Greetings from Miss Eliza

This post was (as the title suggests) written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.

Greeting_1Ashley and I met because of our mutual love of Lauren Willig. Sometime last year she asked me what I thought of a yearlong Pink Carnation re-read leading up to the final book’s release. Seeing as I’ve been doing the monthly dream casting, the mugs, as well as the side banner design, I think you can guess my answer to her question. As soon as I was on board and throwing my design skills at her, she asked which book I would like to moderate. I said without hesitation, The Orchid Affair. Ashley was well pleased because that meant she got to do my other favorite book, The Mischief of the Mistletoe. The reason I chose this volume in the series is because I love how it brings Napoleon and the ramifications of the French Revolution back to the forefront. For five books the narrative hasn’t stepped on the shores of that benighted country. We have grown accustomed to flowery monikered spies in English drawing rooms. We have been removed from the reason these spies exist. This volume brings it all back, and in fact I would say more comprehensively covers what happened to France during this turbulent time period than any of the previous volumes.

Plus, there’s the whole fact that I really connect to this book on multiple levels. Let’s look to my background, I was raised in a publishing family, so there are the books, I have a BS in Art, hence loving the salons, and I have a minor in Theatre, covering the commedia dell’arte. What part of this book wasn’t written for me? Oh, and my last name, Lefebvre, French (kind of)! Plus I’m related, not in a direct line, to François Joseph Lefebvre, who happened to be the Duc de Dantzig and was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon and whose portrait at Versailles looks eerily like my Dad. This book touches every aspect of me, from genetics to interests to my very livelihood. Then there’s the fact that this takes the series in a new direction, it breaks the mold of what we have come to expect but still has the wit and humor that we’ve come to demand of Lauren’s books, and yes, we are a demanding fanbase.

And in a roundabout way it’s all because of Lauren that I have become a book blogger, Strange and Random Happenstance, check it out! The reason I started book blogging was quite literally to get Advance Reader Copies of books. Because, there is something so fun and more than a little bit gloat worthy of reading a book months before it’s out. Also, seriously, ARCs are pricey to buy on eBay, not that I’ve done that or anything she says with shifty eyes. But the ARCs I coveted above all else were Lauren’s. So yes, I made a blog to get ARCs from Dutton, but it has evolved and taken on a life of its own. I have been able to forge connections with some of my favorite authors, many of whom I now consider my friends, and help get the word out about their awesomeness. Because, seriously folks, it’s our jobs as readers to support our favorite authors, and that’s why Ashley and I (to bring it full circle) are more than willing to take a year out of our lives to celebrate Lauren. Everyone should know of this awesomeness and I hope to spend the next month sharing it with you.

Pink VII: Ask the Author

Good morning and happy Monday!

Today, Lauren is returning for another round of Ask the Author.  Do you have questions about Alex and Penelope?  Did this book inspire your curiosity about Jack Reid?  Is there something you have always wanted to know about the Indian setting for this installment of the Pink series?

Now is your chance to ask!  Leave your questions in the comments section below, and Lauren will answer them throughout the day.

One lucky commenter will receive a Blood Lily mug, courtesy of the Pink Fairy.  (If you’d like to see the mugs for each of the books we have read so far, they are all available through Zazzle.)

pink vii mugThanks again to Lauren for hanging out with us today.

Pink VII Deam Casting

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

Lily_1Very rarely am I 100% inflexible on my casting. In fact I usually try out a few actors in my head before I alight on just the right one. It’s kind of fun, having one actor exit a scene and having another actor enter as the same character, much like watching a Regency version of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. But this is not the case with The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, and it’s all down to Lauren’s writing, with one of the leads more directly so then the other. The direct one has resulted in me having Penelope be my only 100% author approved casting ever. One day on Lauren’s blog she mentioned that she saw Penelope walk across the screen in a recently episode of PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, though much like me Lauren correctly referred to it as just Mystery! Lauren thought it might have been an episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, but wasn’t sure, though she did proclaim: “There she is! That’s Penelope!”  I, being the BBC addict that I am instantly recognized that it was the first episode from season one of Lewis and the actress was Anna Madeley. I had already seen Anna in The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton, ironically in an unsuitable marriage and had thought she’d make a great Pen, so when Lauren reiterated my interior monologue I was totally on board, she is Pen. All her amazing roles since, from The Old Curiosity Shop to Sense and Sensibility to Mr Selfridge have brought home the fact that she IS Penelope to me again and again.

Lily_2As for Alex Reid? He’s obviously Aidan Turner.  Sometime during 2009 I devoured the entire first season of Being Human and promptly decided that I MUST watch EVERYTHING Aidan Turner had ever been in. The only thing available Stateside was a single episode of The Tudors… Therefore when Desperate Romantics came around, well, he can be my Dante Gabriel Rossetti any day, and actually was when I read Lauren’s That Summer! But more importantly, in the fall of 2009 laying sick in bed with my ARC of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, well, there was Aidan hanging out with Anna!  The brooding, the appearance, the conflict, all emotions that I had seen Aidan emote so amazingly as the vampire Mitchell, made him Alex. My re-reading the book while luxuriating in his new staring turn in Poldark has only reinforced my opinion, as has that little quirky smile of his and his regimentals. There is and can only be one Alex Reid.

Lily_3As for the final point in this love triangle… or should we just say, the complication that got what he deserved? Lord Frederick Staines. Originally I had thought that he could be played by Rupert Penry-Jones, because I couldn’t think of anyone who has the pretty boy, slightly vacant charm that Rupert has with the ability to be nasty when he needs to be. But I think, besides getting older, well, I like him too much to love to hate him. I think I was too caught up with the “golden boy” look and while re-reading The Betrayal of the Blood Lily I was struck by the scene when Freddy has been discovered with his mistress and he sags with relief when he thinks he’s got Pen mollified. The actor that instantly sprang to mind was Matthew Goode. I seriously adore Matthew and he is someone whom I can love to hate, heck I was rooting for him to win in Watchmen! Plus, he did a good job actually distracting me from Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, which in and of itself deserves a reward. Plus, if need be he can go Ozymandias blond again… only if need be.

Penelope Deveraux played by Anna Madeley
Captain Alex Reid played by Aidan Turner

Pink Swag

Do you have a Pink lover on your holiday shopping list?  If so, I may have just the thing to share!

You can buy a Pink themed mug for each of the four books we have read so far from Zazzle.  Here is a link to a listing of all four products:  These mugs were designed by the talented Miss Eliza.

Each mug is $15.95 before tax and shipping, but they have been running some great sales on Zazzle for the holidays.  They will ship to the US and Canada, and a list of other countries can be found on their website.

The Pink IV mug is appropriately Christmas-colored, wouldn’t you agree?

pink IV mug

Tomorrow, Sarah will be back with another Pink IV post.  Happy re-reading!

Pink II Week 2 in Review

This post was written by Erin, Moderator Extraordinaire for the month of October.

black tulips

Hello Everyone and Happy Friday! I don’t know about all of you but I am really glad it is Friday and not just for the Pink II Week 2 recap.

As we left our intrepid duo, Henrietta was just realizing that the person for her was Miles. And Miles, well… he wasn’t quite there yet. But he still pounds poor Martin Frobisher into the bush because he propositioned Henrietta and gives us a glimpse of an “oops” where he saw Hen in a bloody indecent nightdress. So the idea is brewing in Miles that Henrietta is more to him than just his best friend’s little sister. We do get to see Miles try his hand at breaking and entering. Not bad, but his dismount does leave something to be desired.

Back in the modern age, Colin has somewhat thawed to human being level, even if he is being warm and friendly. Of course Eloise sums it up with, “I’m being a Dimwit.” It is a horrible idea to get involved with someone whose archives she is using. So not only is Henrietta imagining Miles, but Eloise is imaging Colin. What is going on? Maybe we will see more of what is to come in the following chapters or at the drinks at Joan’s, where Eloise is to be used as a human shield.

Getting back to Hen and Miles, Henrietta is determined to make sure Miles is not interested in the Marquise.   So she decides to spy on them in the park. If she had played it cool by pretending to nonchalantly walking through the park, I think it might have gone a little bit better. Instead, Miles spots her as “a shape that could not possibly belong to shrubbery. In fact it looked remarkably like a well-rounded derriere.” But something good does come out of this. Miles has to be squished against Hen on the ride home and can feel her pressed against him. Good news for Hen. We see bit more action at Mile’s lodging – unfortunately it isn’t that kind of Action, but it has been ransacked and Downey has been stabbed. Poor Downey. He tries so hard to keep Miles presentable.

And finally… the Kiss. “It took Henrietta a moment to realize she was being well and truly kissed by Miles.” YEAH!!! I cheered for them, since it is about damn time!

We do see a brief cameo of Jane in chapter 20. When the chapter first started, it actually took me a moment to realize it was Jane. She is so good at being the Pink Carnation. So who are we thinking is the Black Tulip? Is it really Lord Vaughn? We do see some fairly damning evidence against him and haven’t really seen much for anybody else. If you have read ahead or read before, you know who the Black Tulip is. Are you picking up more clues this time around?

In Which Something Unexpected and Awesome Has Occurred

Have I mentioned lately how thrilled I am to have you all for company as I reread the Pink books? Yes? Good.

Allow me to share with you another thing that thrills me.  Lauren announced yesterday that she intends to do a weekly post on her website inspired by what you all are talking about over here in Pink for All Seasons. Lauren has chosen Thursdays for these posts, which means she is starting today! So head on over to Lauren’s website and check out the first of her “Read Along Blog Along” posts. Today, she is discussing the creation of Eloise.

If you’ve read through Chapter Nine of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by tomorrow, stop by and chat about it with me.

Pink for All Seasons: Just Wow.


I am so overwhelmed right now, in the best possible way, by the number of you who have visited, commented, and emailed me about Pink for All Seasons.  It’s wonderful to know that the circle of people I can talk Pink with has grown so significantly.

To those of you who have sent me emails asking to participate in the blogging for the next year, thank you.  I worried I wouldn’t find eleven people who would want to help out – I never dreamed I’d have so many volunteers that I would have to circle back and ask people to share books and split responsibilities.  Thank you for being so generous with your time and willing to share what you love about Pink.  I’ve enjoyed hearing what you have told me so far about which book is your favorite and why, how you found the series, and how some of you are using your artistic abilities to share Pink with a wider audience.  You guys are my tribe.

If you have emailed me, and you are still waiting for me to respond, I will do it soon.

I would be remiss if I did not say thank you to Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance once again for the awesome banner design for Pink for All Seasons.  And a huge thank you to Lauren, of course, whose books are the reason the Pink challenge exists, and whose humor and grace always make me smile.

Ten days to go until September 1 and Pink I.  Let’s do this!

Announcement: Part II


I have been so excited to tell you about this that I can barely stand it. I promised you something big and something pink. Here it is!

Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series will be coming to a close when the twelfth book is published in August of 2015. The Pink books have been a great ride, and I have gobbled them up like candy every time a new one was published. The challenge for readers of a series that has climbed to twelve books? Keeping twelve books’ worth of characters and events straight in your head. Lauren is a whiz at bringing back characters we haven’t seen for a few books and giving them new jobs to do. When I read the tenth book last August, Lauren tossed in a few references that I knew I recognized, but I couldn’t remember quite why. Next year, when Pink XII is released, I want to be up to date with what’s going on. I need to go back and reread the whole series to get ready.

So guess what? I’m going to do just exactly that. Starting in September 2014, I will read one book a month until, voilà, the twelfth book is published in August 2015. That means one year of Napoleonic spies, balls, treasure hunts, sword fights, secret assignations, mistaken identities, heroines of all stripes, and plenty of other good stuff. I’m calling this Pink Extravaganza “Pink for All Seasons.”

The best part of it all? Several of my fellow Pink Enthusiasts are coming with me, and we want you to get involved too! Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance (who designed the beautiful banner and is generally amusing and awesome), Erin, and Beth have all signed on to pick their favorite Pink book and lead a month of fabulous reading. We’ll talk about read-alikes, characters, history, popular conventions, deleted scenes, casting in our “if-only” movie adaptation scenarios, and plenty more.

Did I say the best part? Perhaps I spoke to soon. If you are a regular here, or know me at all, you will know that my affection for Lauren rivals that of Leslie Knope for Ann Perkins .

 Leslie fish

Because Lauren is incredibly gracious and kind, when I approached her about hosting this year-long reread, she agreed to autograph a copy of each of her books for me to give away here on the blog.

To sum up: One year of Pink reading. One book per month. Guest bloggers to guide us through. Prizes. General frivolity. This is going to be an amazing year.

Have you read the Pink books? Do you have a favorite? If you do, and you’d like to participate in Pink for All Seasons, let me know! So far, the only books that are spoken for are these:

  • Pink I: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
  • Pink II: The Masque of the Black Tulip
  • Pink III: The Deception of the Emerald Ring
  • Pink V: The Mischief of the Mistletoe
  • Pink VIII: The Orchid Affair

That leaves seven Pink books for you to choose from, if you are so inclined! Send me an email at, and we can talk about how you can participate.

If you haven’t read the Pink books, this will really be the perfect time to give them a try. I mean, it’s not just me who thinks they are awesome. Lauren’s books have been Romantic Times Top Picks and RT Readers’ and Reviewers’ Choice nominees and winners. Her books have won a RITA, a Booksellers Award, a Golden Leaf Award, and regularly appear on the NYT Best Sellers lists. September is right around the corner, but you have plenty of time to get yourself a copy of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and get excited. This is going to be awesome.