I’ll start today by saying thanks to Sharlene for sharing the graphic cards she made for the Pink books with me. Now I get to share them with you! I love this one, and the quote comes from Chapter Four, in the unfortunate moment when Miss Gwen and Richard realize that the captain has promised BOTH of them exclusive use of his boat. (If you’d like to see Sharlene’s other work, feel free to visit her site).
I hope you all are enjoying the first chapters of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I had forgotten so many things, particularly how nasty Colin is when we are first introduced to him. I knew he was protective of his family history, but I did NOT remember that he called Eloise’s work a useless waste of taxpayer money. Ouch. I also had somehow created a mental picture of Amy with blonde hair. I got the curly part right, and I remembered that she was short with blue eyes, but Lauren makes it abundantly clear that Amy has dark brown hair. Not sure how I managed to mix that up.
One of the things that several of you have mentioned already about this series is Lauren’s sense of humor. I laugh constantly when I’m reading, and I think it has a lot to do with the way she phrases things. For example, when poor Eloise is losing her balance on the Tube again, she thinks to herself, “To land in someone’s lap once is carelessness; to do so twice might be considered an invitation.” And then Amy, when she finds herself unable to explain to Richard why she’s heading over the Channel to live in France if the French are so terrible, thinks to herself, “Oh, to be a man, to be able to just punch someone when she didn’t know what to say!” Excellent.
I particularly enjoyed what we’ve read so far from Richard’s perspective. His dread of Almack’s assembly rooms (harboring fortune-hunting mamas and necessitating knee-breeches), his exasperation with his mother, and his affection for Miles and Henrietta are all fun to read. It also tugs at my heartstrings to see how much guilt he lives with. He’s doing such important and risky work in France, but he can’t really tell anyone about it or defend himself when people like Amy attack his honor. I felt particularly sorry for him when he slipped into nightmares about what happened to Tommy.
I love all the references to classical mythology. If Amy spent her childhood reading the Illiad and the Odyssey (and Herodotus in the original!), it makes sense that she and Eton-educated Richard would be able to carry on conversations together. It puts them on a more equal footing than they would have been otherwise, and Richard is less likely to mentally refer to Amy as “girl,” “child,” or “chit” when she’s theorizing about whether Greek authors use ancient Egypt for a setting in the same way that Shakespeare used Italy.
Within the first few chapters, Lauren has already mentioned the Alsworthys, Geoff, and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale. You have to wonder if she knew that these people who were just names in the first book would turn out to be important characters later in the series.
Wasn’t it fun to go back and meet Jane and Miss Gwen again for the first time? Did you notice anything in particular this time around?