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.

Dream Casting: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always think when I finish a great book is, “That should be a movie!” I know sometimes movie adaptations don’t live up to what’s in my imagination, but it’s fun to think about which actors would play the characters in your favorite books if you had the chance to cast them! On that note, today we have a guest post from Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance, who is here to tell us about her ideal casting picks for a movie version of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

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This might shock some of you who know me from my book blog and being one of the moderators for the “That Summer Read Along” but I wasn’t always a book person. Shocking, I know. In fact I kind of came to reading via a back door. I was a movie addict when younger, I still appreciate movies but books have filled what time I had for movies.  I bridged this gap in my adolescence with novelizations of movies, the Willow novelization being my favorite. Mmm, Val Kilmer. I then expanded to Timothy Zhan’s Star Wars books which were continuations of the original trilogy, in particular Heir to the Empire, and well, the rest is history. But that part of me that loved films is still there and because of this I can’t help but cast books as I read them.

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If you participated in the “That Summer Read Along” you know I can’t keep these casting suggestions to myself, and I love to discuss them, so as part of Ashley’s year-long Pink Read Along I’ll be popping in once a month to discuss who I think would be perfect for the leads of that month’s book. This being the premiere month with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation I say we jump right in. The year was 2007, and that March I had just watched and fell in love with the newest adaptation of Northanger Abbey starring Felicity Jones and J.J. Feild. Shortly thereafter I picked up The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and I instantly saw Amy Balcourt being played by Felicity Jones. The bubbly personality, the short stature with the enthusiasm to hunt down those laundry lists, or French spies made her a perfect choice.

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My main problem was in casting Richard Selwick. Amy came so easy, and so did Richard, to an extent… because, let’s face it, Richard is Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride. Only, well, Cary wouldn’t work, age and food have seen to that, and I try to be realistic in my casting, so I thought of a perfect alternative, his name is Bradley James. Most people will know Bradley from his stint as Arthur on Merlin, but the reason why I chose him is that throughout Merlin he showed he has the same acting chops and comedic timing as a young Carey Elwes, so he makes a perfect substitute.  You can read the full profiles for Amy and Richard over on my website, but I’d like to discuss who your Amy and Richard would be!

So what do you think of Miss Eliza’s choices?  What actors would you like to see take on characters in Pink I?  We’d love to hear your suggestions for Amy and Richard, or anyone else from the book.  I know someone has a good idea for who should play Edouard or Delaroche…