Pink V Week 4 in Review


Somehow, it is already time for our last Pink V recap.  Where did January go?

When we last left Turnip and Arabella, Turnip was asking Arabella to dance at the Epiphany Eve ball.  He whisks her away before Aunt Osborne has a chance to ruin everything by misplacing her shawl, smelling salts, or common sense.  As they dance, Turnip is right on the verge of declaring himself when Arabella has a Major Realization.  She knows where the list is!

Before she can explain herself, Darius Danforth announces that the Dowager Duchess (what’s with all the alliteration here?) has declared that every able bodied man should head for the West Wood for “some Epiphany Eve ritual involving gins, ciders, and a band of overexcited yokels.”  Turnip would much rather stay with Arabella, but he isn’t exactly given a choice!  He’s been dancing around telling Arabella he loves her all night – veiled references to flavors of jam and all that – but when he realizes he’s going to have to leave her for a bit, he gets straight to the point and kisses her.

After all the men depart for the Epiphany tree, Arabella makes her way straight to her room to see if she’s right about the list.  And she is!  It’s been in the pocket of her school uniform all along.  Huzzah, Arabella!  The downside – she ignored Turnip’s advice about staying with the group and finds herself all alone staring down Catherine Carruthers with a gun.

Did anyone else do a bit of a double-take when they realized that Catherine was the “bad guy” in this book?  It does boggle the mind.  Homegirl is a teenager.  A silly, immature teenager who is petulant that her parents are going to marry her off to an admittedly ancient aristocrat.  Yes, she snuck out of school repeatedly, eloped with Darius Danforth, and communicated with him illicitly through a series of pudding messages and journal placements, but all those things seem like small potatoes compared with pointing a gun at Arabella’s head.

But when we learn the truth, suddenly Catherine as the antagonist seems more plausible.  Catherine is not a deadly French spy or a criminal mastermind – she’s a sneaky, spoiled brat who is used to a certain lifestyle and willing to blackmail people to maintain it.  Now that she’s married to Darius, she knows she can’t count on her parents to support her financially once they learn the truth, so she and Darius have been selling secrets to make themselves some cash.  As she’s explaining this and backing Arabella towards a very high window, enter Turnip.  With a pudding.

Turnip and Arabella make quite a team, don’t they?  One minute, Catherine has the gun and all the advantages, and the next, she and Darius are both out cold and trussed on the floor thanks to a pudding, some bed-hangings, and a few formidable punches.  I love this scene because it’s dramatic and funny at the same time, and because I love the way that Turnip and Arabella finally announce their feelings for each other.  Arabella’s lines are so perfect here: “I love you.  I want to prowl castles with you and celebrate Christmas with you and get annoyed with you for climbing things.  And I’m terribly fond of raspberry jam.”

So it seems all that is left to do is for Turnip to officially ask for Arabella’s hand, which he is thrilled to do in front of the disgusting Captain Musgrave and despite interruptions from the Dowager Duchess.  We close with a final letter from Jane to Arabella, sent over a year after Turnip’s proposal, where Jane agrees to be godmother to a certain “baby Jane.”  Happy endings all around.

Did you enjoy Mistletoe as much this time around as you did on your first read?  Did you find yourself missing Eloise and Colin?  Are you ready for Night Jasmine??

If you need a bit more Turnip and Arabella to get you through the long haul to Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (their next appearance, I think), check out the free read Away in a Manger on Lauren’s site.

Make sure you stop by the blog on Friday.  Lauren will be back for Ask the Author V – have all your Turnip questions ready!

Pink V: Dream Casting

This post was written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.


If there is one man in all of Lauren’s books whom I want to sweep me off my feet, I cannot deny that it’s Turnip Fitzhugh. Of course there’s every chance Turnip could trip me and literally sweep me off my feet, but nevertheless, you get my point. Like my love of Henry Tilney, I view humor and goodwill as a cornerstone of romance. For me there is only one person who could be Turnip. I know, this is a sweeping statement. While I can occasionally see many actors in the roles and even agree with many of the alternative suggestions put forth, there is one and only one person who could play Turnip.  Let us now go back into the mists of time when I was a young impressionable girl who loved to spend her time watching Mystery! on PBS with my parents, reveling in all things Victoriana, especially Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. Total aside, but does anyone else think that as a young man in My Fair Lady he looks just like Daniel Day Lewis? OK, so it is just me, and back to Sherlock Holmes. The truth is, despite my love of Jeremy Brett and even Benedict Cumberbatch, to me there’s only one Sherlock Holmes, and that’s Nicholas Rowe.


The first time I watched Young Sherlock Holmes my heart was forever lost. It wasn’t just that Nicholas’s Holmes is brilliant, it’s that he’s funny and cute and gangly and just perfect. Plus the love of his life was named Elizabeth, sigh. While never attaining the fame of some British actors, Nicholas consistently shows up on the television screen and is perfection no matter how large or small a role. I’m particularly looking forward to his cameo in Mr. Holmes as “Matinee Sherlock.” Apparently (or so I’m guessing), the makers of this film understand that even if you have Ian McKellen playing Sherlock, there are people out there like me wishing for Nicholas Rowe! As to why he’d be perfect as Turnip: he has a goofy, supercilious air about him that hides a heart of gold. Plus, that floppy lock of hair and that I could totally see him in a carnation waistcoat on his tall body, everything adds up to perfection.  Mmm, yeah.


As for his better half I totally envision Claire Foy. The initial reason I saw her as Arabella is that as Amy Dorrit in Little Dorrit she has this wonderful vulnerability that has a will of iron behind it that protects her family above everything else. This is how I view Arabella. She sees her situation and makes up her mind that teaching is the way to help her family and she does it. Arabella has doubts and concerns, which is where the vulnerability enters in, but in the end, her iron will makes her take the leap. But if I hadn’t been totally convinced of her, well, Going Postal nailed it for me. She’s caustic and humorous. The key to the Turnip Abrabella union is that they genuinely like each other and know how to have a good laugh. So I give you Nicholas Rowe and Claire Foy, Mr. and Mrs. Turnip. Who do you see?

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh played by Nicholas Rowe
Arabella Dempsey played by Claire Foy

I know Sheila has already put forward her choice for Turnip: Simon Baker!  Personally, I think Simon Woods has potential.  Maybe Simons make good Turnips??

Lost Intro to Pink V


Happy Monday to one and all. Today I go back to working full days, five days a week, for the first time since mid-December. I have a feeling I’m going to need some inspiration to help me get through the next few days. Thank goodness for Mistletoe! I have laughed out loud several times already during this re-read – most notably when Turnip tries to explain things to Arabella about Sally and her “peculiar friends.”

Paige kindly asked last week for an overview of my reading timeline for Pink V. Naturally, you should all feel free to read at your own pace, but here is how I plan to schedule the recap posts:

Friday, January 9: Chapters 1-9

Friday, January 16: Chapters 10-16

Friday, January 23: Chapters 17-24

Wednesday, January 28: Chapters 25-29

Did you know that Lauren originally wrote a different introduction to The Mischief of the Mistletoe? I went back and re-read both that intro and her explanation for why it had to go on her website, and I thought it was pretty entertaining. Head over to her website to read for yourself!

What do you think? Would you have preferred her “scholarly” introduction, or do you like beginning with the letter from Jane?

The Mischief of the Mistletoe


I’m so pleased to be starting the re-read of The Mischief of the Mistletoe today!  This book was my favorite of the series for a long time.  At first, I was a bit bummed that the timing didn’t work out for Mistletoe to be our December book – shouldn’t we have read Lauren’s Christmas book at Christmas?  But in the end, I’m rather glad it’s our January book.  Do you ever feel like you spend so much time getting ready for Christmas that the day itself just races by?  I finally relax and get in a holiday mood, and Christmas is abruptly snatched away from me.  Christmas trees are already out on the road and the stores have got their Valentine’s Day displays up.  It feels like such a rush.  So this year, I am thrilled to stretch the holiday out through the month of January with Arabella and Turnip.

I mentioned before that we’ll be reading Mistletoe next, despite the fact that it was published after The Seduction of the Night Jasmine AND Betrayal of the Blood Lily.  For purposes of this blog, Mistletoe will henceforth be crowned Pink V.  I know that this starts to get confusing – GoodReads lists it as Pink Carnation 7 (due to the publication order).  Lauren just calls this one “Pink Christmas,” and her website lists Orchid Affair as Pink VII.  So we’re teetering on the edge of chaos here, but I think we can all handle it.  Just know that Pink V is my shorthand for Mistletoe, and naturally you should feel free to call it whatever you like for your own purposes.

I think Lauren does a great job in her recap of explaining how Mistletoe fits into the series, so be sure to check that out.  If Lauren recommends that newcomers to the Pink series read this one after Pink IV, then that’s what we’ll do!  Here is Lauren’s quick run-down of what to expect in Pink V:

Who: Arabella Dempsey and Turnip Fitzhugh
Where: England
When: Christmas, 1803
What: When a mysterious Christmas pudding with a message shows up at an all girls’ school in Bath, neither Arabella nor Turnip have any idea that it will lead them on the path to adventure—and romance.
Historical Cameos: Jane Austen

Since this is the only Pink book without Eloise and Colin, let’s begin with a letter to our heroine, Miss Arabella Dempsey, from her dear friend Jane Austen who awaits Arabella’s arrival in Bath.  Enjoy!

Top Five Friday: Authors as Characters

Anyone who knows my reading habits or has ever looked at my bookshelves knows that I have a definite preference for historical fiction. I’ve gotten accustomed bumping into historical figures like Anne Boleyn, Napoleon, and King George in my books, but it still surprises me when well-known authors pop up as characters. Sometimes they just have little cameos, but in some books, they can be major players in the story. For today’s Top Five Friday, here are my favorite books where authors appear as characters.

mistletoe 1. The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig. Without a doubt, this book is my favorite in Lauren’s Pink series, and who should put in an appearance but one Jane Austen, friend and confidante of Lauren’s heroine, Arabella. Although Jane only appears in a few chapters, I loved that she was present to be Arabella’s sounding board for everything from her new career in teaching to a developing romance.
 alice 2. Alice, I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin. This is the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, who the world remembers as “Alice in Wonderland.” Benjamin tells the story as an 81-year-old Alice looks remembers the events that would turn out to be the most formative of her life, in both positive and unforeseeably damaging ways – her early friendship with Lewis Carroll.
 good hard look 3. A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano. Although she is not the main character, all of the action in this book hinges on Flannery O’Connor. At twenty-five, Flannery is struggling with lupus, and her mother has insisted that she leave her life as a famous author in New York City and come home to Georgia where her family can look after her. When her mother drags her to the wedding of a family friend, Flannery sets into motion a chain of events that will impact the entire town. Flannery once wrote that “the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it,” and the cast of characters in this book is forced to acknowledge her truth.
 wide and starry 4. Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan. In 1875, the only socially acceptable way for a woman to leave a cheating husband was to travel to Europe. So when Fanny Osbourne realizes her husband Sam is having yet another affair, she takes her three children and boards a ship to Belgium with the hope of attending a painting school. Fanny’s trip to Europe leads her from Belgium to Paris and, when tragedy strikes, eventually to a house in Grez where a group of poets and playwrights are taking a few weeks of vacation. It is here that Fanny meets Robert Louis Stevenson, and though are initially skeptical of one another, they forge a passionate relationship that will survive terrible illness, betrayal, relentless traveling, and the disapproval of Stevenson’s friends and family.
 paris wife 5. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. This is the story of Hadley Richardson, who was quietly resigning herself to spinsterhood when she met Ernest Hemingway. From the minute they meet, they have an undeniable connection. Their whirlwind courtship and wedding take them to Paris, where they fall headlong into the social circle that will become the “Lost Generation” – Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and the Fitzgeralds. Hadley loves Ernest more than anything else in her world, and she constantly rearranges her life to accommodate him, but she finds that life with Ernest, even though he confesses that he “would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley,” is not the romantic adventure she anticipated.

Does anyone have good recommendations for books where authors are characters?

Happy Friday!