Pink X Giveaway

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Good morning, Pink friends!  It’s time to give away a signed copy of The Passion of the Purple Plumeria.  I’m switching things up a bit today – normal giveaway rules are out the window!  If you’d like to enter yourself in this giveaway, comment below with your favorite Miss Gwen moment from BEFORE Pink X.  Make sure you choose wisely.  You know Miss Gwen would have some well-chosen words (or a jab with her parasol) about a half-hearted effort.

The giveaway will be open until midnight on Thursday, June 11.  Good luck!

And speaking of giveaways, Lauren has an ARC of The Lure of the Moonflower up for grabs on her site today!  The contest is only open until Wednesday, so skedaddle on over there and enter!  And if you win, when you’re finished reading, will you loan me your copy?

Pink X Week 1 in Review

This post was written by Paige.

PlumeriaSharlene2Graphic by Sharlene

Hello, Everyone! Did you enjoy the first few chapters of Pink X as much as I did? So much happened! This was not my first reread of this book, and I still found myself engrossed and discovering new things this time. I will keep myself focused on a couple of main things that I particularly love about this book.

The number one thing that captured my attention in this section was Miss Gwen. Specifically, the opening line of chapter one: “The spy wore purple.” That whole paragraph scooped me up and gripped me. “Only amateurs wore black. Miss Gwendolyn Meadows knew that the Paris night wasn’t a flat black, but a deep purple, comprised of a hundred shades of shadow.” I could read that a bazillion times. That was a perfect summary of my Miss Gwen and one of my favorite lines ever written. I am not the type to memorize passages from books, but that line is one that I will always remember. The first time I read this opening scene was likely when I knew Miss Gwen was my hero. She was Danger Girl, that Purple Parasol-Wielding Dragon. I loved her.

Then, when she returns triumphantly after evading pursuers by running through alleys, leaping off a balcony, and using her “cane” as a weapon, comes the hint that things may not be all well between Miss Gwen and her charge, Miss Jane Wooliston (known to a select few as The Pink Carnation). And we are given the glimpses of the practically unthinkable – that Miss Gwen was once not Miss Gwen, but a young attractive woman. Something happened that left her dependent upon her family. There is more to this adventurer Miss Gwendolyn Meadows than we know, and that is what we can bet on at this point.

The moment that Colonel Reid first meets Miss Gwen is one that I particularly enjoyed. Can’t you just picture her striding forward like an Amazonian queen, her voice ringing imperiously through the hall? There is no cute-meet for Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid. I have a feeling after getting to know him in these first few chapters that he wouldn’t have had it any other way. She is impressive, yet he is not overcome. He matches her wit for wit. Don’t you love the humorous banter? Who else would dare to wink at Miss Gwen? Who else would want to? Who else would scoff at her being old? Who else would see beyond her carefully cultivated persona? Oh, watch out for your heart, Gwendolyn Meadows. We are all cheering for this shrewd rogue!

Does it get any better than the hero flinging himself in the way of a carriage hurtling towards the heroine, throwing her out of the way of danger, and protecting her by using his own body as a shield? Heavens, no! And that is exactly what Colonel Reid does for Miss Gwen. Hooray, hooray, hooray! How could we do anything but love him? Gwen is already fighting her attraction, but it is inevitable. Yet, there is some backstory I want to find out about on his side, as well. Why does he feel so much as if he has made a bed that he must lie in? Why does he have such an assortment of children, with some being illegitimate?

Not to be outdone, in the modern storyline, Colin and Eloise are starting their search for the lost jewels of Berar, which legend says are hidden at Selwick Hall. What?! And they have to cooperate with the horrible and despicable Jeremy, who is both Colin’s cousin and step-father? Can there really be a Moon of Berar? Something bad has got to be slated to happen down the line. Jeremy is too awful for anything other than that to happen, right?

One of my favorite things about this book is the way that before each chapter there is a related excerpt from The Convent of Orsino, by A Lady. They are brilliant. Does anyone else want to read The Convent of Orsino? What a book. The chaperone is the real heroine of the piece. Sound like anyone we know? Maybe someone with a purple parasol?

What were some of your thoughts as you read this week? Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Welcome Paige, Our Pink X Moderator!

This post was written by Paige, our moderator for the month of June.  Make her welcome, y’all.

PlumeriaSharleneGraphic by Sharlene

Hello, fellow Pink fans! My name is Paige. It is my pleasure to be able to be involved with the read along this month. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria has a special place in my heart because it is the story of Miss Gwen, who is one of my all-time favorite characters.

One of my favorite things about this read along has been getting to meet other readers who love Lauren’s books, and the Pink Carnation series in particular. My story is a bit different than some of the moderators in that I am not a professor of any sort, nor do I have a history or a law degree. I should probably whisper this bit, but I have never attended a book club in real life, and I have never wanted to. While I love to read, I feel awkward discussing books. I get a bit tongue-tied and insecure. It all starts to feel as if I am taking an oral exam; I don’t have that sort of recall or constitution. Yet, when Ashley asked if anyone wanted to participate in this particular “book club,” I could not get to my computer to reply quick enough. There is something about this series that calls even me to action.

I don’t mean to disparage myself, don’t misunderstand. My real point is that there may be others like me that read this. Sometimes I feel the tiny little bittest (I made that “bittest” up) as if I may not be quite smart enough to be part of all of this. I haven’t even been to England, for heaven’s sake. And then I laugh in my obnoxious cackling way, remind myself that it is fiction, poke myself with the figurative purple parasol, and get over it.

I first came across the series by serendipity sometime while walking out of a chain bookstore with my family. It was roughly a decade ago. I was on my way out the door when the cover of a copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe caught my eye. I returned for it the next day, and upon realizing it was part of a series, also purchased The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

I could make a joke about “The Series That Was Written Just For Me.” I know that so many others feel the same. It is more than a joke. This series was written just for us. Perhaps Lauren didn’t know that she was sitting down to write things that would make specifically me cry and cheer and become a Pink Fanatic. Yet, she could hardly have written a more personal series had she done just that. I am sure there must be a great quote out there about the personal’s relationship to the universal, because we all feel it about this series. That is what we all feel about great works of art. Yes, I just called this series a great work of art. It is to me.

One thing that I will share because it may be something that helps explain why I love this series, because it may be the only time that I am able to express it to Lauren in a public sort of way, and because someone who needs to read it may read it. About a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I discovered these books during my recovery. There was a time when I was not sure how much of my sight I would recover or how much I would recover at all. I cannot, and so I will not, attempt to express how much these books have meant to me in this post. There will more time for that over the next few weeks.

I am looking so forward to rereading this gem of a book with you. Beyond anything, I want to thank Ashley for this fabulous project. I want to thank her for her generosity in opening it up to strangers. And I want to thank her for reminding me that the purpose is to keep this fun!

The reading planned reading schedule for this month is:

Week 1: Prologue – Ch. 5

Week 2: Ch. 6 – Ch. 12

Week 3: Ch. 13 – Ch. 19

Week 4: Ch. 20 –Ch. 26

Yes, my favorite color is purple! Happy reading everyone!

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria

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Welcome to June, and welcome to our month of reading The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (AKA Pink X).

Those of you who have been following Lauren and the Pink series for a few years may remember that Pink X was originally going to be about Kat Reid and Tommy Fluellen.  And then, in September 2011, Lauren made two major announcements:

  1. After Pink X, there would be two Pink books left in the series.
  2. Miss Gwen had barged into Pink X and demanded that Lauren tell her story.

I have to admit, I experienced momentary panic on both accounts.

Only two more Pink books?  But… but why?  Couldn’t Pink go on forever?  I really did want that Kat and Tommy book, and there were other characters that Lauren had SURELY written into previous books intending to make them heroines later, and how were Colin and Eloise going to find a lost Indian treasure and get married and live happily ever in only three (including Pink X) more books?

And instead of Kat and Tommy, Pink X was going to be about Miss Gwen?  Miss Gwen who was ancient?  Miss Gwen who was prickly and and rude and fun for comic relief but terrifying to imagine as a heroine?

Breathe, Ashley – just breathe.  After several cups of tea and opportunities to mull these things over, I felt calmer.  Surely the fact that Lauren was publishing other, non-Pink books was a good sign.  Wouldn’t I enjoy watching Lauren explore another time and place?  I didn’t want her to feel stuck in Napoleonic France forever.  Miss Gwen as a heroine was still a hard sell for me, but I decided to trust that Lauren would tell me a good story.  And when Pink X was released, Lauren proved that my trust in her was not misplaced.  She proved it again with The Ashford Affair and That Summer.  Basically, watching Lauren branch out, both by taking her series in a direction I wasn’t expecting and by exploring new stories outside the Pink universe, showed me that great things happen when I let go of my expectations and just plan to enjoy the ride.

So now, we dive in to Pink X together.  On Wednesday, I will introduce your moderator for the month, and she will share the reading schedule for June.  For now, let’s begin with Lauren’s Pink X recap:

Who: Miss Gwendolyn Meadows and Colonel William Reid
Where: Bath
When: Spring, 1805
What: Take two missing girls, one parasol-wielding spinster turned spy, one retired colonel, add a dash of adventure and stir. When Lizzy Reid and Agnes Wooliston disappear from their Bath boarding school, Miss Gwendolyn Meadows is on the case– but is she prepared to collaborate with the irritatingly charming Colonel William Reid?
Historical Cameos: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (aka Talleyrand), Napoleon’s foreign minister.

And we begin back at Selwick Hall with Colin and Eloise.

“I seriously doubt the lost jewels of Berar are under your bath mat.”

Happy reading!