Pink X Week 3 in Review

This post was written by Paige.

plumeria flower4

What kind of person travels with a trunk full of billiard balls? That was certainly Colonel Reid’s question during these chapters. The answer, of course, is The Pink Carnation and The Purple Plumeria. But Colonel Reid only knows them as Miss Jane Wooliston and her chaperone, Miss Gwendolyn Meadows. As far as he knows, the three of them are on their way to Selwick Hall in Sussex to reunite with his daughter and her friend. Can you imagine his confusion when their carriage is chased and shot at by men on horseback? And the two women shoot back?

This was the section of the book that solidified my love for Colonel Reid. He is nobody’s fool. He realizes that something is peculiar before the actual attack. After all, he did serve in the cavalry for 30 years and is a Colonel, so he has a finely-honed sense of observation. He processes quickly and reacts well to a situation he was not anticipating. His instincts and training serve him well, and he ends up kicking out the back window of the carriage and joining the defensive attack. Can you imagine what must have been going through his mind as he held Miss Gwen’s legs while she leaned out the window of the moving carriage and shot at their pursuers?

The lovely thing about Colonel Reid is that he doesn’t dwell on the why of the circumstances. As has been his pattern throughout the book so far, he assesses and follows his instincts. He also shows the depth of his his battle skills. So far, we have seen him being kind, fair, and decent. We have seen his love for his children and his affection for Miss Gwen. Granted, there was the skirmish he and Miss Gwen had with the brigands that injured him earlier in the book. But this is where we get a real sense of his military leadership. This is where we see Colonel Reid being a cavalry officer of the East India Company’s army. These are the chapters where he is described as having a piratical grin. This is where we get to see his swash and buckle, and I am all for swash and buckle.

What makes his swash and buckle so swoon-worthy for me is that Colonel Reid is not doing it for show. He is truly fighting for what he believes in. He doesn’t know exactly what the trouble is that Miss Gwen has gotten herself into, but he likes her as a person and is going to help her. Then, there is the scene in the Hellfire Club when his instinct is to rescue the girl in their ritual, even though she turns out not to be his daughter or even someone he knows because, as he says, “It’s someone’s daughter.” Colonel Reid has honor. His big fight with Miss Gwen occurs when she accuses him of not keeping watch over his own children. In reality, he sent his two daughters off to England for their protection. He also did everything in his power to ensure his sons all had decent positions and job prospects. He loves all of his children, whether they are considered legitimate or not.

Then, of course, he sees Miss Gwen as Gwendolyn. He sees her for what she is underneath all of her protective layers, and he accepts her, layers and all. As a matter of fact, he likes her and tells her that he likes her. He challenges her self-perceptions at times, but he never asks her to change. He likes that she has to have the last word and he likes that she keeps him in line. He goes so far as to recognize that her lips were not meant to be stern. He sees her close enough to notice her lips. He is the real deal. How did you feel about Colonel Reid this week? I particularly enjoyed how Lauren gives us enough of the spice of their physical relationship while keeping the “bedroom door” closed. What are your feelings?

The other major thing that caught my attention this week was the conflict and confrontation between Miss Gwen and Jane. Despite the foreshadowing earlier in the book, I was not prepared for the intense pain that would result or the huge dissonance there is between Miss Gwen’s perception of the league and mission and what Jane’s actual plans and operations are. It hurt me to see the breach in their partnership and it was like a slap in my face right along with Miss Gwen’s as she begins to realize that Jane is probably correct: Miss Gwen probably doesn’t always act with the most prudence. The swinging through curtains and leaping off balconies is adventuresome, but there is reference to times when there has been some jeopardy to the league as a result of some of Miss Gwen’s antics.

As Miss Gwen learns that what she assumes to have been a partnership is really not the case, and that Jane has not disclosed all to her, my heart was heavy. I had such empathy for Miss Gwen, yet I also felt some of the weight that Jane has on her shoulders. Miss Gwen loves Jane, and I think that Jane also cares for Miss Gwen. What were you thinking? Did you find yourself sympathizing more with either Gwen or Jane?

Other developments this week include the revelation that Colonel Reid’s son, Jack, is the Moonflower, a French spy who has recently defected and taken the jewels of Berar. Things are going to be getting even more interesting, which I could hardly have believed possible. In modern day, Colin and Eloise are still searching with Jeremy for the jewels of Berar and things are tense between Colin and Jeremy. Our cliffhanger there this week is that they came home to find the front door open and the front hall appearing to be vandalized.

Once again, there was so much that happened this week! What did you think about the visit to the theatre? Was there anything else that particularly caught your attention this week? There is so much that we can discuss! Have a lovely Friday and an enjoyable weekend!

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12 thoughts on “Pink X Week 3 in Review

  1. I loved this part, for all the reasons you mention. I so felt for Gwen, the pain of realizing she is “just” another agent, when she has been in it from the start….
    And Reid… he us so in his element now, it’s awesome to see!

  2. I also felt terrible for Gwen in her confrontation with Jane, but most of my sympathies was for Jane, in that for the first time, the extent of Jane’s network and how much responsibilities she has. I think too here you get a taste of some of the critical but boring aspects of being a spy, taking small bits of information and putting them together into larger picture, and the money spent buying that information. I also think this is where you first see what a lonely situation Jane has found herself in, and it will be interesting to see how those walls get broken down in Moonflower.

    • Karen, I agree with everything you said about Jane and her responsibilities and loneliness! I seriously cannot wait to read Moonflower! I have loved Jane since my first reading of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I know that I am going to love Jack, too. Lauren has given us so much in this series! I never really thought about the money or resources that Jane needed or had until this section.

  3. I also felt very sorry for Miss Gwen when she realized she was not an equal partner to Jane. Possibly it has happened to most of us, when we realize that we are not as well thought of as we had believed. I am also a HUGE fan of Col. Reid! What a great guy. I had totally forgotten that he is an American. I know we aren’t casting characters yet, but I always see him as Alan Rickman.

    • Sheila, I am looking forward to the upcoming dream casting post! I think Miss Eliza is doing that one on the 29th. Do you think there is a bit of Colonel Brandon in Colonel Reid and that is why you saw Alan Rickman? Okay, I will hold my further casting input for now.

  4. I felt sorry for both Gwen and Jane but since we see this scene from Gwen’s viewpoint I feel more for her. It will be interesting to see the story from Jane’s viewpoint in Moonflower. I do not think that we have gotten anything from Jane’s viewpoint in any of the books. Except for short letters giving information. Jane seems very inscrutable to me which I suppose you have to be as the spymaster not just a spy.

    • I am dying for Jane’s story! “Spymaster” is an excellent term for her, Helen! I agree that we mostly saw this from Gwen’s point of view.

  5. This week’s chapters had both the highest and lowest points in the book for me. It hurts to read the whole Jane and Gwen scene from Gwen’s point of view. On the other side of things, the scene in the carriage when they are being attacked is my favorite part! I love that Col. Reid just jumps right in despite wondering “who travels with a trunk full of billiard balls?” 🙂

    • Bekah, you just expertly summarized my feelings exactly! This section did probably contain both the lowest and highest points of the book!

  6. This section was my favorite with so much action and emotional turmoil. I love Col. Reid, and think he handled things extremely well – even the slight by Gwen about his children. He demonstrated that he is a caring and honorable man.

    As far as Jane and Gwen go, my sympathies are totally with Gwen. Jane should have had a talk with her much sooner. Even though Jane is the spymaster, she couldn’t help noticing Gwen’s loyalty and complete involvement in spying. How sad to realize she wasn’t the partner she had believed, especially considering her background and perpetual betrayal by those who should have cared for her.

    As far as Jane’s point of view, I think we have seen the most of her thinking and managing as a spymaster in both The Emerald Ring and Garden Intrigue. It may be that Lauren made Gwen into so much of a caricature of herself in those books that it was totally unexpected to see this vulnerable side of her.

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