Wow, week one is at an end already. Where did the week/chapters go? Okay, first chapters of Crimson Rose! I always forget how much happens in the beginning of this novel. In the format that Beth used last month (which I really loved), I’m going to try and recap what’s happened in the first 8 chapters.
Lord Vaughn: Our mysterious and complex earl has been enlisted by the Carnation to recruit Mary to their cause. Jane, somewhat, convinced him to use his title as bait and despite informing her of the contrary, and giving himself severe talkings to, Vaughn is quite intrigued by Mary. My favourite from him in the beginning is “’Yet’, my dear Miss Wooliston, is a treacherous jade. She’ll lead you astray if you let her.”
Personal note: it’s mind-blowing to me that, not only does Vaughn know who she is, he continues to work for (he would say with) Jane. For king and country and all that, yawn…
Mary: Although voted “most likely to marry an Earl” three seasons running, she finds herself unmarried still! Sorry, a little bit of Austen crept in there. She’s desperate not to be at the mercy of her younger sister’s (and her thwarted husband’s) charity and accepts Vaughn’s mysterious deal… with stipulations of her own of course. She, as usual, sees something of an opportunity in the first portion of her mission, but it doesn’t quite go as she thought. Vaughn is ever-present it seems.
Personal note: Mary reminds me a little of Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice, very pragmatic and shrewd. It comes down to the fact that there are only so many options for women in their situation and if they can bring a man “up to scratch” they will.
Jane: Currently in England, presumably after Ireland and before returning to France, finds herself in need of someone to get the Black Tulip’s attention and Mary decidedly fits the bill. She also possesses the amazing ability to keep Vaughn engaged enough to convince him to entice Mary.
Aunt Imogen: Can we all just spare a moment of silence to the brilliance of Lauren in creating Lady Cranbourne and the ode Robbie Burns wrote, hailed as “the unpronounceable in praise of the incomprehensible”? I love it!!
We’ve also had our introductions to Lady Hester Standish and Mr. St. George, both of whom promise to be very interesting characters in the future. Especially if we get to see/hear more of Aunt Imogen, Lady Cranbourne and Lady Hester… seriously, who else wants to read that book?
In more modern times, Eloise is buried in the archives of the Vaughn collection and discovering details no one else knows. I have a special appreciation for her randomly meeting up with Colin on the streets (because she, inevitably, gets lost) and her description of him looking like a “Plantagenet monarch” and she “looked like a mugwump.” I laughed so hard my husband told me I wasn’t allowed to read the book in bed anymore… that hasn’t happened, I’m just attempting to control my laughter, not really working. Eloise and Colin are setting off for their first date, anything can happen at this stage.
Introduction to Nigel Dempster: “… you’re also looking for the Pink Carnation…” I, along with Eloise, don’t like him already.
Questions to ponder: If you’d been in Mary’s place what would you have done, accept your sister’s charity or made “a deal with the devil”?
Coming back to “situational morality,” what do you think of the Common Sense Society, and which side would you take (removing the guillotine from the picture)?