Ask the Author III

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Happy Friday!  I hope each of you had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving.  It’s time for Ask the Author again.  Lauren has kindly volunteered to check in throughout the day and answer any questions you may have about The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

It’s also time for us to let Lauren know which Pink III quotes won the popularity contest!  Lauren, we’ve voted on these, and here are the top three:

  1. “Patience is only a virtue when there is something worth waiting for.”
  2. “That’s where you’re wrong.  Perfection may be admirable, but it’s not very lovable.”
  3. “Ever since she fired on that boot manufactory in Calais, Miss Gwen has had difficulty controlling her incendiary impulses.”

There you have it!

Pink Enthusiasts, thanks for voting.  Now feel free to ask Lauren your questions in the comments section below – one lucky commenter will receive some Pink III swag!

A Thanksgiving Guest Post from Betty

Today’s post is contributed by Betty, a Pink for All Seasons participant, who felt particularly passionate about the history of Irish uprisings while reading Pink III.  Enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

The Deception of the Emerald Ring takes place mainly in Ireland of 1803 where Robert Emmett is attempting to lead a rising for Irish freedom with the help of France. It is mentioned that an earlier rising of 1798 was a failure led by Emmett’s brother, Addis Emmett who then fled to France. Lauren writes in her historical note that truth can make a colorful story for fiction. How true! Rereading this book brought to my mind the long struggle for Irish freedom. As an avid reader of historical fiction, I sometimes find myself getting passionately involved in a story to the point that I want to know more, especially about the real life people who created this history. As my heritage is Scots, English, and Irish, I am always intrigued with whatever I discover.

Two years ago, while listening to a CD by my favorite Irish tenors, I was captured by a song entitled, Grace, sung on this CD by Anthony Kearns. I kept replaying it to learn all of the words and then went on an internet search where I found it was written about Grace Gifford who married her fiancé, Joseph Plunkett, four hours before he was executed for his part in the Irish Easter Rising of 1916. This rebellion was listed as the most significant fight for Irish freedom since the failed 1798 rebellion. It was called “a pivotal event in modern Irish history” which lasted for six days beginning Easter Monday, April 24th. The heavily outnumbered and out armed Irish fighters surrendered to prevent so many civilians from being slaughtered. British Gen. John Maxwell, a martial law governor sent to Ireland April 28th to suppress the rebellion, ordered immediate courts martial and executions of the major leaders, 16 of whom were put to death between May 3 and 12, before public outrage put an end to the executions of the rest of the 90 sentenced to death. Joseph Plunkett, one of the 7 signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic, and ill from tuberculosis, was shot on May 4 at the age of 28. He was a poet, an aristocrat, a journalist, and Irish Nationalist. He and Grace Gifford were supposed to be married on Easter Sunday, but the revolution got in the way. After his sentence, Grace petitioned to marry him, found a jeweler as he was closing his shop to purchase a ring, and was married in the chapel in Kilmainham Jail four hours before her husband was executed. She continued to fight for Irish freedom along with her sisters, one of whom was married to another executed leader and had two young children. This story so grabbed me that I wanted to read more. I ordered a book about Joseph Plunkett written as part of The 16 Lives series, Unlikely Rebels, the Gifford Girls and the Fight for Irish Freedom, and Grace Gifford Plunkett and Irish Freedom, Tragic Bride of 1916. I so wish that one day someone will write more of their story. I intend to read the other books in the 16 Lives series one day, to learn more about these brave men who were later considered martyrs and heroes for Irish freedom.

In the modern story of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Eloise is explaining to her date, Jay (set up by grandma), that she is researching English spies who became involved in the 1803 Irish struggle. Jay questions whether the English involvement bothers her, considering her heritage (Kelly, red hair – love that line), and ends up calling Eloise a moral relativist after she explained, “The English behaved horribly in Ireland, but they had their reasons” (p.181). I got to thinking about those words, ‘moral relativist,’ which simply put (in my mind) was justifying events for the time period without considering the overall question of right and wrong. Was England right to foil the fight for freedom? Did the Irish people deserve to rule themselves, or were they to remain part of England and used as puppets by both England and France? Those of us looking back on history have a unique opportunity to judge it and look at it from our modern perspective. This was a time period when punishments were cruel and human life easily forfeit, with not much sense of value or conscience, albeit man’s inhumanity to man was not anywhere near as awful as that exhibited during the middle ages. Even though Napoleon’s ministry of police and its tortures are mentioned in her books, I applaud Lauren in her use of humor that helps the reader know what is going on without dwelling on the horrors that are sometimes difficult to read about.

Getting back to the 1916 Easter Rising, I guess what appalled me was the quick rush to justice, which in these cases seemed extreme. These men were treated terribly during their brief imprisonment and executed so quickly and sometimes cruelly – one man, James Connelly, had been wounded so badly during the fight that he had to be tied to a chair to be shot, even though a doctor had said he would die within a day or two because of his wounds. Each day their bodies were thrown into a lime pit after execution – relatives were not allowed to claim and bury them. I kept thinking: “This was the 20th century – how could it happen?” But then, we later on had two world wars in which atrocities were committed. Historical fiction can make history come alive and help us ponder this term of moral relativism. Will we ever get to a point in human history where some things can be looked upon as always right or always wrong? I think back to the American Revolution and the men who were brave enough to “pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honors” without guarantee of success, and I wonder how many men and women would be able to do that today. I am curious as to whether anyone else has thoughts on moral relativism. Is there any particular event in history that grabs you?

I know this has been a little bit deep, and certainly don’t want to detract from Lauren’s wonderfully enjoyable books. However, the subject matter did take me down a passionate path. Sometimes something as random as a song or painting (Lauren’s That Summer) can lead to many roads of discovery, as all of Lauren’s books do for me. If you’re interested in the song, Grace, you can google “Grace Anthony Kearns” and hear a beautiful rendition. The chorus is:

Oh, Grace, just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger,

They’ll take me out at dawn and I will die,

With all my love I’ll place this wedding ring upon your finger,

There won’t be time to share our love for we must say goodbye.

Pink III Week 4 in Review

Today is the last post for Beth, our Pink III moderator. Hasn’t she done a wonderful job? Before I turn this post over to her, there is something I want to tell you all about Beth. Not only is she the person responsible for putting The Secret History of the Pink Carnation in my hands back in 2007, she has been my friend since the first day of our freshman year of college. We saw our first R-rated movie together, spent a semester in London, and took an illicit dip in Fonville Fountain on my 21st birthday. We drifted apart a bit after graduation (like you do), but she came back into my life three years ago in a blaze of glory when I really needed her. Since then, she is ALWAYS there. She is the type of friend who will text me pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch to brighten my day, invite me over to try a new cupcake recipe, or send me a card in the mail just because. She is, as Emma Thompson once said about Kate Winslet, “beautiful in both countenance and spirit.” So Beth, thank you for being a wonderful friend and an excellent leader for Pink for All Seasons.

And now, on to the recap. Take us home, Beth!

Well folks, we’ve arrived – the finale of The Deception of the Emerald Ring! This month has flown by and I’ve loved spending time as your moderator through this fantastic adventure – a thousand thank yous to the lovely Ashley for bringing me on for the ride! I told you, stuff was about to go down – and go down it did!

So, without further adieu, let’s dive in and recall how everything has ended up for our characters:

  • Jane, Geoff, Letty, and Miss Gwen successfully collaborated to thwart the rebels AND the French at the same time, with delightful parasol wielding, chicken-pecking, explosive good fun.
  • The Marquise is, unfortunately, dead. And I don’t think we know who did it. Which is concerning.
  • Jasper, we discover, is a terrible person and actually was trying to kill Letty and Geoff to get at Geoff’s fortune. Who does that?
  • Geoff and Letty admitted to each other – and eventually believed – that both of them were imperfect, and it was the imperfections that made them love each other more (including goiters, warts, and carbuncles).
  • Geoff and Letty beat the pants off of Jasper, and banish him to India with a particularly vindictive valet.
  • Lord Vaughn is still slightly untrustworthy.
  • Colin asked out Eloise – after a decidedly awkward conversation involving mimes – to a real date with real dinner at the Thanksgiving party!

There were some fantastic moments in this last section of the book. There were so many scenes that I love! For example:

I love that Miss Gwen gets to blow up the depot. It’s wonderful that she’s such a powerful, independent character and that can compete with the best of them. Whether it’s ‘pinking’ a rebel in the knee with her sword or exclaiming “Peck, my pretties, peck!”, this is a one of my favorite Miss Gwen scenes. It makes me want to wield a parasol and defy the French!

I love that Letty gets to show her scrappy side. She really does give Jasper a run for his money after he kidnaps her, and even before that she gets that fuse to light, dag-gone-it. And, when it comes down to it, she’s the one that bests Jasper and gets them the upper hand while Geoff is talking to him! Three cheers for Letty!

I love that Geoff and Letty finally get the chance to be honest with one another. Letty admits to being jealous of her beautiful and seemingly golden sister, while Geoff admits that his love for Mary was shallow and temporary. The purity and love in this conversation just shines.

More importantly, what are your thoughts about the last bit of the book? What was your favorite part? Are you satisfied with Jasper’s sentence, or do you want Miss Gwen to ‘pink’ him too?

Pink III: Dueling Dream Casts!

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It’s that time again – let’s dream cast The Deception of the Emerald RingElizabeth, our casting director of the first two books, and Beth, our moderator for the month of November, have thought long and hard about what actors should play the leading characters from Pink III. Before we begin, a quick introduction from Beth:

Almost never in life does the movie ever come close to the book, does it?  It’s almost to the point where I don’t even watch the movie – or, if they announce the movie is coming out, I just know it’s going to be a bummer.  But that’s the beauty of this duel – we each get to pick our favorite actors for our hero and heroine!  Now, I’m no casting director, and I’m certainly not an expert of film.  I do like a good BBC miniseries and I’m a sucker for anything with singing and dancing, thus all of my choices are limited to those realms so bear with me!

Alright ladies – let’s get down to it. We’ll kick off our casting with the role of Geoff, and Elizabeth will take the lead!

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When dreamcasting Lauren’s books, I almost never cast the male lead first. I think this is just because I so strongly connect to the female lead, and perhaps wish to be in her shoes maybe a little, that they get cast first. Plus, it’s just correct etiquette that ladies go first! But The Deception of the Emerald Ring was a big old aberration to my, hopefully one day patented, system. Because finally getting to really look at Geoff I realized that he IS Jamie Bamber. How did I reach this logical conclusion? To the evidence! I had seen Jamie Bamber in so many roles on so many shows over the years that he had become kind of part of the furniture of what makes up a good BBC production. There he is with Hugh Dancy as the funny painter in Daniel Deronda, there he is as the loyal Archie in Horatio Hornblower, there he is in Lady Audley’s Secret falling down a well (and you shouldn’t watch that horrid adaptation anyway so considered yourself spoiled for your own good).

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And then something happened. That something is called Battlestar Galactica. As Captain Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama, Bamber was no longer furniture, he was out there in space being all sexy, sometimes really out there dropping a towel and showing a little full back action… In other words, Jamie Bamber is someone who had always been sexy but was overlooked for years till just the right moment. This is how I view Geoff. He’s been overlocked for years, blending into the background, till all of a sudden he whisks Letty accidentally into that carriage and he becomes headlines. Sexy sexy headlines.  Or it could totally be that I was brainwashed by his appearance in The Scarlet Pimpernel and made up this story. But I defy you to find me a better Geoff! As for a certain Richard Armitage being posited… I do love me some Richard Armitage and yes, I do think that he has the seriousness of Geoff and he can blend into the background and smolder nicely… the question is, do you see him writing florid poetry? I do not.

 

Miss Eliza’s full post for Geoffrey Pinchindale-Snipe played by Jamie Bamber can be found on her blog.  Okay, Beth – make your case for Richard Armitage!

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For Geoff, it had to be someone who was mysterious.  Someone who was handsome and dark but also had a softer, sweet side.  Someone who could hold of a band of rebels with Miss Gwen by his side, and maul Letty in conveyances with the best of them.  That man, I think, is the great Richard Armitage.  He’s a man of many talents (I mean when you find yourself strangely attracted to Thorin Oakenshield or the narrator for The Great Sperm Race, he’s doing something right).  He would be awesome at the cold shoulder Geoff levels in Letty’s direction at the wedding, and he would make every beating heart melt through the last few chapters (for reference, check out the last 10 minutes of North and South!).  Lastly – if we’re being honest – I’m pretty sure we’d all be ok with him on a pink coverlet.  Twist my arm.

Excellent choices. And now for our heroine, Letty! Elizabeth – who have you selected?

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As for Letty… the first criteria is that she has to be a true, vibrant redhead (sorry Emmy Rossum). I used to so want red hair when I was little, and contrary to my parents’ opinion it wasn’t because I hero-worshiped my cousin who had red hair, it was because I just love the color! It’s like your hair is live flames! So, I was on the lookout for redheads and then I stumbled on the new (at that time) adaptation of As You Like It staring Bryce Dallas Howard. Now I hadn’t really seen her in anything other than The Village and every time I saw her all I could think of was that old SNL sketch with Eddie Murphy and her father, Ron Howard, where Murphy kept saying “Opie had sex!?!”

Picture4So I was really shocked that she could act. And not like, oh, she’s ok, in that way you do for acting dynasties. No, she carried that whole movie and was amazing AND did a stellar British accent. Plus, have you seen any pictures of her when she was pregnant? She just exudes this hearth and home vibe that is at the core of who Letty is. Therefore I present for your consideration, Letty as played by Bryce Dallas Howard. And as for Emmy Rossum, I’ve sadly only seen here in the bizarre adaptation of Beautiful Creatures, so I don’t think I can give a knowledgeable opinion, other then I think Bryce is better!

Again, Miss Eliza’s full post for Letty Alsworthy played by Bryce Dallas Howard can be found on her blog.  Beth, who is your ideal Letty?

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For Letty, I wanted someone who is guileless – someone who you look at their face and think, “She could never lie to anyone!”  She has to be able to laugh, especially at herself.  Curly hair was a must; hair color we could change.  I think a good cast choice for Letty is Emmy Rossum.  She’s really pretty without realizing it, she’s funny, and I know she could hold her own in corsets and, to quote Geoff, ‘pantaloons’.  Bonus – if we wanted to make The Deception of the Emerald Ring a musical, she’d have the pipes to pull of a fantastic showstopper finale number (complete with rockets and fireworks!).  Tap dancing rebels, anyone?

Well, what do you all think?  Jamie, Richard, Bryce, Emmy, or someone completely different?  Who do you envision when you read Geoff and Letty’s story?

Also, in random and fun Pink news, The Lure of the Moonflower has a cover!  Happiness everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Quote Contest: Vote for Your Favorite!

Last week, our lovely Pink III moderator Beth proposed a quote competition.  Several of you provided comments with your favorite quotes – all of them were great!  Beth’s idea is to share the three most popular quotes from Pink III to Lauren, which means it’s time for you to vote!  Select your favorite quote in the poll below.

We’ll pass the winning three along to Lauren on Friday when she returns for Ask the Author III!

Also, tomorrow will be Dream Casting day for The Deception of the Emerald Ring. Which actors should play our leading characters?  Stop by tomorrow to see what Beth and Elizabeth have to say.

Pink III Week 3 in Review

Happy Friday! Before I turn this post over to Beth, I’d like to announce the winner of The Anatomist’s Wife giveaway: it’s Karen! Congratulations, Karen. Email me your mailing address at ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, and Anna and I will make sure your prize finds its way to you.

Over to Beth for our Pink III recap.

Hello, everyone! One more week, and our favorite author has woven a fantastic adventure for us to unravel. A highly eventful theater trip has really stirred the pot, for starters, not to mention the relationship developments between our hero and heroine. Let’s catch up with our favorite characters…

Geoff: After tailing the elusive and always suspicious Lord Vaughn, he catches his wife in very close proximity with a very dead Marquise de Montval… wait, no, Miss Emily Gilchrist. He’s thankful, of course, that his cousin Jasper hasn’t done any permanent damage to Letty – (who he is finally speaking to, and referring to by name) – but not at all excited that she’s had her first “dead body” experience. After discovering a pawn with a seal in Emily’s reticule, Jane reveals that she’s been working with Lord Vaughn for months without telling him – gasp! All the while, of course, there are rockets being amassed by the Irish, and the French are coming. Most concerning, however, is the fact that he can no longer believe that Letty contrived being compromised just to marry him. Geoff actually discovers that he admires her – it’s not every woman who can handle blood ruining her lace gloves with such calm – and he also can’t really control himself when they’re in a carriage alone together. It’s troublesome, really.

Letty: After being brought into the fold of the Pink Carnation, her life has really taken a 180 degree turn. Jasper, the best man at her wedding, has offered to help her kill her husband so they could be together (shudder). Someone who she thought was her friend (well, she tolerated her flamboyance as best she could) is now dead, and in a gruesome way. The killer literally ran into her as he/she fled the scene. Letty realizes, thanks to a memory of Mary, that a black tulip isn’t actually a real flower, which leads Jane to the important conclusion that the Black Tulip must be a ring of spies who all have the same fair skin and dark hair. Miss Gwen is talking about blowing up something, Jane is talking about a potential French invasion, and her gloves are still bloody from trying futilely to revive Emily’s dead body. The ruined gloves really aren’t the worst – but she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t a little rattled by the whole experience. On top of it all, Geoff finally believed her, kissed her again, and asked her to come home with him (yikes!). How is it possible to have seen your first dead person and be floating a few inches off the ground because your husband might actually like you in the same day?

Jane: Life as the Pink Carnation is never boring. She’s acting as the flighty Gilly, being the mastermind behind a collaboration with Lord Vaughn, tracking the Marquise (who is actually posing as Lord Vaughn’s nephew), and trying to thwart the French and the Irish. Talk about a day in the office! And, now Jane knows that there are multiple petals to this Black Tulip, which means there must be a stem as well – not exactly comforting.

Miss Gwen: She’s pretty excited about blowing up this depot.

Eloise: She is thoroughly trying to ignore Colin whenever she sees him, though he isn’t having to work nearly as hard at ignoring her. She has also had a wine-fortified date with Jay, and a chat with Serena.

Y’all, stuff is about to go down. Miss Gwen is ready to blow up the place. Someone is dead – but the most likely killer is supposed to be working with Jane, not against her. Letty has physically bumped into the killer, and might be targeted next. AND – Letty and Geoff are getting to know one another.   We are on the brink of big things!

In this section of the book, I’ve been amazed by two things: First, that Letty has handled a ton of drama without falling to pieces. Second, that Jane can trust Lord Vaughn.

What do you think – how can Letty handle all that she’s been thrown into? Would you behave in the same way? If you were Jane, would you trust Lord Vaughn?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Pink III: Favorite Quote Contest

Today’s post was written by Beth.

Happy midweek, everyone!  I hope you’re all enjoying this section of The Deception of the Emerald Ring.  The plot is thickening… and, it’s impossible to put down!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struck by some amazing quotes as I’m reading this time around.  Between the witty (and dizzying) banter of Lord Vaughn, the sharp wit of Miss Gwen, and Letty’s fantastic guileless observations, this book is full of great one-liners.

For example:

“Ever since she fired on that boot manufactory in Calais, Miss Gwen has had difficulty controlling her incendiary impulses.” – Geoff

“All the best worship is done from afar.  You might want to try it.” – Letty, to the handsy Jasper

“I,” said Miss Gwen grandly, “will blow up the depot.”

Here’s my idea – comment below with your favorite one-liners from the book, and we can share with Lauren the top top three most popular lines next week!  If someone else comments with your favorite quote, you can just reply to them and and second their choice.

So… what are your favorite lines?

What a fun idea, Beth!  Lauren has a post on her site devoted to favorite quotes from Pink I and Pink II, but she doesn’t have any for Pink III yet.  Let’s do it!