convinced my librarian to order the books for our small school library. When I went to college, I brought my two signed books with me to put with just a few other favorites on my tiny shelf.

I’ve been a loyal Pink reader (and reader of Lauren’s more recent standalone books) ever since.

Thanks for sharing, Alison!  For all you other Pink Enthusiasts, tell me – how did you find the Pink books?

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29 thoughts on “Alison: How I Found the Pink Carnation

  1. I believe I found it through a friend recommendation. For a while I know one friend of mine and I were sharing the Pink Carnation books — she would buy them, read them, and then ship them across country to me so I could read them (since, while both starving grad-students, she had more scholarship money than I did).

  2. Nice post Alison. I think Lauren Willig’s sense of humor is one of the main ingredients in the success of The Pinks. She is also a terrific storyteller.

    I first saw The Secret History of the Pink Carnation on display at the Santa Monica library. The cover was so beautiful…….I picked it up and the rest is history!

  3. I posted on Sept. 2 how I randomly found the series, so won’t repeat that. There are so many elements of literature and mixed genre included in this series as to attract many different readers. It is interesting to hear what brought each fan to this wonderful and entertaining series. The fun thing is having others to share it with, first my daughter and sister, and now all of the readers online.

    Alison, what a wonderful experience for you to have had that introduction and personal connection to Lauren!

    • Thanks Betty! Lauren was the first published author I met. Now I try to go to as many book readings and author events as possible. I find it really invests my in a book to have seen the author in person.

  4. Ashley my dear, I’m pretty sure you introduced me to the fabulous Pink series. If not…then they’ve been a part of my life so long I don’t remember how they got there!

    • Beth, you are the one who introduced ME to Pink! I have a vivid memory of standing in Lori’s used books and calling you because I couldn’t remember the name of the series you said I needed to try. Lori didn’t have the first book in stock, and I wound up borrowing a large print edition from the library! It was the only one they had 🙂 But you, with your excellent taste, are to be commended for starting me on this series. XOXOXO!

      • That’s right! 🙂 I knew you would set me straight!

        I loved it because at the time, I was a fledgling graduate student too – and I wished I had chosen a research project that included dashing spies and London. Hindsight really is 20/20.

  5. I found the first two books in the clearance section of Borders and randomly decided to buy them. The funny thing is they sat on my shelves for MONTHS before I actually read them. Why I took so long, I have no idea. Once I started Pink Carnation, I was hooked though. Luckily Emerald Ring was coming out a month later, so I put that mother on reserve and never looked back!

  6. What a fantastic post! That’s definitely a unique introduction, picking up the author at the airport! I agree completely with you Alison, it’s such a perfect mix of romance, chick lit, and historical fiction. That’s what attracted me too. Plus I always wanted to see a little of myself in Eloise 🙂

    I can’t remember when I first found Pink Carnation! I think it was in Barnes and Noble or Borders when I was in high school. I do remember finding The Black Tulip on bargain on Amazon a couple years later and that’s what reignited my Pink love!

    • Yes yes and yes to identifying with Eloise. I think having that frame story running through all the books has been vital to keeping me interested. I like reading about the spies, I NEED to know what is happening with Colin and Eloise.

  7. I saw the first book on the shelf at Borders (talk about awhile ago), and loved the idea. It sat for awhile on my own shelf due to college, but once I started I was hooked. Made my mom read the books, and have since passed them on to others (in fact, I lent my copy to a friend for this event!). I love the characters and storytelling!

  8. The summer of 2007! I was working a summer job during high school with a bunch of others from school, including a girl who reads a lot within the same genres as myself. I asked her for some recommendations and she suggested The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. After that day’s shift I went straight to Borders (ugh, I miss that store so much!) and haven’t looked back since 🙂

  9. I spied The Mischief of the Mistletoe on a table as I was headed out of a bookstore. It was not nicely displayed, but my Spidey senses honed in on the cover. I was immediately intrigued after I picked it up and read the jacket. Realizing it was part of a series, I went searching for the “Willig” section and the first book in the series.

    The “Pink” book cover and jacket description really caught my fancy, and finding that shelf of books was like finding a treasure stash. I bought “Pink” home with me, and as much as I knew I would like it, I loved it even more. I tore through the remaining books in the series that had been published up until that time, and have eagerly anticipated each new release since.

    I freely admit that I tend to be influenced by book covers while I am browsing. This was a situation where that worked out most excellently for me! I adore The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, and this book series.

    • The “Pink” book cover and jacket description really caught my fancy, and finding that shelf of books was like finding a treasure stash.

      That’s so true . . . there’s nothing like taking a chance on a book and then totally getting swept up in the series.

  10. Delighted, Ashley, that you are hosting this special project. As a manly reader of the entire Pink Carnation series and secure in my own masculinity, I will not be dissuaded from participating, even though I take a cautionary glance around before sneaking on to the Bubble Bath Reader! My own entrance into Lauren Willig’s wonderful world of English spies, Napoleonic intrigue, and improbable romances began by my stumbling upon The Mischief of the Mistletoe. It has been so long that I cannot even recall how I discovered it but you all know how certain authors just resonate with certain readers. It was that way with my first read and has not abated whatsoever. Who could not love the “then and now” parallel romances of Eloise/Colin and Reginald/Arabella? From there I could not get to Lauren’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation fast enough. And, of course, the rest is history.

  11. I first stumbled upon the Pink Carnation series when I spotted Crimson Rose on the shelves of my favourite bookstore, while browsing the titles. It intrigued me and the cover said “Pride and Prejudice lives on”. At that time, I was pretty much auto-buying any book refering to Jane Austen. So I bought it, only to discover that it was part of a series and that the first installment was…. unavailable!!! So I kept it and waited. And waited. And waited. Until finally, one day, I noticed The Secret History of the Pink Carnation on the shelves. I almost danced in the bookstore!!! I hastily grabbed it, and read it almost right away. Have been buying Lauren’s books that way ever since! 😀

  12. I first discovered Lauren and the Pink series only last year and quite randomly at that. I was searching through My Media Mall looking for a new book to read and The Secret History of the Pink Carnation was a book that kept popping up in my searches. So I thought why not give it a whirl. So Glad I did! Once I was done I quickly gobbled up the rest of the books.

  13. I discovered the Pink series the summer of 2012. I think one of the other Pink books was on one of the New Fiction shelves at my library and I was attracted to the cover. I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, was hooked, and devoured the rest of the series in short order. I love Lauren’s ability to create such interesting characters and am really looking forward to re-reading the books!

  14. Lauren came down to Alabama to speak at a romance event at a local library at the end of July, along with three other romance writers. I read one book by each writer — it was actually The Ashford Affair by Lauren, because it was a standalone and seemed most relevant to my interests, but I LOVED it. It converted me to reading romance, but especially her books. 🙂

  15. I found the Pink series through a Ballroom Blog post from Katharine Ashe. I looked for Lauren in the Ballroom Archives, went to her website and ordered the first three books from the library. I have bought most of the series. My daughter gives me a book at Christmas!
    I love Eloise and Miles and Henrietta….:)

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