Pink IV: Ask the Author

Crimson Rose British cover

It’s that time again!

Since we’re wrapping up our month of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Lauren has agreed to return for another round of Ask the Author.  She’ll be popping by throughout the day to answer whatever questions you have about Mary, Vaughn, or anything else Pink IV.  Lauren, as always, thank you so much for visiting with us.

We’ll pick up with our rereading on January 1 with The Mischief of the Mistletoe.  If you’re confused about the reading order, take a look at this previous post to find out what’s up.

Pink IV Week 4 in Review

Good morning!  To all of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful holiday yesterday.  I’d like to begin by announcing the winner of the library sale books: it’s Thea!  Thea, if you will email me at with your address, I will get your prize in the mail.  Merry Christmas to you from the Bubble Bath Reader!

And now, I will hand this post over to Sarah, who I believe deserves a big round of applause and huge Holiday Huzzahs for doing such a wonderful job of leading us through Pink IV.  Thank you so much, Sarah!  Take it away 🙂

Whew, here we are at the end of Crimson Rose . . . I can’t believe we are here already.  Alright, the ‘wrap up’ where everything falls into place and much that was once mystery has come to light.

Mary:  Brave and resilient.  She manages to save Vaughn, unmasks the Black Tulip and is instrumental in his defeat; mostly while in various states of ‘undress’.  She is not above using her feminine wiles if she needs to.  My favourite from her during these last chapters is during her confrontation with the Tulip “Mary swallowed hard and straightened her spine, dropping her coquetry like an outgrown mask.  The battle would have to be won on other grounds.”  She is the best type of heroine, in my opinion, no flustering, no panicking, no waiting for someone to ‘rescue’ her (although his appearance later is welcome) just pragmatism and logic; much like Jane and Henrietta.  A great wish of mine is that, should I find myself in such a situation, I would behave in a like fashion.  The ‘cherry on top’ is she gets her man in the end and without either of them having to resort to anything, ummmmmm, untoward (yep, let’s go with that).

Lord Vaughn:  Has recovered from his wound rather admirably and is determined to see himself free of his resurrected wife so he can marry Mary (marry Mary, that’s a fun phrase … sorry, it’s Christmastime, too much Elf).  He has a meeting with Anne, where he discovers that the Tulip is the next Jacobite ‘pretender’ (ooooh, I have highland Scots heritage and struggle with this a bit … however, I’m also a good Canadian and love Queen Elizabeth … ack!) and that he needs to save Mary.  I love his ‘uneasy’ partnership with Geoff in this portion, “he hadn’t intended either Pinchingdale or the tree.”  Then his gallant duel with the Tulip, where he rips his gunshot wound open, and then he guiltily turns back when he realizes that Anne didn’t get out.  Oh, Vaughn.  However, he winds up with his Mary and he’s glad of that, although it also means his children will be Geoff and Letty’s relations.

Anne:  My other ‘difficult heroine’ that I made a vague allusion to a week or so ago.  Her story would probably be a fascinating one as she is quite the complicated woman.  She managed to get herself under the dubious ‘protection’ of the Black Tulip and finally realized that Vaughn wasn’t such a bad option after all.  The amazing part is she is willing to risk her life to see that he is safe.  Is it just more self-interest on her part?  We’ll never know, but she made a very brave move to defy the Tulip the way she did, and she paid the ultimate price for it.

The Black Tulip/St. George:  Well, this was a beautiful move on Lauren’s part, I must admit.  While I feel like I maybe should have seen it coming, based on character moves in ‘Emerald Ring’, I really didn’t.  And to make the spin even better it has nothing to do with the French cause and Bonaparte!  It’s all about Louis and his supposed betrayal of Jamie’s father Bonnie Prince Charlie, absolutely brilliant.  While the Tulip manages to be totally menacing to Mary, and later seems to be beating Vaughn in their duel, it does appear that he died in the fire that brought down Lady Euphemia’s theatre.  Destroyed by his own ‘infernal machine’ and cruelty, poetic justice at its finest.

Colin & Eloise:  Had a lovely date, which included a nice interlude in her very blue hallway, and they seem to be on their way to an actual relationship.  Eloise set Dempster down rather nicely on her last visit to the Vaughn collection and Colin invited her to spend the week with him at Selwick Hall.  After all, there are multitudes of papers left to be combed through, and who better then Eloise?

That pretty much encapsulates the end of Crimson Rose.  Let me know if I missed anything in my summation that you think should have been included.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey and I really look forward to rereading the next books with you all!

Pink IV Dream Casting

Today’s post was written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.

Book series are fickle beasts. You can be reading them, and quite enjoying them, but sometimes you aren’t fully committed… yet. Of the entire Pink Carnation series, I view the previous two volumes as the weakest. Please don’t pelt me with scary balls of pudding tied up in pilfered ribbons! It’s just my personal opinion, and I actually am a little behind in the re-read (ok, you can throw evil darting glances at me here) so this is my opinion from when I re-read them a few years back so I might change my mind (though I doubt it). But here’s the point I’m trying to make… The Seduction of the Crimson Rose was when everything fell into place for me. This was the book that made me realize this was an author whose work I would read whatever they wrote. If an author can take previously aloof and unpalatable characters and make them stars, well, that’s an author I want to read. Go Lauren! It also made me hope that the series would continue, thankfully for us for a further eight volumes! Now to our cast…


I say things like, oh, I always cast the female first, and then of course comes two books back to back where I cast the male lead first. Make a rule for myself and then break it is apparently how I roll. But the truth is, how could I NOT cast Lord Vaughn first I ask you? He’s already been around for a few books, hijacking the plot and stealing our hearts with his snarky ways. There has always been one man in my heart that makes looking bad so damn appealing. That man is James Purefoy. He is able to be menacing yet bring some levity with perfectly timed jokes. The line about the lions in Rome, highlight of season two, easily (mauling lions do so ruin a good procession). Also he looks smashing in Regency clothing. I mean, seriously, look at those cravats in Beau Brummell: This Charming Man! But it’s his roles in shows like Injustice and The Following that bridge the attractive and the menacing snark that makes him my number one choice for Lord Vaughn!


As for Mary Alsworthy, I wanted someone who had the raven haired beauty that the role demands, as well as the ability to look down on those below her and sneer. Also, because I’m OCD like this, I wanted someone whom I thought could believably (age and look wise) be Letty’s sister, forever Bryce Dallas Howard to me. I think that Natalie Dormer is perfect in this regard! Despite actually not truly having the raven locks (she sure fooled us in The Tudors) she looks fabulous with them and is only one year younger then Bryce! Plus, I mean, not to gloat, but seriously, everyone wants her in their projects now since Game of Thrones, and I had her pegged as Mary over five years ago… suck it, Hunger Games! Therefore I submit Natalie and James for your delectation and would love to hear your suggestions. Can I put money on someone suggesting Hugh Laurie?

You can see posts with additional pictures at these links:

Mary Alsworthy played by Natalie Dormer
Lord Sebastian Vaughn played by James Purefoy

Pink IV Week 3 in Review

Will someone please explain to me how it is already the third week of December? I feel like this can’t be possible, and yet here we are. Before I pass you all into Sarah’s capable hands for our Pink IV recap, let me announce the winner of the signed copy of The Firebird: it’s Kathleen Parker! Kathleen, if you will email your address to, we will get your prize in the mail to you.

Thank you all so much for entering and sharing the giveaway, and huge thanks to Susanna for the interview and prize! If you didn’t win, make sure you check back next Monday… there may or may not be another of Susanna’s books up for grabs.

And now, over to Sarah!

CR postcard

Hello all and happy Friday!  By this point in our read we should have finished through Chapter 23, so I’m going to do a recap of what’s happening. Or maybe I should recap what isn’t happening – it would be a much shorter post.  If this book were published in parts and this set of chapters were one part I think it would be called “Revelations and Complications.”

Mary:  Our heroine goes through quite a lot in this portion of the book.  First we have the tediousness of practicing for Lady Euphemia’s play while Vaughn has done a disappearing act; Lauren’s heroes do like to do that don’t they?  Miles did that, too, as did Geoffrey… sorry, rabbit trail.  Any way Mary goes from pining for Vaughn’s company, although she claims to “despise, loath, and revile him,” to angrily confronting him on his disappearance, wherein her deeply hidden hopes of an eventual marriage proposal are smashed to pieces, to fighting the Black Tulip for a pistol in an attempt to save Vaughn’s life.   Then to top it all off, in typical resilient Mary fashion, she manages to bully everyone around her so she can get him home and looked after.  If only she could have fallen in love with someone who is far less trouble, like Mr. St. George.  He seems like such a nice man, and he clearly admires Mary.

Lord Vaughn:  Okay, I’m going to say it. Poor Sebastian.  I think this section of the book, and specifically the scene with Anne at the musicale, is what really endeared him to me.  As become evident at Hyde Park he’s finally found a woman he truly loves and respects, only to have his dead wife suddenly back from the grave, and turning up at the most inappropriate times.  I remember listening to the audio version and this passage stood out so vibrantly: “He knew that expression.  Next would come an innocent flutter of the lashes, followed by a charmingly perturbed expression, as though she were searching for the right words.  And, finally, the long, drawn-out, wheedling rendition of his name.  Sebastian…”  We also get more of an in-depth look at his emotions; he feels deeply, more than he’ll ever admit, for Mary, for Teresa, for everything that happened during the Terror, and much more.  To make matters worse, he’s been mistakenly labeled as the Pink Carnation and shot, so it’s been a rough couple of days for Vaughn.

The Black Tulip:  He’s made his second appearance, if he’s a “he” at all.  I’m still not entirely convinced the spy wasn’t the woman swigging gin and wearing a towering ruin of a bonnet, either a man disguised as a woman or actually a woman; see, complicated.  So the Tulip has reached out, as hoped, to Mary in Hyde Park.  Here’s where things get really interesting, Mary’s test of loyalty is to kill Vaughn since the Tulip is convinced he’s the Pink Carnation.  What really caught my attention here was the fact that Teresa was killed in Ireland for refusing to kill Vaughn!

Jane:  Not one to sit still, the actual Pink Carnation has been doing what she does so well, behind-the-scenes investigating.  She’s checked out Rathbone and, in the process, absolutely ruined one of his experiments.  Unintentional or not it was quite rude of her, really.  This section is also where we learn that the source of Jane and Vaughn’s alliance is none other than Anne, herself.  Vaughn couldn’t stay in France to investigate Anne’s “resurrection,” and the letters being used to blackmail him, so Jane does it for him.  Which brings us to…

Anne:  The return of the prodigal Lady Vaughn. Did anyone see that coming?  After faking her own death while running off with her music master she’s tired of trying to make it on her own and wants to return to her life and her husband.  He, of course, doesn’t want her back but that doesn’t matter to her. She wants to come back as Countess and that’s that in her mind.

We’ve also had St. George continuing to pop up here and there, I love that he tries to “out-Alpha” Vaughn at the musicale; that did not turn out as he expected.   I’m delighted that we’ve seen a little more of some characters from other books, both minor and major.  Mme. Fiorila makes a brief reappearance, much to Vaughn’s relief.  Richard and Miles seem to be heading towards reconciliation and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale is wreaking havoc as always.  Nothing else from Colin and Eloise, they’re still ensconced in their cozy booth at the Greek restaurant with a carafe of red wine, life is good!

Question to ponder:  Anyone else have a complication or revelation that I neglected to mention in these chapters?  Be wary of spoilers from further ahead; only things that have happened in the book up to chapter 23, please!


Pink IV Covers

For the previous books in the Pink series, I’ve been posting the covers of various foreign editions. There were nine covers for Pink I and II and three for Pink III. Once we get to Pink IV, I can only find covers for the American and British editions:

crimson rose    Crimson Rose British cover

The original British cover for Pink IV was very similar to the one that Allison & Busby ultimately used – it just experienced a slight change in the color scheme.  Here is the original cover:

Crimson Rose British cover 1

I like the finalized version with the red accents much better.

I was poking around a library book sale (more on that later) this weekend, and I bought myself a copy of James Conroyd Martin’s Push Not the River. Check out Martin’s cover girl:

push not the river

She looks familiar, doesn’t she? Something about seeing her face repeated on another cover made me curious about her.

Lauren has an interesting post on her site about the original paintings used for all her “fine art” covers. For Pink IV, the painting used in the cover is “Emma, Lady Hamilton as Circe” by George Romney. This painting belongs to the Tate – it was given to the museum in 1945 by Lady Wharton. It’s currently on display. I think I’d rather like to see it. Evidently, Emma sat for a number of paintings for Romney over a period of about nine years, and this particular painting was one of the first. You can see a selection of the paintings on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

emma hart

Emma sounds like quite an interesting woman. Her name at birth was Amy Lyon, and her first job was working as a maid in a brothel. She moved on to be a dancer, actress and model before catching the eye of a wealthy older man who kept her for a few years as a mistress. She evidently had a string of lovers early on which led to the birth of a baby girl in 1782. Rather than marrying her, Emma’s lover at the time passed her off to his much older uncle, Sir William Hamilton. And when I say “passed her off,” she literally had no idea what was happening. She left on a trip to Naples with her lover’s uncle, thinking her lover would join her later for a wedding and European honeymoon. It took her months to realize she had been set up. Emma must have decided marrying a man twice her age might be worth it if she could become “Lady Hamilton” in the bargain. While married to Hamilton, Emma had a prolonged affair with Admiral Nelson, and the two had a baby girl (Horatia – what a name!) in 1801.

It sounds like Emma ran the gauntlet between high living and barely scraping by –the same woman who could claim a close friendship with Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily and threw parties attended by a thousand guests started out as a maid and spent one of the last years of her life in a debtor’s prison. As a teenager, she worked as a maid to actresses in Drury Lane, but later in her life, she was offered a position as a company star by the Royal Opera in Madrid. She reminds me a bit of Amber from Forever Amber, who Sarah referenced in her post last week about The Difficult Heroine.

Anyway, maybe this is only interesting to me, but I think Mary would be pleased to have a survivor like Emma on the cover of her book.

Pink IV Week 2 in Review

recap rose

Happy Friday, everyone!

First item of business: Erin L, you are the Pink IV Giveaway Winner! If you will email your address to, I will get your prize in the mail to you as soon as possible.

How is the Pink IV re-read treating you all? This is actually my first re-reading of this particular book, and I’m pleased to report that I’m enjoying it much more this time around.

Can I just say, I am a little embarrassed that (having read this book and ALL the others, most of them several times), I did not immediately remember that Miss Fustian and Mrs. Fustian are Jane and Miss Gwen. When Lauren brought them on board for the trip to Vauxhall, I thought, “Who are these people?” It took me until the moment where the group is discussing the late Mr. Fustian to realize what was happening.

How about Mary and Vaughn in the Chinese chamber? I love the exchange of Much Ado about Nothing quotes and watching Mary try to process how to handle this extremely different side of Lord Vaughn.

Also, Mary has her first encounter with the Black Tulip at Vauxhall. Since her only experience with spies up to this point is her observations of Richard and Miles, it’s no surprise that this meetings leaves her feeling shaken. There’s no telling what she may have expected, but Mary’s strongest impression of the Black Tulip is that he’s probably not in his right mind. For a girl like Mary who is always thinking about how to hold herself and how she appears to others, she is seriously thrown when the Black Tulip sits just out of her line of vision and holds her so roughly. Since she was still entertaining the possibility that Vaughn might be the Black Tulip, the total contrast between Vaughn’s way of treating her and the Black Tulip’s handling is a shock. It actually reminds me a bit of Amy in her assignation with Georges Marston, expecting her romantic Purple Gentian and getting a drunk who attacks her instead. Mary does a pretty respectable job of keeping her cool, I thought.

And in the modern world, Eloise and Colin are finally, FINALLY going on a date. I think it’s very endearing that Colin is so protective of his sister, but I do think he’s taking it a bit far to jump to the conclusion that Eloise and Nigel Dempster were in cahoots.

What stood out to you in your reading this week?

The Difficult Heroine

Today’s post was written by Sarah.

The time is upon us for a random Pink musing. I admit I had some trouble coming up with what to write about. I considered doing some research on Common Sense societies, or maybe digging into Vauxhall a little and the intriguing time in-between the social seasons that Crimson Rose is set in. Nothing really captured me and inspired me to write. Then, ta-da, riding to the rescue is our dear Bubble Bath Reader herself. She suggested a post Lauren has on her website discussing the Difficult Heroine (you can read her original post here).

Mary is most definitely a difficult, or even anti, heroine. Most readers cannot stand her based on her behaviour in Black Tulip and Emerald Ring. She’s cutting, selfish, vain and conniving in ways that border on Machiavellian. Then, wonder of wonders, she’s the star of her own novel. Really, really, Lauren, what were you thinking? She was thinking that Mary is a fantastic character, that’s what she was thinking! By the end of Crimson Rose, you have either learned to love (or at least respect) Mary or you still can’t stand her. There are very few people who are indifferent to her, just like Vaughn… okay, no rabbit hole of the anti-hero, let’s stick with the women, go away Vaughn!

Another well-known anti-heroine Lauren mentions is Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind. What a story, what a character! Scarlett, in my opinion, is Mary but ramped up about 10 times. I love this early description of her, ”the green eyes in the carefully sweet face were turbulent, willful, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanour.” She is every word I used to describe Mary and then some, and seriously can we talk for just a second about Vivian Leigh’s beautiful portrayal of her in the movie? No one does a resting b*tch-face like Vivian. Again, the more you dig into the book the more you can appreciate Scarlett’s motives. She will do, and just about does, anything to protect her beloved Tara. She also has some redeeming moments, thank goodness (or Margaret Mitchell). I will always respect her for looking after Melanie, despite the fact that Melanie “stole” Ashley. Not that I ever understood Scarlett’s fascination with Ashley, but that’s a different discussion. She’s a brilliant businesswoman who is not afraid of hard work and, much like Mary “she would make an excellent monarch… but no one had had the consideration to provide her with a kingdom.”

There are other anti-heroines mentioned on Lauren’s post: Amber from Forever Amber (haven’t read it, sorry), Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers (love her), Madame Bovary (hated her), and our own Penelope from Blood Lily (who I won’t get into out of respect for our re-read, you’ll just have to wait for her). I’d like to add the Marquise de Montval to this list. I always wanted to know more about her. There is one other difficult heroine I’d like to talk about; Elphaba Thropp from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. If you haven’t read the Oz quartet from Maguire I would recommend them, but be prepared to have your preconceptions rocked. He takes a well-known tale and turns it on its head, then spins it around a ton of times just to confuse everyone. Actually, he does that with all his books, almost ALL of his characters are the antithesis of what we’ve come to expect. Elphaba is no exception. She is born into difficult circumstances and is an outsider from the get-go; she’s GREEN for heaven’s sake! She is in university during a time of great change and political upheaval and she, inadvertently, causes the death of someone she loves dearly. The upshot of all of that is her transformation into the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’. Although I did enjoy the musical, please don’t base everything you know about this character on it, to truly get to know Elphaba (and Galinda and NessaRose) you really need to read the book.

There is, in my opinion, one other anti-heroine in Crimson Rose, but I won’t spoil her for you; although, you may know who I mean.

Who else would you consider to be a difficult heroine, someone you came to like despite her being, shall we say, challenging?

Pink IV Giveaway

crimson rose

Good morning, and happy Monday!

It’s that time again – time to give away a copy of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose signed by Lauren Willig.

To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below by midnight EST on December 12. I will announce the winner on Friday, December 13.

Let’s mix it up a little this time. I always give you a chance to enter your name up to three times by doing each of the following:

  1. Leaving a comment below.
  2. Following the blog.
  3. Posting a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.

This time around, I will give you a FOURTH way to enter the contest. In your comment below, include the name of your favorite Christmas read – I love a good holiday book, and I’m interested to hear what you recommend.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And if you’ve got a Pink lover on your holiday shopping list, make sure you stop by the blog tomorrow for a fun gift idea.

Pink IV Week 1 in Review

Rose background with dropsToday’s post was written by Sarah.

Wow, week one is at an end already. Where did the week/chapters go? Okay, first chapters of Crimson Rose! I always forget how much happens in the beginning of this novel. In the format that Beth used last month (which I really loved), I’m going to try and recap what’s happened in the first 8 chapters.

Lord Vaughn: Our mysterious and complex earl has been enlisted by the Carnation to recruit Mary to their cause. Jane, somewhat, convinced him to use his title as bait and despite informing her of the contrary, and giving himself severe talkings to, Vaughn is quite intrigued by Mary. My favourite from him in the beginning is “’Yet’, my dear Miss Wooliston, is a treacherous jade. She’ll lead you astray if you let her.”

Personal note: it’s mind-blowing to me that, not only does Vaughn know who she is, he continues to work for (he would say with) Jane. For king and country and all that, yawn…

Mary: Although voted “most likely to marry an Earl” three seasons running, she finds herself unmarried still! Sorry, a little bit of Austen crept in there. She’s desperate not to be at the mercy of her younger sister’s (and her thwarted husband’s) charity and accepts Vaughn’s mysterious deal… with stipulations of her own of course. She, as usual, sees something of an opportunity in the first portion of her mission, but it doesn’t quite go as she thought. Vaughn is ever-present it seems.

Personal note: Mary reminds me a little of Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice, very pragmatic and shrewd. It comes down to the fact that there are only so many options for women in their situation and if they can bring a man “up to scratch” they will.

Jane: Currently in England, presumably after Ireland and before returning to France, finds herself in need of someone to get the Black Tulip’s attention and Mary decidedly fits the bill. She also possesses the amazing ability to keep Vaughn engaged enough to convince him to entice Mary.

Aunt Imogen: Can we all just spare a moment of silence to the brilliance of Lauren in creating Lady Cranbourne and the ode Robbie Burns wrote, hailed as “the unpronounceable in praise of the incomprehensible”? I love it!!

We’ve also had our introductions to Lady Hester Standish and Mr. St. George, both of whom promise to be very interesting characters in the future. Especially if we get to see/hear more of Aunt Imogen, Lady Cranbourne and Lady Hester… seriously, who else wants to read that book?

In more modern times, Eloise is buried in the archives of the Vaughn collection and discovering details no one else knows. I have a special appreciation for her randomly meeting up with Colin on the streets (because she, inevitably, gets lost) and her description of him looking like a “Plantagenet monarch” and she “looked like a mugwump.” I laughed so hard my husband told me I wasn’t allowed to read the book in bed anymore… that hasn’t happened, I’m just attempting to control my laughter, not really working. Eloise and Colin are setting off for their first date, anything can happen at this stage.

Introduction to Nigel Dempster: “… you’re also looking for the Pink Carnation…”  I, along with Eloise, don’t like him already.

Questions to ponder: If you’d been in Mary’s place what would you have done, accept your sister’s charity or made “a deal with the devil”?
Coming back to “situational morality,” what do you think of the Common Sense Society, and which side would you take (removing the guillotine from the picture)?

A Rose for Mary Alsworthy

Today’s post was written by Anne, who reviews and gives away books regularly over on The Lit BitchThanks for hanging out with us today, Anne!

rose border

Many of you die hard Pink Carnation fans will undoubtedly notice that flowers play a huge role in the books and are meant to convey some symbolism and foreshadowing in the series and books.

Each character embodies the title flower in some way or another. For me, one of my favorite Pink heroines was Mary Alsworthy from The Seduction of the Crimson Rose.

The rose is not only beautiful and alluring but thorny and at times dangerous to an inexperienced handler. It’s a classic flower long associated with beauty and love. It’s chic, regal, and alluring, while at the same time the thorns remind us of suffering and sacrifice.

What better flower than the red rose to describe Mary Alsworthy? Mary has a reputation as a manipulating temptress… fiery, fierce, unyielding, fearless, ruthless and proud. She is exquisite and alluring – especially to her love interest, Lord Vaughn.

Though she is beautiful, she also makes no apologies for who she is… to her society, she seems like a cold, heartless, and manipulative woman who cares only for herself.

Like the thorns of the rose remind us… Mary has suffered and sacrificed much. Mary’s hopes of eloping with Lord Pinchingdale were ruined when Letty uncovered their plan…now alone with no prospects and her best chance at independence now married to her sister, Mary faces a third season ‘on the shelf’ with Letty and Lord Pinchingdale financing her debutante season.

Like the rose, under all the physical, stunning beauty, there lurks a strength, resolve, and determination in Mary’s character that we haven’t seen in any of the other Pink books up until this point.

The previous three books: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, and The Deception of the Emerald Ring, all feature heroines that are maybe a little rebellious, spunky, sensible, or dutiful.

Carnations symbolize love as well but their ruffly appearance isn’t quite the chic beauty that roses envelope. While tulips symbolize elegance and grace much like Hen in the second Pink book.

The third book is the only Pink book to not feature a flower, but green emeralds often represent hope and Letty is often seen as the level headed heroine with the most hopeful match among the heroines thus far.

Mary is different… she is a thorny beautiful red rose. She is proud, beautiful, and haughty but she is also hard as nails, which is what ultimately draws Lord Vaughn to her.

Lord Vaughn recognizes the strength and determination in Mary and he can’t help but be attracted to a woman who is entirely unyielding, autocratic, and self-serving. She is a woman who can match him wit for wit, strength for strength, will for will. She is his equal, not his inferior.

What I love most about Willig’s choice of the red rose for this books is that the symbolism actually works for both Mary and Lord Vaughn since Lord Vaughn is also attractive and sexy while at the same time often seen as the villain with a thorny exterior.

The red rose and Mary Alsworthy are synonymous with beauty, strength, sacrifice, and of course…

A big thank you to The Bubblebath Reader for allowing me to post a feature for her Pink for All Seasons tour this year!