Pink 1 Week 4 in Review

Pink Card 1C

Happy Friday, everyone! We can start off today with the last of the beautiful Pink I cards that Sharlene created.  Also, congratulations to Paige, who is the winner of signed copy of Vienna Waltz by Tracy Grant. Paige, if you will email me your address at, we will get your prize in the mail. Thanks again to Tracy for stopping by to chat with us and to all of you who entered. If you didn’t win, never fear – there are more giveaways in our future!

I finished reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation earlier this week. The funny thing is, I planned to pace myself for a month of reading each book in order to really take my time, read slowly, and make sure I gave myself a chance to appreciate all the detail and humor Lauren includes in her writing. Guess what? I read the last quarter of this book in one sitting. So much for pacing myself! But I think I enjoyed it just as much as I would have if I had made myself stretch it out.

Poor Amy. She was so indignant about Richard not trusting her with his secret identity and so furious that he would compare her with Deirdre, and then she cost him his spying career. She spends several miserable hours berating herself for being worse than Deirdre, because at least Deirdre was innocent of intentionally sabotaging anyone. She just said a few careless words to her maid, who happened to be a French agent. But I think that, in Richard’s mind, Amy’s actions can’t compare with Deirdre’s because Deirdre’s conversation with her maid cost Tony his life. Whatever disappointment Richard feels about having to retire as the Purple Gentian because of Amy, it can’t compare to how wretchedly responsible he feels for what happened to Tony.

More things I had forgotten until this reread:

  • Richard and Amy are able to escape from France because Marston “allows” them to use his boat.
  • Stiles turns in an excellent performance as the ship’s captain.
  • Henrietta has to stay behind while her mother and Amy rescue Richard and while her father, Miles, Geoff, Jane and Gwen intercept the Swiss gold. What a disappointment for her!

I’m curious about those of you who came to Pink by starting with a later book in the series. Going back and reading about the creation of the Pink Carnation’s league, was it what you expected?  If this was your first time around, did you suspect that it would be Jane, not Amy, who would be the Pink Carnation?

The exciting news for next week is that Lauren has volunteered to do an “Ask the Author” Q&A for each of the Pink books as we read along. Since we’re starting Pink II next Wednesday, make sure you check back early next week to find out the details of where and when you can find Lauren to ask her your burning questions about Pink I!

Have a great weekend.

14 thoughts on “Pink 1 Week 4 in Review

  1. I found Lauren and the Pinks through Katharine Ashe & the Ballroom Blog.
    I started the books in order but I think I got side tracked after Turnip’s mischief of the Mistletoe.
    Pink I and II are the best. I love how the characters were introduced in both books.

  2. I read this (first time) in 2005, so even though I remembered the basic plot, there were details and impressions that I had completely forgotten until the read-along this month. I loved the book despite the fact I never warmed to Amy Balcourt. I did adore boyish Richard Selwick, but I wanted more Jane, which is my song through out the series. The “Escape” was brilliant and I thought Richard had the patience of a saint dealing with Amy’s insecurities. Everything about the voyage was hilarious. Jane was masterful dealing with Marston…..I can’t remember do we see him again?
    I tried to pace myself too but it was impossible…..the action towards the end just didn’t allow for it! One of the things I love about the series is that I always want more, but I don’t feel manipulated, by cliff-hangers or sequel bait and the like….its all about the writing…..which is just about perfect.

    I’m ready for Pink II….

    • I didn’t really warm to Amy either. I realized this time around that she would probably really annoy me in real life. I think what I enjoyed most about this re read was seeing Colin from the beginning again, and his banter with Eloise.

    • Mel, I know what you mean about wanting more to read even though there was no cliff-hanger. Sometimes, I’m just not ready to let a set of characters I like go!

      I don’t remember seeing Marston again, but I could be wrong.

  3. I started with PInk I but I think Pink IV was the newest book out at the time, so I kinda flew through the first 4 books. I also have to admit, during this re-read I couldn’t pace myself, either. I’ve already gone through I, II and III (mostly because the latter two were some of my favorites).

    The first time through, I don’t think it really registered with me when Eloise says (in the first chapter) how much the PInk Carnation had accomplished. I didn’t think it would be Jane, specfically, but rather a league/group of people to get done all that was claimed. Reading again, with the knowledge of who the Carnation is, it is much easier to see all the hints Lauren drops about her identity.

    This revisiting of the early books has been fascinating, there have been a few folks (more in II and II) that appear or are referenced that play larger roles later and its fun to catch those.

    Looking forward to asking Lauren about long term plotting. Also, does everyone have “A conversation with Lauren Willig” at the end? She closes with a comment about Jane’s book – “Jane does get her romance eventually, and I know exactly who it is – but that’s between me and Jane”. I’m really curious when she wrote that and if things changed along the way.

  4. I also couldn’t pace myself at the end! When the action picked up I couldn’t put the book down even though I knew how it would end up! I enjoyed paying more attention to Jane and Miss Gwen this read through. I had dismissed them as side characters or at most that Jane would be part of the league but not THE Pink Carnation.

  5. Enjoyed rereading Pink 1 so much and can’t wait to get started on the Black Tulip. I picked up so much more this time around and am sure the same will happen with the other books, especially as some of them get very involved in historical events that I have read about since reading these books the first time – especially Geoff’s book in Emerald Ring with the Irish history.

    I particularly enjoyed the fast action at the end – so easy to read through:

    – Loved lady Uppington’s bravado in saving her son – her comments on entering the interrogation room and struggle with ‘slingshot’.
    – I also picked up that it was Jane’s idea to bring the drugged brandy – with her seeming somewhat minor at first, it was easy to see her spy qualities this time around knowing she is the Pink Carnation.
    – The boat crossing at the end was romantic and hilarious at the same time – I can just picture Richard’s frustration – I thought about the novel coming full circle from the ride over to France and now back to England
    – One last terrific quote from Richard, p. 389 when his mother is brandishing the pistol – “As far as Richard knew, his mother had never been near a pistol in her life. But who really knew what women got up to in their spare time? It was a terrifying thought.” So funny, and perhaps indicative of the lack of understanding between the sexes of that era – each was put in their own little ‘box’ of proprieties and expectations.

    What a marvelous book! Can’t wait for the conversation with Lauren. Thanks so much, Ashley for conceiving of and hosting this event!

    • “As far as Richard knew, his mother had never been near a pistol in her life. But who really knew what women got up to in their spare time? It was a terrifying thought.”

      It is a great quote…….

  6. My introduction to this series was with Emerald Ring, so I already knew about Jane by the time I read Pink I. I normally would never start a series with the third book, but I didn’t realize at the time that it was a series, it was audiobook format on a CD and the case wasn’t clear. That’s a major thing I love about Lauren’s writing, the series and characters build with each book, but they can all also be read as stand-alones without missing things. The same with Louise Penny’s Gamache series as well, not to mention they are both hilarious. I have a pretty major suspicion about Jane’s happily but if it is who I suspect major kudos to Lauren as she thought waaaaay ahead. I am hesitant to admit who it is though, just in case I’m wrong. Looking forward to Black Tulip . . . my 3rd favourite of the series . . . I think . . .

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