This post was written by Paige.
Happy Wednesday, everyone! Are you ready to get your Swash and Buckle on? I hope so! I have been thinking about what it is about Miss Gwendolyn Meadows that I love so much. She is complex and we will surely be talking about all of her layers throughout the month. Today, though, I want to talk about one of my favorite things, which is swashbucklers. Does anyone else just like the word “swashbuckle”? It conjures up adventure and dashing historical rogues with hearts of gold. I think of pirate ships and musketeers and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Thanks to the Pink series, I also think of a certain group of Napoleonic era spies, inspired by The Purple Gentian and led by The Pink Carnation. Is anyone else with me?
One of the things that I think has captured our hearts about this series is that the girls get to dash into adventure too. Strike that. We don’t need the “get to.” The females have their share of intrigue and adventure, sometimes despite the best efforts of the gentlemen to keep them safely tucked away. Some of our heroines so far have been more outwardly adventurous than others, but I would say they have all had a bit of “swash” in their core. Leading the pack with sheer outrageous antics, we have the incomparable Miss Gwen.
What separates Miss Gwen from the rest is how she relishes participating in the actual fighting. She does more than pass along messages or dress up in disguises in order to take part in espionage. Miss Gwen carries a weapon with her at all times, her trusty sword parasol. In Plumeria, she fights side by side with Colonel Reid. She refuses to escape when they are ambushed by ruffians because she doesn’t want him to “have all the fun.” We have had scenes where she is frustrated with Jane’s lack of action. In her view, the whole Pink Carnation network is a result of her daring and Jane’s cunning. Throughout this entire book so far we have had references to how much Miss Gwen thrives on danger and adventure. Make no mistake, though: Miss Gwen knows exactly what she is doing. She does not rush willy-nilly into dangerous situations. She is no rash young Miss who finds herself in need of rescue because she has been impulsive. She sees and hears many things in her persona of fierce old maid chaperone and uses them to her advantage.
Even better than a solo swashbuckler is a swashbuckling duo. In steps Colonel Reid. We’ve talked previously about how perfectly compatible Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid are and how witty their banter is. It should be no surprise that they are just as well-matched when fighting off assailants. Indeed, Miss Gwen suggests to Colonel Reid that his brawn and her sword would be the best way to handle their attackers. This scene has one of my favorite Pink quotes, “As one, they whirled to face their assailants.” I can’t tell you how glorious that makes me feel and how much I want to raise my fist and shout, “Huzzah!” When I think it can’t possibly get better, Miss Gwen lunges forward and cries, “To me!” Slay me. I am curious to know how everyone else felt while reading this part of the book. Did you find yourself as jubilant as I did?
All of this has me thinking about what other books feature dashing swashbuckling females. One of my favorite features of Lauren’s website is her “If You Like” posts. I have found some of my favorite books and authors there. I have also found that readers who enjoy the Pink books tend to have great suggestions and are well-read. Do you have any books that you can suggest? I have a short list of some that I have read recently that I enjoyed and come readily to mind.
The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland was my introduction to the Renegades of the American Revolution series. I adored this book and it definitely features a swashy female! In fact, the whole series has been fantastic. Not all of the heroines are technically swashbucklers, but they are all fabulous. A bonus for me is that they take place during the historical period of the American Revolution, which is an era I find fascinating.
In Bed With a Spy by Alyssa Alexander has a couple that fight together á la Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid. The hero of the book is a spy and he first sees the heroine when she is charging into battle after having taken up her slain husband’s place. This one has lots of intrigue and there is no way that the heroine is ever going to sit by and let the men have all the “fun.”
My Lady Pirate by Danelle Harmon is about a “girl” who is the captain of her own pirate ship with an all-female crew. She is Maeve Merrick, the notorious Pirate Queen of the Caribbean. Woe be to the hero, a British Naval officer, who becomes her captive. Until they become a swashbuckling duo! That naval officer has some pirate tendencies of his own…
Have you read anything lately that features either a swashbuckling female or a swashbuckling couple? I would love some more suggestions.
Have a fabulous day! On Friday we will have a recap of chapters 6-12. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your week!