Blood Lily and the Pink Carnation Series

This post was written by Abby.

spoiler_alert_300_w2WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS POST UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST ELEVEN PINK CARNATION BOOKS AND WISH TO DISCUSS THE SERIES AS A WHOLE!

One of the other reasons why I chose this particular book is because I wanted to be able to have a discussion about reading Blood Lily back in 2010 and reading Blood Lily now in 2015 when we have so many other books and a much clearer sense of the overall arc of the series.

So the first question I want to start with is this one: did any of you who read this book in 2010 or 2011 realize just how many characters and narrative transitions it was introducing? I certainly had no idea! I think it wasn’t until Lauren began talking about the arc of the series around the time of the publication of The Passion of the Purple Plumeria in 2013 that I went back and reread Blood Lily and specifically paid attention to the Reid family as a whole. As I’ve said before, we have Colonel William Reid who married Maria and had the twins, Alex and Kat. After Maria’s death, he had relationships with Indian women which led to Lizzy and George and also to Jack. And with the publication of The Lure of the Moonflower coming up this summer, we now have had many opportunities to get to know the various Reids better. Do any of you have a favorite member of the Reid family? As you know, I’m partial to Alex but I also like Kat and keep hoping that Lauren will eventually have opportunity and time enough to write her book. I also liked the fact that Blood Lily makes it clear that these spy networks have global ramifications and that events halfway around the world from the English ballrooms can have enormous consequences, even when we return to home territory in books like Purple Plumeria and Midnight Manzanilla.

And, finally, what other series of books have you read as they were published? The Harry Potter series is probably the best known for being one that thousands of people around the world waited for. I began reading Winston Graham’s Poldark series in the early 1990s when I was at university in Edinburgh and was delighted when he began publishing later Poldark books which finally culminated with Bella Poldark in 2008. Does the experience of reading a series of books as they are published change the reading experience? How is waiting years between books different from being able to just go from one to the next? And, on that note, I would like to thank Ashley for having the ideas for doing this as she has successfully managed to combine both these reading experiences as we are both rereading and anticipating!

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6 thoughts on “Blood Lily and the Pink Carnation Series

  1. The Wheel of Time series was brutal waiting for the last 3 or 4 books. I came into the series after the first 8 had already been published; but the time period between books 11 and 12-14 was excruciating! Then the author died and there was fear about the new author (who is amazing, btw). Don’t even get me started on the wait for the last Song of Ice and Fire book … 🙂

    • Sarah, I haven’t read the Wheel of Time series but I remember a student who took a couple of classes with me commenting on waiting for the final books and wondering about the new author.

  2. I read the later part of the Pink Carnation books in sequence as they came out and the Harry Potter books as they came out, and most recently the Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling pseudonym books. I love series and trilogy books, as I like to both see the same character grow and get to know them (Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike) and a series of interconnected characters (Pink Carnation) and getting peaks at old characters after their happily ever after’s. For me, reading books as they come out really promotes re-reading as I get really excited to read the new book that I “get ready” by reading the other books in the series “to get ready” and make sure I didn’t miss anything!

  3. Apart from the Pink books, I have a few other series that I follow. Tracy Grant’s series that begins with “Vienna Waltz” has been a great one, and I’m so excited for her May release. I read Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia series, but I came to those pretty late, so I never had to suffer through the wait for the next book. I’m currently trying not to think about how far away November is, seeing as how that is when “Winter” (the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles series) comes out. And I have extremely fond memories of midnight release parties for Harry Potter books. The year between books always felt so long, but it’s such a great feeling to finally get your hands on a book you’ve been wanting.

  4. I had forgotten so many of the connections that I am picking up on now. I started the Pink Carnation series when five books were out, so it was great to read one after the other. Then, having to wait for the annual releases left me without a clear picture of character connections. So glad I am able to do this now. As for the Reids, I have to say Alex is my favorite with Kat a close second. I felt so emotional reading about her sacrifice in Plumeria, so wish she would have her own story.

    It is hard to read a series and keep characters and events clear, especially long series. I read The Irish Country Doctor series, and again started that one with four books published. It continues with one a year, but is not as hard to keep up with as the carnation series. I am reading Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club series, but two came out last year and there will be two more this year. Even so, I had to reread the first two as the series progressed (which was a joy), and I almost never reread because I have so many books I would like to read – also new series that I would like to start, and where is the time? An ongoing series is harder to keep up with than a limited series, and also it is harder to remember when several years pass between books in a series. I had to reread Adrianna Trigianni’s Valentine series of three books because it took so long for the last book to come out. So I guess series reading has a double-edged sword to it.

  5. Thank you to all of you who have taken part in the discussions this past month! I remember some years back reading an essay looking at the differences between people who only read books who are unknown to them and people who also reread books, though I don’t remember what the essay said those differences were. I am definitely a rereader of novels and while I’ve always done that, I’ve been doing it more since I became a professor; I think because I now spend so much time reading and analyzing historical monographs, that I want to make certain that some of my reading time is still for the pleasure of reading, and the Pink Carnation books are definitely that.

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