Pink X: Ask the Author

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Alright – Miss Gwen had her chance to ask the author of the Pink Carnation series her questions. Now it’s your opportunity! What do you want to know about William, Gwen, and the revelation that Colin is descended from the Selwicks AND the Meadows-Reids? Lauren has graciously agreed to pop by today and answer any questions that you leave in the comments section. So ask away! But form a line and keep things orderly, or Miss Gwen will be reigning us in with that parasol of hers.

As always, the Pink Fairy will be awarding a lucky commenter on today’s post with a themed Pink X mug.

Thanks again to Lauren for hanging out with us, and to all of you for the Pink love and enthusiasm.

Pink X: Dream Casting

Welcome back, Miss Eliza!

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Miss Gwen might be the only character I feared to get wrong. She does have a way with a parasol and I have very bruisable flesh. Unlike some other readers I had always pictures Miss Gwen in her late 30s or her early 40s, so I didn’t have this presumption working against me. My first choice years ago was Maggie O’Neill because of her wonderful job in the Billie Piper version of Mansfield Park. While a fabulous actress, she is a little too blond and busty, and has a tendency to be the killer on any murder mystery she’s in, which might actually delight Miss Gwen, but I felt it just wouldn’t do. Then when I first read The Passion of the Purple Plumeria I started to think that Lucy Cohu would be great. She’s another fabulous actress who I was drawn too because of the denied passion of Gwen calling out to other similar roles she has had, but, in the end, too short and too busty. Knowing the re-read was happening I started to become a little desperate. Who would be Miss Gwen!?!

I started to think about what defines Miss Gwen. She has a core of iron, as if her backbone was made of the steel her parasol conceals. She has to be fabulous with the delivery of a put down. She has to have wit, height, yet a secret vulnerability. Going with these traits I started to think Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, might work. Seriously, watch how she can just deliver a smack down without even saying a word, even if Miss Gwen says she’s never mastered the art of the single raised eyebrow I think we could let it slide. Though while watching a recent episode right when I had started to re-read The Passion of the Purple Plumeria I began to second guess myself. Later that night I was curled in bed reading and I was struck by how much Miss Gwen reminded me of the Queen of Thorns, as played by Diana Rigg, on Game of Thrones.  I thought was picturing a younger Diana, but then I realized it wasn’t Diana at all, it was Diana’s daughter Rachael Stirling; who most people know because of her stellar work on The Bletchley Circle. She’s elegant, witty, tall, has a husky voice, and has somehow become the perfect actress for this role in my mind. Therefore, despite much thought and much backtracking, I have found my Miss Gwen. I hope you approve, she might have a few choice words if you don’t.

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As for William… I got preoccupied with his red hair, so much so that there was literally a ginger parade of actors going through my head. Tony Curran, Toby Stephens, James Cosmo, on and on, but all were too young or too old or just plain wrong, despite all being amazing talents I might add. I was so caught up on hair that I forgot that hair can be dyed. Duh.  So once I stopped trying to cast by hair and instead cast by character I instantly knew who Colonel William Reid was. He was Anthony Stewart Head who played Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The reason I believe Tony is perfect is because of his acting range, he can do comedy, drama, singing, whatever you have, he can do, and do it riding a horse. More importantly, he has this inner mirth that is infectious. When he smiles and his eyes start to crinkle at the edges and then he tilts his head back to laugh, I just see the similarities to William and know that no one else would do William justice, he’s a likeable rogue. Plus, can I get a hell yeah for how well he’s aged? Rarely have I ever wanted the villain to win on Warehouse 13, but Paracelsus can win any day with me.

Miss Gwendolyn Meadows played by Rachael Stirling
Colonel William Reid played by Anthony Head

Pink X Week 4 in Review

This is, somehow, Paige’s last post for Pink X.  In addition to sharing your thoughts about the end of the book, please join me in saying a big THANK YOU to Paige for her guidance through this month.  She has done a great job!

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Happy Friday, everyone! Doesn’t it seem impossible that this is the final recap for The Passion of the Purple Plumeria? These past four weeks and 400-plus pages of this novel have flown by. It has been my favorite reread of this book, and that is because I was able to share the experience with fellow Pink fans. Reading is typically a solitary adventure and I am naturally a bit of a loner. The fact that I am typing this as part of a group reread in a public forum speaks to how much I love Pink and how much this series has meant for so many of us. For different reasons, it has touched us enough to reread these books and discuss them with “virtual” strangers. It has been great becoming acquainted during this read along. I am fond of the discussions that we have had over the past 10 months, and I am looking forward to more as we move into Pink XI and XII.

As I was reading these final chapters, the highlight for me was the reappearance of familiar characters. I loved seeing Amy and Richard, Miles and Henrietta, and Stiles again! For real, as soon as I read anything about floppy blond hair or ginger biscuits I get extremely excited. When the Purple Gentian himself shows up, forget about it, I practically swoon. How about you? Who were you most excited to see again?

The thing that makes this so huzzah-worthy is that it is done in such a natural way. Of course, Selwick Hall would be the logical place to run into Richard and Amy, and the characters had such a plausible reason for going there. And, of course, Dorrington Court is practically in the neighborhood, certainly on the way to Selwick Hall in Sussex if one was traveling in a carriage from Brighton and had to find a shortcut due to being attacked by brigands. It is gloriously perfect. There is no stretching of plot and no gratuitous characters showing up to be scene hogs. There was a purpose for everyone to have been there. Clearly, we want to see our beloved characters again, whenever we can. I should probably put my fan girl pom-poms away, but Lauren did this so cleverly. And a spy school! In books about spies! The possibilities are endless.

What did you think about the reappearance of those earlier characters? Did Lauren not get them perfectly? In a version of Dream Casting, what character(s) would you most like to see again?

Personally, I am tickled and delighted that Colin is also descended from Miss Gwen, and that Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid’s youngest daughter is named Plumeria and marries Richard’s son. I am delighted that the copy of Convent of Orsino is Plumeria’s tower and holds the jewels of Berar for Colin and Eloise…and Jeremy. I particularly like this quote, “Colin’s ancestors, like all avid readers, were book double stackers.” Hello! Can we get double stacker tee shirts or something? I always thought the double stacking was my own little secret, but now I am part of a cool tribe!

I hope that you have an excellent weekend! Next week, we have Miss Eliza’s Dream Casting on the 29th, so get your casting lists together so we can have Pink Fight Club, ha ha ha. Then, on the 30th we have Ask the Author with Lauren!

Pink X: Two Rogues Together

This post was written by Paige.

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Hello everyone! I was talking with Ashley about some ideas and she reminded me about Lauren’s post on her website about breaking the rules as an author. That post is here if you want to take a look. I am so grateful that Lauren broke the “rules” when she made Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid the lead characters in Pink X. I tend to like rule breakers, at least when the rule breaking results in such an engaging story as The Passion of the Purple Plumeria. The biggest convention that is broken is that both Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid are middle-aged. It is still not common for both the heroine and the hero to be middle-aged, particularly in a swashbuckling adventure. I am going on the assumption that everyone finds Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid as fabulous as I do, but is there anyone that did not enjoy the age aspect?

Gwen is 45 and William is 54. They have lived a lot before they find each other. They each have a certain amount of “baggage” that they carry with them into their relationship. Obviously, every character carries hang-ups and baggage. In this story, though, the characters are aware of their baggage from their youth. William and Gwen have each had heartache and personal trauma. In their own way, each of them blames themselves for poor choices made in their youth, and even things that they were not responsible for. Though they know themselves well, they are hesitant due to self-perceptions.

I wonder whether the 20-something year old Gwen would have fallen for the younger William, had their paths crossed, assuming they were both available? What do you think? Gwen has described herself at that age as being sarcastic and spoiled and willful, to a degree that is not tempered with the wisdom of experience. William has described himself as being a brash peacock as a younger man. How has the maturity that comes with time and age done for Gwen and William?

I like the image of Gwen and William, two rogues and adventurers, going forward together. Both of them possessing a fierce sense of honor and loyalty. Their past experiences have made them more appreciative of each other. As William reflects, “Odd the twists and turns through which one wandered to come to where one was. Right now, all the reversals, all the disappointments and missteps, felt like nothing but a prelude to this, this moment, this bed, this woman.”

This was meant as a jest, but I think that this is not a bad way to woo Gwen: “Come bicker with me and be my love.” There is no foolery and no fustian about it. Having read their story, there is much between the words. They are a true duo. Where one sword goes, so does the other. They are not young, perhaps, but they have much to share with the “youngsters.”

Jane in Pink X

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Good morning!

I’ve been enjoying reading Paige’s recaps and the conversations that everyone is having about these last few chapters of The Passion of the Purple Plumeria. It seems like a lot of us were really struck by how much Jane has been withholding from Miss Gwen and the ways that this revelation affected our plucky heroine. I remember reading this section for the first time and being surprised and (okay, nobody throw anything at me) a little disappointed. Jane seemed so cold! Coming right on the heels of a pretty definitive brush-off when Augustus tried to declare himself, my affection for Jane wavered. This made me very, very nervous.

Taking yet another trip through Lauren’s Pink archives calmed me down a bit. Two years ago, when Pink X was in the pre-publication stages, Lauren shared a “mega-outtake” of the book on her site. This outtake was a big chunk of Purple Plumeria’s Chapter Nine, and it was written from Jane’s perspective. Evidently, Lauren’s original plan was to have several chapters in Pink X written from Jane’s point of view, but then she realized that having Jane’s voice in the mix took the focus away from Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid.

Having read the outtake, I agree with Lauren’s choice, but I’m also relieved. Thanks to that outtake and the excerpt of Pink XII at the end of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, I’m feeling much more sanguine about Jane. I’m confident that Jane’s story is going to be a great one, and that some of her actions that seemed questionable when we saw them through our other heroines’ eyes will be clarified. Basically, I can’t wait for August.

What do you all think?

Pink X Week 3 in Review

This post was written by Paige.

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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!

Another Visit to Lauren’s Pink X Archives

This post was written by Paige.

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Hello, fellow Pinkophiles! I am going to make a wild guess that like me most of you have spent hours reading through all of the great things on Lauren’s website. I was recently looking at some of the Plumeria features again and one of the things that tickled my fancy was the “Ask Miss Gwen” post where Lauren encouraged readers to submit questions that they would like to ask Miss Gwen. The post was written prior to the publication of Plumeria, and I find it fun to read the questions now in retrospect. So many of the questions were addressed either in the body of the storyline or were incorporated into the Readers Guide at the end of the book – “An Interview With The Author of the Convent of Orsino or How Not to Interview Miss Gwen.”

It is a good reminder of how much we learned about Miss Gwen in this novel and how differently our perceptions of her were in the first nine books. It also highlights Lauren’s authentic and generous interactions with her readers. The published “interview” in the guide is amazing perfection. It isn’t a surprise that Lauren is clever and witty, but the interview is entertaining and perfectly channels Miss Gwen. We laugh and learn a lot from this interview. I am sure that it is difficult to write something that seems so effortless and is so spot-on.

Personally, the reticule grenade section was particularly enjoyable for me. I also enjoyed hearing Miss Gwen tell why she has a penchant for purple. The reason is so obvious that I should have known all along; I have heard of “imperial purple” and I can’t imagine her settling for a color of lesser rank. I intentionally used the word “hearing” because I did clearly hear this interchange between Miss Gwen and LW as I was reading. It was a perfect script. This was my kind of Reader’s Guide!

One of Miss Gwen’s responses particularly struck me. In her Miss Gwen way, she pronounced, “Any man can wield a length of steel. So few can turn a proper phrase.” Does this not describe Colonel Reid as well as the basis of their mutual attraction? Although she was referencing herself, I am absolutely struck by how appropriate that describes Colonel Reid. Both Gwen and William have shown without a doubt that they can wield a length of steel and turn a proper phrase.

On the human-interest front, Miss Gwen neatly avoided directly answering the question of whether there had been anyone in her life between Timothy Fitzgerald and Colonel Reid, but she did state that a lady never seduces and tells. And how about that mention by LW of the strange rumors about Miss Gwen and Talleyrand? This certainly opens up the possibility that Miss Gwen, with her penchant for disguises, may have used flirtation and feminine wiles for the good of the cause. At least, that is what I think, but how about you?

Did any of you happen to have responded to that original post on Lauren’s website asking for questions? Now that we know more about Miss Gwen, are there any questions you wish you could now ask her in a follow-up interview (and do you have any guesses on how she would answer those questions)? I have to wonder if she would repeat her jumping on the settee in Madame Oprah’s salon, or whether Miss Gwen would deign to ever do another interview.

On Friday we will have a recap and discussion of chapters 13-19. Have an enjoyable week and happy reading!

Miss Gwen’s Literary Heritage

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I was poking around the archives on Lauren’s website a while ago, and I came across her post discussing the literary lineage of Miss Gwen. Evidently, Lauren was asked on a fairly regular basis if Miss Gwen was based on anyone that she knew. So Lauren decided to let us in on the inspiration behind our Pink X heroine. She lists these characters as her primary inspiration for Miss Gwendolyn Meadows:

  1. Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones from Judith McNaught’s Almost Heaven
  2. Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters’ series beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank
  3. Beatrice Poole from Amanda Quick’s With This Ring
  4. Jacqueline Kirby from Elizabeth Peters’ series beginning with The Seventh Sinner

I’ve read books from both of the Elizabeth Peters series. I absolutely adored Amelia Peabody. Miss Gwen’s way of thinking, speaking, and relating to her hero are all very reminiscent of Amelia. And, as Lauren points out, Gwen inherited her penchant for accessorized weaponry from Amelia. If you haven’t tried this series, I highly recommend it!

I also read one of Peters’ Jacqueline Kirby books, but in this case… I was underwhelmed. I will say, in Peters’ defense, I picked up a copy of Naked Once More without having read the first three books in the series. I didn’t even know it WAS a series. So my lack of enthusiasm for Jacqueline probably stems from my nonexistent knowledge of her previous exploits. I do recognize that Lauren could easily have drawn inspiration for Miss Gwen’s larger than life personality from Jacqueline, and I’m thinking now that I should probably pick up a copy of The Seventh Sinner and see how I like it.

What about you? Have you read the stories of any of Miss Gwen’s literary ancestresses? Or do you have other characters in mind that remind you of Miss Gwen?

Pink X Week 2 in Review

Good morning, and happy Friday!  Before we get down to business, we have a winner for the signed copy of Pink X: Debra Callaway.  Debra, if you will email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will get your prize in the mail to you.  Thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite Miss Gwen moments!  And speaking of our heroine, I will let Paige take over from here with her Pink recap.

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Hello again, everyone! I suspect you might have found this week’s reading as captivating as I did. There was so much that happened in chapters 6-12! I found myself doing most of my reading for this section on my Kindle, and I found myself doing a lot of highlighting.

I have always enjoyed the modern Colin and Eloise story. I particularly like how the Colin and Eloise storyline continues throughout the series and also how it frames the historical storylines. I am quite attached to them and feel a vested interest in their relationship. Eloise has just had the unpleasant realization that Colin may have some neuroses, and she may be helping to reinforce them. Eloise and Colin spend a lot of time and attention on Colin’s family history. Now that Colin’s Aunt, Mrs. Selwick-Alderly, has pointed out that Colin can’t make Selwick Hall a tribute to his father, Eloise considers what her inadvertent role might have been in keeping Colin tied to Selwick Hall.  Furthermore, Colin and Eloise have still not meaningfully discussed what will happen with their relationship once Eloise leaves England to go back to America in two months. Mrs. Selwick-Alderly has now manipulated the situation so that Jeremy will not only be driving Colin and Eloise back to Selwick Hall, but he will be staying there with them while they join forces and cooperate on finding the legendary lost jewels of Berar. With Jeremy around, who knows when they will ever get a chance to have a meaningful discussion?

Speaking of Mrs. Selwick-Alderly, I continue to find her fascinating. Eloise refers to her as a fairy godmother Obviously, she was instrumental in not only giving Eloise access to the family archives so that she could continue her Pink Carnation research, but also in doing some matchmaking for Colin and Eloise. Additionally, she always seems to know more than she reveals. I think of her as being like the sassy Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella fairy godmother. Sometimes, I think she is a bit like Miss Gwen. She has something in her voice that quells even Jeremy, and she says things majestically, similar to Miss Gwen. Then again, Eloise observes that she is “always at her most dangerous when she was at her most serene,” which reminds me of Jane.  Whatever the case may be, she is clearly a kind, shrewd, and strong woman. I was secretly hoping that she was going to be the leader of some modern day espionage ring.  Similar to Eloise, I now see a spy in every Selwick!

Mrs. Selwick-Alderly revealed that Colonel Reid’s youngest daughter married Richard’s son! Can you even begin to imagine that wedding and reception? Or the family events and occasions throughout the years? Another piece of key information she imparted was that the clue to the missing jewels was in Miss Gwen’s book, The Convent of Orsino, which had originally been titled The Perils of Plumeria. Finally, Eloise knows who Plumeria was! We left off with Colin and Jamie, I mean Jeremy, beginning to at least speak with each other. I really want Coln and Eloise to talk and get things all out in the open, how about you?

Back in 1805, things have gotten intense with Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid. During the five days that Miss Gwen spends tending Colonel Reid’s wound and nursing him back to health, they become William and Gwen to each other. William is delirious with fever and in his hallucinations he thinks Gwen is Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty and good fortune. I thought that the dream sections were a clever way to both show some of their deeper character attributes as well as some more of their backstories. I also thought it was a feasible way for them to end up cuddling on the same bed one night. Did this work well as a story element for you? What about the next morning, when Miss Gwen is horrified to wake up next to a “naked” man with his arm around her and tries to reconcile that action with her image of herself? They go back to being The Colonel .and Miss Gwen to each other, which I found heartbreaking, although understandable considering the information that we now know about Gwen’s past and her emotional defense mechanisms. She believes that the only thing constant about the male sex is their inconstancy. When in doubt, she resorts to sarcasm, and right now Miss Gwen is starting to have many doubts about who she is, I think. The girl she thought was long gone, the girl she tells herself is long gone, is starting to show herself. Miss Gwen wants to comfort Colonel Reid, but she stifles the urge and convinces herself that she cannot afford to be incautious. We know better, don’t we?

The Chevalier de la Tour d’Argent is causing some confusion for Miss Gwen as well as for me. What is going on with Jane and The Chevalier? He is flirting with her, and she appears to be flirting back. Miss Gwen is convinced that this flirting is beyond what Jane has typically done in the past as part of the Pink Carnation duties. Jane only admits to wanting to keep her enemy close. At this point in the story, I am not feeling confident of that. Miss Gwen has worked with Jane closely for the previous two years and has known her for most of her life; the two of them have a special bond. Wouldn’t Miss Gwen know if something was unusual about Jane’s actions? Why does she have a “slight sense of impending doom?” I know that I don’t like or trust the Chevalier. I am glad that Jane is suggesting that they invite Colonel Reid to also accompany them to the opera. Let’s let Miss Gwen pretend that the only reason she wants him to be invited is so he can keep an eye on Jane while Miss Gwen checks Fiorila’s dressing room.

My favorite quote during this section was Jane telling Miss Gwen, “You yourself once told me to keep one’s enemies close enough to poke with a parasol.” I like that. Did any quotes stick out to you this week? What about the chapters would you like to discuss?

Have a wonderful Friday and a fabulous weekend!

Swashbuckling Heroines

This post was written by Paige.

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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!