Pink II Week 4 in Review

BT postcard

Today’s post was written by Erin, and the graphic was created by Sharlene.

Well Pink Fans, this is the last recap for The Masque of the Black Tulip, and we had quite a bit happen in the last 8 chapters. When we left Hen and Miles, he was just about to carry his bride over the threshold. Well suffice it to say that they get let in the house and Miles goes directly upstairs to find a bedroom and commence the wedding night. So the next morning Miles goes to the war office and finds out Henrietta is in grave danger because her contact at the ribbon shop has turned up in the Thames, and that is never a good thing. In the meantime, Henrietta is putting together some random thoughts and figures out who the Black Tulip really is. Of course she decides to investigate without letting Miles know where she is going, but he gets there eventually.

So we find out that the Black Tulip is really Theresa Ballinger, The Marquise de Montval, who in turn thinks that The Pink Carnation is Turnip Fitzhugh. Poor Reggie –must have been all those waistcoats. So an epic fight commences and Miles shows up after stopping by Vaughn’s to accuse him of taking Hen and takes on four guys at once (not bad!). Henrietta takes out the Black Tulip with her bucket of ashes, and Theresa is captured. Enter Lord Vaughn to save the day, or not. Turns out his suspicious behavior is actually caused by the fact that his wife is still alive, and he was attempting to court Henrietta. Miles ends up telling Hen he loves her in a roundabout way and she tells him that she loves him. Best place for declarations of love: the parlor of a French Spy where there has just been a beat down. It fits for them though. Lord Vaughn offers to take the Black Tulip to the war office so the “Lovebirds” can get home. Miles and Hen arrive at Loring House to see that Hen’s parents have arrived and are not happy about the circumstances of their marriage – not the marriage itself, as they are thrilled to have Miles officially in the family. Everything is worked out, of course, and just when the two believe they are alone, Geoff arrives just in time to interrupt. We learn that he has a special mission ahead and there is the next book.   Geoff leaves and downstairs, in the servants’ hall, the word passed around that the master had been seen carrying his wife up the stairs… again.

The book ends as it began with Eloise. She is in Colin’s Library at Selwick Hall and has just discovered that the Black Tulip escaped and was last seen heading to Ireland. Unfortunately, Colin has some sort of emergency and Eloise has to depart in 15 minutes. Colin drives her to the train and offers to pay her fare, which she does not appreciate and there is no mention of the almost-kiss from him. He does offer to call her and go for drinks when he arrives back in London and Eloise is immediately dreaming of romantic dinners for two when she realizes that she neither gave nor received any number or email address. He could track her down via his aunt or Selena via Pammy, but we shall see. “Leaning one cheek against the windowpane, I wondered who would resurface first. Colin? Or the Black Tulip?”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is The End. I just wanted to say thank you for reading along with me this month. It has been a pleasure to guest blog The Masque of the Black Tulip.

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to Erin for being the moderator for the month of October.  Remember, Lauren Willig will be stopping by tomorrow for Ask the Author II.  If you have questions about Pink II, she’ll be happy to answer them.  See you tomorrow!

Pink II: An Alternate Version of Chapter 3

I’m handing this post off to Erin, who is leading us through Pink II.  Enjoy!


Happy Wednesday!

So I hope everyone is enjoying reading The Masque of the Black Tulip. I have been so excited to re-read Pink II that I am having a hard time keeping myself in check and not blasting thorough it. I will be doing my first recap of the book on Friday of the first 11 chapters. But today, I thought I would give you all a little treat; there is a different chapter 3 to Pink II that was cut from the manuscript before publication.

In chapter 2, we learn that a French spy has been sent to England to discover who the Pink Carnation is. In both the bonus chapter 3 and the actual chapter 3 in the book, we learn that the nefarious French spy is none other than The Black Tulip – dum dum dummm. The difference in the chapters is who is telling us. Here is the link to Lauren’s site so you can read the different chapter 3…

What did you think? Should it have remained or do you like the published version better?

A Twist in the Usual Top Five Friday

On Monday of this week, author and editor William Giraldi wrote an article for the New Republic, and he decided to spend his time and energy slamming women who read romance novels. He judges all romance novel readers by the standard of Fifty Shades of Grey, and he proceeds to spend his entire article explaining exactly why that makes us all stupid, pathetic, middle class white women with disappointing sex lives and overweight husbands. I’m not kidding. He really does say that. Twice.

I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey. I probably won’t, because it doesn’t really appeal to me. But I have at least twenty friends who have read it, and I think Giraldi would be shocked (and probably a bit disappointed) to know that they are all intelligent, productive members of their community. They also read other books. Lots of them. Painting all romance readers with the same brush and implying that we’re all brainless morons who have decided to use Fifty Shades as a self-help book is a truly shocking display of ignorance.

Here are some other gems from Giraldi’s article that really stood out to me:

  1. “[R]omance novels, like racists, tend to be the same wherever you turn.”  Not all romance novels are alike.  Romance Writers of America lists seven romance subgenres on its website, and GoodReads has a staggering 186 pages of lists devoted to different types of romance novels.  This is a genre that contains everything from Jane Austen to Diana Gabaldon.  Also, that’s a pretty offensive metaphor, Mr. Giraldi.
  1. “Romance novels… teach a scurvy lesson: enslavement of the passions is a ticket to happiness.”  I think Elizabeth Bennett and Scarlet O’Hara would both be very surprised to hear that the point of their novels is to teach women that the only way to be happy is to have sex. Actually, now that I think about it, Elizabeth would probably have a terrible fit of the giggles, and Scarlet would just scratch Giraldi’s eyes out.
  1. At least people are reading. You’ve no doubt heard that before. But we don’t say of the diabetic obese, At least people are eating.” Just wow. Giraldi really has a fixation about fat people. Also, is he seriously comparing the effects of reading romance novels to a disease? That’s how I read it. I don’t think I’m wrong.

So what advice does Giraldi have for us, the sad, sappy, unintelligent readers of romance novels? Read Clarissa. Again, I am not kidding. If you haven’t read it, Clarissa is a story about a naive girl who thinks she has found the man of her dreams, but he tricks her into running away with him to live in a brothel. She dies. This, my friends, is what Giraldi thinks will be good for our souls, which are so clearly crying out to be educated about what happens to women who have the audacity to follow their heart.

Mr. Giraldi, I don’t know what your goal was for this article or what your motiviation is.  I don’t know if a romance novel reader ran over your dog with her car, or if a hardback copy of Gone with the Wind fell on your toe one day, or if you believe that your brand of shaming will turn people into avid readers of your novels rather than romances. All I do know is that you are entitled to have any opinion you like about the romance genre – it won’t change my mind, and it probably won’t change the minds of thousands of women who, as you point out in your article, buy 46% of all mass-market paperbacks sold in the USA.

In honor of the romance novels that I have unapologetically loved for years and that have enriched my reading life, here are my top five favorite romance novels. They fall into all sorts of other categories as well – they are historical fiction, mystery, and magical realism. But they are romance novels, and I am not embarrassed to say that I love them or to recommend them to you whole-heartedly, because they are entirely worthwhile.

pavilions 1. The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye.
From the book jacket: When The Far Pavilions was first published nineteen years ago, it moved the critic Edmund Fuller to write this: “Were Miss Kaye to produce no other book, The Far Pavilions might stand as a lasting accomplishment in a single work comparable to Margaret Mitchell’s achievement in Gone With the Wind.”From its beginning in the foothills of the towering Himalayas, M.M. Kaye’s masterwork is a vast, rich and vibrant tapestry of love and war that ranks with the greatest panoramic sagas of modern fiction.The Far Pavilions is itself a Himalayan achievement, a book we hate to see come to an end. it is a passionate, triumphant story that excites us, fills us with joy, move us to tears, satisfies us deeply, and helps us remember just what it is we want most from a novel.
 winter sea  2. The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley.
From the book jacket: History has all but forgotten…In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…
 masque  3. The Masque of the Black Tulip, by Lauren Willig.
From the book jacket: “The Masque of the Black Tulip opens with the murder of a courier from the London War Office, his confidential dispatch for the Pink Carnation stolen. Meanwhile, the Black Tulip, France’s deadliest spy, is in England with instructions to track down and kill the Pink Carnation. Only Henrietta Selwick and Miles Dorrington know where the Pink Carnation is stationed. Using a secret code book, Henrietta has deciphered a message detailing the threat of the Black Tulip. Meanwhile, the War Office has enlisted Miles to track down the notorious French spy before he (or she) can finish the deadly mission. But what Henrietta and Miles don’t know is that while they are trying to find the Black Tulip (and possibly falling in love), the Black Tulip is watching them.”
 spear  4. A Spear of Summer Grass, by Deanna Raybourn.
From the book jacket: Paris, 1923
The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savanna manor house until gossip subsides.
Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.
Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming—yet fleeting and often cheap.
Amidst the wonders—and dangers—of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for—and what she can no longer live without.
 girl  5. The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen.
From the book jacket: Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.


Never let anyone make you feel ashamed to read what you love. Happy Friday.