Pink II: Ask the Author

Black Tulip

Happy Halloween to all!  To wrap up our lovely month of reading The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig has agreed to return for Ask the Author!  What questions do you have about Miles and Henrietta?  Is there something you’ve always wondered about Lord Vaughn or the Marquise de Montval?  Now is your chance to ask!

Leave your questions below in the comments section.  Lauren will be stopping by periodically throughout the day to answer.  As an added incentive, I have some Pink Swag to give away to two of today’s commenters.  Are you intrigued?  Consider it your Halloween treat.

Thanks for agreeing to hang out with us today, Lauren!  I’ll get the ball rolling – did you have any particular inspiration for Lord Vaughn?

Pink II Week 4 in Review

BT postcard

Today’s post was written by Erin, and the graphic was created by Sharlene.

Well Pink Fans, this is the last recap for The Masque of the Black Tulip, and we had quite a bit happen in the last 8 chapters. When we left Hen and Miles, he was just about to carry his bride over the threshold. Well suffice it to say that they get let in the house and Miles goes directly upstairs to find a bedroom and commence the wedding night. So the next morning Miles goes to the war office and finds out Henrietta is in grave danger because her contact at the ribbon shop has turned up in the Thames, and that is never a good thing. In the meantime, Henrietta is putting together some random thoughts and figures out who the Black Tulip really is. Of course she decides to investigate without letting Miles know where she is going, but he gets there eventually.

So we find out that the Black Tulip is really Theresa Ballinger, The Marquise de Montval, who in turn thinks that The Pink Carnation is Turnip Fitzhugh. Poor Reggie –must have been all those waistcoats. So an epic fight commences and Miles shows up after stopping by Vaughn’s to accuse him of taking Hen and takes on four guys at once (not bad!). Henrietta takes out the Black Tulip with her bucket of ashes, and Theresa is captured. Enter Lord Vaughn to save the day, or not. Turns out his suspicious behavior is actually caused by the fact that his wife is still alive, and he was attempting to court Henrietta. Miles ends up telling Hen he loves her in a roundabout way and she tells him that she loves him. Best place for declarations of love: the parlor of a French Spy where there has just been a beat down. It fits for them though. Lord Vaughn offers to take the Black Tulip to the war office so the “Lovebirds” can get home. Miles and Hen arrive at Loring House to see that Hen’s parents have arrived and are not happy about the circumstances of their marriage – not the marriage itself, as they are thrilled to have Miles officially in the family. Everything is worked out, of course, and just when the two believe they are alone, Geoff arrives just in time to interrupt. We learn that he has a special mission ahead and there is the next book.   Geoff leaves and downstairs, in the servants’ hall, the word passed around that the master had been seen carrying his wife up the stairs… again.

The book ends as it began with Eloise. She is in Colin’s Library at Selwick Hall and has just discovered that the Black Tulip escaped and was last seen heading to Ireland. Unfortunately, Colin has some sort of emergency and Eloise has to depart in 15 minutes. Colin drives her to the train and offers to pay her fare, which she does not appreciate and there is no mention of the almost-kiss from him. He does offer to call her and go for drinks when he arrives back in London and Eloise is immediately dreaming of romantic dinners for two when she realizes that she neither gave nor received any number or email address. He could track her down via his aunt or Selena via Pammy, but we shall see. “Leaning one cheek against the windowpane, I wondered who would resurface first. Colin? Or the Black Tulip?”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is The End. I just wanted to say thank you for reading along with me this month. It has been a pleasure to guest blog The Masque of the Black Tulip.

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to Erin for being the moderator for the month of October.  Remember, Lauren Willig will be stopping by tomorrow for Ask the Author II.  If you have questions about Pink II, she’ll be happy to answer them.  See you tomorrow!

Ginger Biscuits

Today’s post is written by Erin and pays tribute to Miles Dorrington’s legendary affection for Cook’s ginger biscuits!

So I am not a huge baking person, and when I make cookies they are usually out of a pre-made mix, but I thought I would take a crack at the recipe on Lauren’s site for the ginger biscuits.

1. 4 tablespoons of butter
2. 1 egg
3. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4. 1 cup sugar
5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
6. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
7. Optional for topping: 3/4 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt the butter.
3. Add in the 1 cup of sugar then allow the mixture to cool.
4. Mix together the flour, baking powder and ground ginger.
5. Add in the butter/sugar mixture.
6. Add the egg.
7. Form into balls and line on baking tray.
8. Optional topping: mix 3/4 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp ground ginger and sprinkle on top.
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

I couldn’t find the golden syrup, but I googled substitutes and used 2 parts corn syrup and 1 part molasses.

ginger 1

I followed the instructions and added the golden syrup substitute when I added the egg and then beat it all together. It looked really crumbly, like it wouldn’t hold together, but the dough is pretty sticky and was easily rolled into balls.

ginger 2

I sprinkled the tops with the ginger/sugar mixture and then popped them into the oven. It took a little bit longer in my oven, more like 20 minutes, but I think I made the balls too big (ha, ha). Once they came out they were really, really good. Even my husband liked them and he is not a cookie or anything sweet fan. I can see why Miles loves them so much. I have already had 3 of them and had to put them away before I continued eating them. Here is the link to the rest of the recipe on Lauren’s site. I hope you all will try the recipe as well so you too can enjoy the ginger biscuits!

ginger 3


Giveaways Galore

Hi everyone – I’m just popping in quickly to say that you should check out Lauren’s website today to see her latest announcements. She’s currently running two giveaways – one for a copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla and one for a Pink Carnation mug. Both contests have different rules and closing dates, so head over there and get the details.

Erin will be back tomorrow to discuss Pink II. I won’t say too much, but there will be cookies involved. On Thursday, we’ll have our last Pink II recap, and then Lauren has graciously agreed to return on Friday for Ask the Author Part II! Start thinking about any questions you may have for Lauren about Hen, Miles, and all things Masque of the Black Tulip.

Have a wonderful day!

Dream Casting: The Masque of the Black Tulip

Today’s post is contributed by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.


The Masque of the Black Tulip is truly when “The Pink Carnation Series” becomes a series. So while the background and supporting characters of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation were important, this is where they start to get more precedence. Any person in the background might end up the star of a future book, like that unassuming Miss Grey requesting tea and accompanying Henrietta’s singing… could that be a future heroine in say six books? The Masque of the Black Tulip sees the expansion of Lauren’s universe to include Ponsonbys and Turnips and a full ton. Therefore this becomes the time when the casting gets even more in depth. Though this is also the time when errors can occur, the wrong actor can lodge in your brain and that’s that. And yes, this has happened to me many a time.


Re-reading the second book I was struck by how humorous Henrietta is. I have always really liked her, but she has a biting sense of humor that I’m not quite sure my original casting can capture.  I originally instantly saw Henrietta as being played by Perdita Weeks, younger sister to Honeysuckle, who any Anglophile would recognize as Sam from Foyle’s War. While Perdita has been in the spotlight less, she has the right je ne sais quoi that Henrietta has. The animated facial expressions that I think are necessary. But there’s someone else I could see as Hen, and that’s the 11th Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan. If we could get her to temporarily eschew her red locks and her Scottish brogue, I think she has the comedic timing that is right on.


Ah Miles. Or as I might say, Miles, oh darn it Miles. I have for years been in love with the work of the comedic character actor Richard Cant. And for some reason while reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation there he was, forever in my brain as Miles. I know he doesn’t work. He’s a fop; he’s just not THE thing. So I have reluctantly decided to recast him. For a long time now I have had inner debates with myself as to who would work. Perhaps Tom Hopper from Merlin and Black Sails… he’s worked with my casting for Richard, so why not… but then I found James Norton. And well… look at that lock of hair! It’s so floppy. He IS Miles.


As for the supporting characters… so many end up as stars of their own books it feels silly to talk about casting them at this stage with another ten months to go! But there is someone I think should be mentioned, and that’s a certain Tulip, the Marquise de Montval, “little Theresa Ballinger.”  Originally she was Frances Barber in my mind, but as time has gone on, well, Frances Barber has gotten older, so while she was the femme fatale in everything from Manchild to The IT Crowd, her role has been taken over by a certain “woman” Lara Pulver, just watch season two of Sherlock and tell me she isn’t perfect. Though I also think Maimie McCoy, who recently played Milady on The Musketeers reboot would be a stellar choice as well.  As we ready ourselves to plunge into the third installment, who would be in your dream cast?

Henrietta Selwick played by Perdita Weeks
Miles Dorrington played by Richard Cant
Miles Dorrington played by James Norton

Giveaway Winner and Pink II Week 3 Recap

Happy Friday! Before I hand this post over to Erin, I’d like to announce the winner of the Night of a Thousand Stars giveaway from Deanna Raybourn – it’s Betty Strohecker! Betty, if you will email your address to, I will make sure Deanna knows where to send your prize. Big thanks again to Deanna for such a fun interview, and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway (there were over 40 of you!). Again, I wish I had a prize to give everyone, but keep coming back! More giveaways are in our future. And now, I will pass the mic to Erin for our Friday Pink recap.

All right everybody, it’s that time again, time for the Pink II week 3 recap! When we left our dynamic duo, Miles was well and truly kissing Hen. Then he proceeded to ignore her for a week. Probably the best way to piss Henrietta off. So Hen decides to fly off to the country and consult with Amy, that and attend their Spy School disguised as a weekend at the country. Of course Miles is there since he is Richard’s best friend, and Hen storms off into the garden and wrecks the place by knocking over the statues. Since she is in the garden anyway what does she see but the Monk of Donwell Abbey slinking into the house. But ghosts don’t have feet so it can be none other than the French spy, The Black Tulip. It all comes to naught because the Tulip gets away. The party continues with some heightened security and Hen is convinced to sing. And sing she does – straight to Miles. He is already having a hard time keeping Henrietta in the “Best Friend’s Sister Box” and the aria busts the box wide open.

Commence the walk in the park and Hen following Miles out to confront him about why he has been acting like a dunce. It quickly deteriorates and the pair are soon in a passionate embrace where Henrietta’s bodice somehow comes undone. Of course enter Richard and soon after the parson (actually it’s the Bishop of London but semantics really – the end is the same). Henrietta and Miles are MARRIED!!! Maybe not in the dream wedding that Hen had pictured, and she’s not really sure what her parents are going to say, but married just the same and to her person. Since Miles is not allowed at Selwick Hall anymore they leave straight after the wedding and head back to London. They stop for a bite and who do they run into but Turnip, and he will not leave them alone. The entire ride Hen is thinking that she can sacrifice her possible happiness and get an annulment with Miles if he doesn’t really want to be married to her. At their pit stop Henrietta also finds out that their friend Lord Vaughn is also partaking of the coach stop. Fast forward to the chase scene….Miles and Hen galloping down the road being shot at by a mysterious coach who is a very good shot. Miles does some excellent driving and manages to evade the coach and it goes careening into cabbage, yes I said cabbage. Loved it. We come to the end of the chapter with Miles and Hen pulling up to Loring House. Well he couldn’t take her to his bachelor lodgings, that would be havey cavey, or to Uppington House, so he takes her to their new home. They decide that they are not getting an annulment, but Miles’ declaration of lukewarm affections leaves something to be desired. “Give me more love or more disdain, the torrid or the frozen zone,” Henrietta thinks as Miles is imparting his words of wisdom, something she had never quite understood till now and I have to agree. It does end well though with Miles sweeping Hen into his arms and over the threshold.

And I bet you thought I had forgot Eloise – I didn’t. We left her getting ready for the drinks at Donwell Abbey with Joan. We join them in the drawing room and Eloise stuck with the vicar like Joan had threatened, but he is a young hip vicar who drinks gin. Not the worst thing to be stuck with. We also meet Sally, Joan’s sister, who is very un-Joan like. She and Collin decide to show Eloise more of Donwell Abbey. Colin and Eloise are left in the cloisters by themselves and “every nerve in my body was on man-alert screaming ‘Incoming!’” And her phone rings and ruins the moment and then Sally returns. Colin departs and Eloise is left with her tour guide and “Just here for the archives?” So are Eloise and Collin really going to happen? Will Miles and Hen be happy and make it work? Is Lord Vaughn the Black Tulip? So many questions, I guess we will have to keep reading to find out. But fear not, we are almost to the end of our journey and the questions will be answered. Till next time…

If You Like Pink II…

Welcome to all the new faces who found their way to The Bubblebath Reader thanks to the interview with Deanna Raybourn. I hope you’ll keep coming back after the giveaway winner is announced – I’m hoping to do an author interview for each month of Pink for All Seasons, and many of these authors will be those whose books I found thanks to Lauren Willig.

Speaking of Lauren, did you see her exciting Teaser Tuesday announcement yesterday? Joy of joys, a Pink novella will be preceding the release of The Lure of the Moonflower next August. The novella, titled The Pink Carnation in Love, will be released in June. According to Lauren’s post, it will take place in Venice and feature Jane and the Chevalier de la Tour d’Argent. I noticed in the comments section of her announcement that she says the novella will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pages – just enough to tide us over until August.

In the meantime, if you’re ahead of the game and finished with The Masque of the Black Tulip, you may be looking for similar books to read. Lauren has a list of “If You Like” books that may appeal to you if you loved Miles and Hen – check it out.

On Friday, Erin will return with the penultimate recap post for Pink II. Happy reading!