I read a book in college for my senior seminar called Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece. The book has an introduction by Jennifer Crusie, and I felt like Crusie really hit on the reason why Pride and Prejudice has spawned such a massive number of sequels and modernizations. We care about the characters after the book is finished. It’s not just that we want to read the book over and over – we want to visualize what happened next. Crusie says, “[W]e close the book knowing that they’re still milling about in there, Wickham putting up with Lydia as his punishment for being a rat, Jane and Bingley in clueless contentment and Elizabeth teaching Darcy how to laugh while not inviting Lady Catherine to dinner.”
The books I love best, the ones that stay with me long after I’ve closed the cover, are the ones whose characters feel like people I know. They are the books I’ve read so often that I feel like I could have imaginary conversations with the main characters, or maybe invite them over for dinner. I love to think about what happened next for these people who feel as familiar as friends, and I know I’m not alone here.
In the Readers Guide at the end of The Lure of the Moonflower, Lauren gives us a lovely sense of closure by filling us in on what some of our favorite characters get up to after the series is over.
In some of the books, like The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Lauren actually has Eloise discover what happened to the main characters by reading an inscription below a painting or finding a reference in a document to their future years. Some characters, like Richard and Miles and Henrietta, were almost like audience-favorite guest stars on a TV series – they popped up fairly regularly in the following books. But it was wonderful to hear a bit more about Penelope and Alex, or Geoff and Letty.
I love that Alex and Penelope adopted a whole crew of children from a neighboring village in India. Can’t you just see Penelope turning into a dragon-mother when some stuffy British woman tries to comment on her choice of family? I can also perfectly visualize the look on Mary’s face when she finds out that Letty has written a book on housekeeping techniques. I also love that Agnes turns out to be a formidable feminist. Take THAT, Mr. and Mrs. Wooliston.
I know that, even with the gift of these little glimpses into the future, we still feel like we want to know more. But I think one of the best things Lauren has done for us over the course of the series is helped us get to know these characters so well that maybe we don’t need to have their whole lives spelled out for us in additional books. I’m not saying I wouldn’t snap up another Pink book in a heartbeat, but I’m not sure I need one to envision the later years for the Pink crew. I imagine that Henrietta tries to make Miles ginger biscuits herself when Cook comes down with a cold, and she smells like burnt sugar for weeks afterward. I think Turnip tries his hand at coloring his own linen, with mixed results, and Arabella winds up with pink hair for a few months in consequence. I can see Laura tearing up the first time Gabrielle calls her “Maman.” (I also see this happening when Gabrielle is in her thirties – she is hard-headed.)
What about you? What do you see in the future for your favorite Pink characters?