Somehow, it is already time for our last Pink V recap. Where did January go?
When we last left Turnip and Arabella, Turnip was asking Arabella to dance at the Epiphany Eve ball. He whisks her away before Aunt Osborne has a chance to ruin everything by misplacing her shawl, smelling salts, or common sense. As they dance, Turnip is right on the verge of declaring himself when Arabella has a Major Realization. She knows where the list is!
Before she can explain herself, Darius Danforth announces that the Dowager Duchess (what’s with all the alliteration here?) has declared that every able bodied man should head for the West Wood for “some Epiphany Eve ritual involving gins, ciders, and a band of overexcited yokels.” Turnip would much rather stay with Arabella, but he isn’t exactly given a choice! He’s been dancing around telling Arabella he loves her all night – veiled references to flavors of jam and all that – but when he realizes he’s going to have to leave her for a bit, he gets straight to the point and kisses her.
After all the men depart for the Epiphany tree, Arabella makes her way straight to her room to see if she’s right about the list. And she is! It’s been in the pocket of her school uniform all along. Huzzah, Arabella! The downside – she ignored Turnip’s advice about staying with the group and finds herself all alone staring down Catherine Carruthers with a gun.
Did anyone else do a bit of a double-take when they realized that Catherine was the “bad guy” in this book? It does boggle the mind. Homegirl is a teenager. A silly, immature teenager who is petulant that her parents are going to marry her off to an admittedly ancient aristocrat. Yes, she snuck out of school repeatedly, eloped with Darius Danforth, and communicated with him illicitly through a series of pudding messages and journal placements, but all those things seem like small potatoes compared with pointing a gun at Arabella’s head.
But when we learn the truth, suddenly Catherine as the antagonist seems more plausible. Catherine is not a deadly French spy or a criminal mastermind – she’s a sneaky, spoiled brat who is used to a certain lifestyle and willing to blackmail people to maintain it. Now that she’s married to Darius, she knows she can’t count on her parents to support her financially once they learn the truth, so she and Darius have been selling secrets to make themselves some cash. As she’s explaining this and backing Arabella towards a very high window, enter Turnip. With a pudding.
Turnip and Arabella make quite a team, don’t they? One minute, Catherine has the gun and all the advantages, and the next, she and Darius are both out cold and trussed on the floor thanks to a pudding, some bed-hangings, and a few formidable punches. I love this scene because it’s dramatic and funny at the same time, and because I love the way that Turnip and Arabella finally announce their feelings for each other. Arabella’s lines are so perfect here: “I love you. I want to prowl castles with you and celebrate Christmas with you and get annoyed with you for climbing things. And I’m terribly fond of raspberry jam.”
So it seems all that is left to do is for Turnip to officially ask for Arabella’s hand, which he is thrilled to do in front of the disgusting Captain Musgrave and despite interruptions from the Dowager Duchess. We close with a final letter from Jane to Arabella, sent over a year after Turnip’s proposal, where Jane agrees to be godmother to a certain “baby Jane.” Happy endings all around.
Did you enjoy Mistletoe as much this time around as you did on your first read? Did you find yourself missing Eloise and Colin? Are you ready for Night Jasmine??
If you need a bit more Turnip and Arabella to get you through the long haul to Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (their next appearance, I think), check out the free read Away in a Manger on Lauren’s site.
Make sure you stop by the blog on Friday. Lauren will be back for Ask the Author V – have all your Turnip questions ready!