Pink VII Giveaway

blood lily

Good morning to one and all. Today is that wonderful day of the month where I announce the giveaway of a signed copy of our current Pink book. Up for grabs is a lovely copy of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. If you already own a copy of Pink VII, but it isn’t signed by Lauren, Penelope would probably have something snarky to say about it. Freddy would wonder why you bother to have books at all when you could be playing cards – but surely he would think that, if you were so inclined to have books, they ought to be autographed copies. Alex would want you to have this prize if it would make you happy, although he probably wouldn’t say it straight out. And Colin and Eloise? They may be too busy worrying about Serena to have an opinion on the subject.

You have until midnight EST on March 12 to enter, and you can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck!

Pink VII Week 1 in Review

Today’s post was written by Abby.


First, a reminder of the chapters and dates for the recaps:

Friday, March 6: Prologue and Chapters 1-7

Friday, March 13: Chapters 8-15

Friday, March 20: Chapters 16-23

Friday, March 27: Chapters 24-33

There are also other things I will be talking about throughout the month, and Miss Eliza will again be bringing us her casting ideas and if anyone wants to do a guest post, let Ashley know.

As we covered over the weekend, this book opens with the food of love- grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. It’s February of 2004 and Eloise and Colin are just starting to settle into a relationship with each other. Eloise’s thoughts are turning towards India and matchmaking for Colin’s sister Serena and Colin’s friend Martin. A later Eloise chapter will take us back to Mrs. Selwick-Alderly’s ever helpful archival collections, though once again these will help Eloise both with her research on both the nineteenth-century and her growing understanding of Colin and his family.

In the meantime, the fall of 2004 takes us to a ship entering Calcutta harbor where Penelope Deveraux’s marriage to Lord Frederick Staines is proving challenging for both of them. Freddy has been assigned to “gather intelligence” on James Kirkpatrick, the English Resident in Hyderabad, whom Lord Wellesley fears has “gone soft. Too much time in India, you know.” Penelope, however, doubts that Freddy has much intelligence to offer anyone.

By the end of Chapter One, Penelope has met Colonel William Reid and, more importantly, met Alex Reid who will be escorting the Staines to Hyderabad and we continue to hear more about what both Alex and Penelope think about each other throughout the early chapters. Future chapters will find Penelope hunting among Alex’s papers for information on his activities, discussing human sacrifices, outriding Alex on Alex’s horse, Bathsheba, and diving into a river to rescue a groom, while Alex remains ever perplexed (and ever more intrigued) by her behavior.

Two major themes throughout this book are family and loyalty and, perhaps more importantly, where these elements intersect with each other. The Reid family offers Alex and his twin sister Kat, children to Colonel and Mrs. Reid, George and Lizzy, children to one Indian woman, and Jack, son to another Indian woman. However complex their relations, their affection for each other is apparent in Alex’s letter to Lizzy and George’s greeting of Alex and Colonel Reid’s discussion of all his children. Even in these early chapters, however, it is becoming clear that while relations among Colin’s family are equally complex, that same open affection may not be part of the equation. Pairing the period and contemporary and chapters is, of course, a common trope among time slip novels and the parallels here strike me as important ones. What do any of you think of the families we see in this book, even at this early point? What hints do we have about Penelope’s own family?

By the time the first seven chapters are completed, we have a thorough (re)introduction to Penelope and Freddy and an introduction to shifting Anglo-Indian relationships in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. If Alex, James Kirkpatrick and Colonel Reid are the eighteenth-century lace (to use my earlier analogy, Freddy and Lord Wellesley are decidedly the leather of the nineteenth-century in which the lives of English colonists and Indian natives are intended to be lived on separate tracks. While all of Lauren’s books provide us with historical figures among the fictional characters, this book is particularly filled with them and I will talk more about this in my next recap. What other books have you read in which the author did this? What do you make of this as a literary and a historical strategy?

And for anyone wanting to read more, Lauren provides suggestions of titles in the afterward and the “Two Nerdy History Girls” blog has, entirely coincidentally, also been addressing eighteenth and nineteenth century India in the past few weeks- here’s a link to a recent post for anyone who is interested:

An Introduction to Abby and Pink VII

This post was written by Abby.

pink carnation

Hello and welcome back to The Betrayal of the Blood Lily! This post is to continue the introductions, both my own history with the Pink Carnation series in general and Blood Lily in particular, and any further introductions to yourselves that anyone wishes to make.

I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation in the summer of 2005 and I remember the first time I saw that now very familiar cover. I started a PhD in Early American history in 2004 and my best friend from high school and I were standing in the Owl and Turtle bookshop in Camden, Maine. She saw it first, read the back and handed it me saying that I needed to read it because it was about someone else working on a PhD in history. By the time Blood Lily came out in January of 2010, I had completed my PhD and had a one year teaching job in Salt Lake City, which was very far away from my home in Maine. There was a tea shop near my apartment and I would go there on Saturdays and drink tea and read Blood Lily, and I rationed out the chapters to make it last as long as possible. Now I am five years into a tenure track job at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and currently feeling very Eloise-like because I am on sabbatical this semester and doing archival research at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh.

There have been many, many Pink books since then and yet Blood Lily remains my favorite. This is partly for the simple reason that Alex is my favorite Pink Carnation hero, but the real reason is best voiced by an observation made by a friend and former student. He had taken my United States History to 1877 class and had moved on to a United States History since 1877 class and was trying to explain the differences between colonial history and the nineteenth century history he had moved onto. Finally he said that if nineteenth century American history was like leather, colonial American history was like lace, with its unexpected stories and movements and decisions not yet set in stone. As both Lauren and Eloise acknowledge, readers of historical fiction often think of all British contact with India as having the rigid lines and strictures of the mid-nineteenth century. Blood Lily, however, introduced me to an India in which those relations were as lacy as they are in my own research and I have been fascinated by that India ever since.

And now I want to turn the discussion over to all of you, though as you think about the opening of this book, remember that our initial discussions are intended to cover only the chapters read so far (Ashley and I are planning a discussion later in the month about the faces and turns introduced in Blood Lily, so if you have read all the way through The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, save those thoughts for later in the month!). What do you think of the Indian setting? And what affect do you think it will have on our longer term Pink Carnation characters, Penelope Deveraux and Frederick Staines?

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

Hello, March! A new month means a new Pink book. I’m pleased to introduce you today to Abby, who is our moderator for the month of March and will be guiding us through our re-read of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (AKA Pink VII). Without further ado, I will give you Abby in her own words.

blood lily

Hello, Pink Carnation readers! My name is Abby and I am looking forward to starting us on a new book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, which was first published in 2010. And I also want to thank Ashley for letting me lead discussion on my favorite Pink book.

So as a quick reminder, here is our Pink VII recap:

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

Who: Penelope Deveraux Staines and Alex Reid

Where: India

When: Autumn, 1804

What: Exiled to India to allow the scandal of her hasty marriage time to die down, Penelope finds herself battling cobras, spies, and her own treacherous emotions.

Historical Cameos: Begum Johnson, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Alam, et cetera

I will do a longer introduction to the book and why it is my favorite on March 4, but right now, I want to start us off with the opening line: “The food of love isn’t music. It’s grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.” What do you think of this as an opening line? And what is your favorite recipe for making a grilled cheese sandwich?