Pink VI: Ask the Author

night jasmine

Hello, everyone! Thanks to all of you who contributed quotes and voted for your favorite for Pink VI. I am happy to report that the winning quote is this one:

“Nothing had gone the way it was supposed to. An actor played the King, the King played the fool, and Charlotte – his own, sweet, unworldly Charlotte – abandoned her tower to rout her dragons herself.”

Also, the winner of a Pink VI mug is Allie! Allie, if you will email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will make sure your prize gets on its way to you soon. If you’d like a Pink VI mug of your own (or a mug for any of the books we’ve read so far!) you can find them on Zazzle.

Lauren has graciously agreed to return today for Ask the Author VI! Do you have burning questions about Charlotte, Robert, Colin and Eloise? Is there something about The Temptation of the Night Jasmine that you’ve always wanted to know? Now is your chance! Comment on this post with your questions, and Lauren will swing by periodically throughout the day to answer them. Thanks for hanging out with us today, Lauren!

Pink VI: Dream Casting

Today’s post was written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.

PinkV_1

While it’s hard to choose a favorite book in this series, though my heart does lean towards last month’s re-read, there is without a doubt one heroine I most identify with, and that is Lady Charlotte Lansdowne. Her bookish ways, her fairy tale dreams, I am Charlotte! So, of course, being as this would be my avatar I’m casting I would only settle for the best. To me there is only one actress who exudes the sweetness coupled with a dreamy air, and of course, the dimples to properly pull off that shepherdess costume. I am of course talking about that darling Carey Mulligan, seen above with Amy Balcourt appropriately. From the bubbly Kitty Bennet to the lovesick Ada Clare I can’t think of anyone else to play Charlotte. I mean seriously, just do a Google image search on her and you have tons of pictures of her smiling face, you might even be under the impression that she is holding in her laughter waiting to bait certain mythical beasts with tarts!

PinkV_2

As for Robert, the Duke of Dovedale, I give you Stephen Campbell Moore to consider. Now Stephen never struck me as a leading man, though his performance in He Knew He Was Right is fabulous. He is usually second fiddle, and usually to the likes of heartthrobs like Matthew Goode and Jonny Lee Miller. Stephen is a solid actor who can really do conflicted well; a trait that I think we all agree has to be at the core of Robert. Plus he has a chameleonic ability to just inhabit his roles, making you think not of the man behind the character but of just the character. Though there is one role in which I sat up and went “damn!” This was during the first season of Lark Rise to Candleford where he played the new male (I know, so shocking) teacher at the local school. As James Delafield he exuded intelligence and wit and sex appeal, and damn he looks good in a beard. When reading about Robert first reigning in his horse in the courtyard he looked exactly like Stephen Campbell Moore on Lark Rise to Candleford… it’s amazing how sometimes it’s just there, click.

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Of course I cannot let this dream casting come to a close without mentioning a certain villainous man… with a love for hellfire, naughty.  I am talking about Medmenham. Now, I don’t know if any of you will openly admit to having watched a little, or perhaps a lot, of Gossip Girl, but I want to bring the actor behind Chuck Bass to your attention today. Medmenham is basically the Regency Chuck Bass, laugh all you want, but you know, deep down, I’m right. So who better to play our 19th century Chuck then the actor who brought him to life, Ed Westwick. Also, interesting fact, he’s actually British, so quite literally perfect. So let’s get him off to some nice dank caves and get this party started!

Extra posts:
Lady Charlotte Lansdowne played by Carey Mulligan
Robert, Duke of Dovedale played by Stephen Campbell Moore

Pink VI Week 3 in Review

Happy Friday!  The winner of the copy of The Scarlet Pimpernels is missrelena, AKA the Coral Chrysanthemum!  If you will email your mailing address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I’ll pop your book in the mail for you.

Today’s post is written by Betty.

jasmine-1

Chapters 17 – 25

Eloise goes to Colin’s study to use the computer to find out which country the mysterious phone call came from – United Arab Emirates. Beside the computer were a number of article clipped together – all about Dubai. In the bookcase behind Colin’s desk were numerous guides to Middle Eastern countries. Of course Eloise wonders if Colin might be a spy. She searches his desk drawers and finds a folder with receipts from a recent trip to Dubai. The bottom drawer is locked, but she discovers part of a mysterious note on the floor. The next day, Eloise awakens alone and finds a note from Colin wishing her happy hunting. She notices the door to his study is closed on her way to the kitchen. Eloise takes coffee to the library to work, but is distracted. After a not so helpful call to Pammy, Eloise decides to take a walk to the old Norman tower on the property. Colin had previously warned her away from it for safety reasons. She notices the padlock is not completely closed, so decides to enter. She is surprised to see a large metal object in the center of the dim room. The shadow of a man behind her blocks the light.

Back in the 19th century, Charlotte questions the real Dr. Simmons at the insane hospital, finding out that the treatments proposed for the king are ones being used at that time. Returning to Loring House with Henrietta, they are surprised to find Robert lurking there, claiming he left his snuffbox that morning. Suspecting he has come for reconciliation, Henrietta leaves them alone in the foyer while the butler looks for the snuffbox. Charlotte thinks it is a ploy, and is convinced of such when she sees a note partially stuffed up Robert’s sleeve after he had been surreptitiously thumbing through the correspondence tray. She recognizes Medmenham’s handwriting and demands he give it back just as the butler appears with Robert’s snuffbox. While apologizing and saying he does care about Charlotte’s future, but won’t return to see her unless she wants him to, Robert leaves, and Charlotte realizes he has taken the note.

Robert and Tommy head for a meeting at a Gentlemen’s Club where they are ushered to an upstairs room to meet with a representative from the War Office, who is none other than Miles. They explain about Wrothan and his possible connection to a French spy. Since the Hellfire Club plans to assemble at the theater the next evening and leave afterward for a secret meeting, Miles takes Henrietta and Charlotte to the theater. There they spy a group of gentlemen in Medmenham’s box, including Robert. During a break, everyone ends up in Miles’s box. Robert asks to call on Charlotte the next day. Medmenham flirts with Charlotte to anger Robert. Medmenham’s group leaves for another engagement and Miles excuses himself to attend a card game. Charlotte spies the fake Dr. Simmons in the pit, and she and Henrietta decide to follow him.

Traveling through narrow twisted streets in an unsavory part of town, Henrietta assures Charlotte of their safety by pulling two pistols out of her reticule. One of the funniest lines occurs when Henrietta explains how easy it is to use a pistol – “You point. They run. Don’t worry! Yours isn’t loaded.” True Henrietta style – that would really reassure me – not! At this point Charlotte realizes their adventure is only too real, not something out of a book. ‘Dr. Simmons’ stops outside a rundown ale house and emerging from his sedan chair dressed in a hooded monk’s robe, enters a shabby church beside it. Henrietta and Charlotte agree to enter from different points. While Charlotte is exploring the nave, she hears voices, and a bell tolls as dark-robed men enter from the opposite end. Unbeknownst to Charlotte, these are the Hellfire Club members. While robing in the back, Robert spied Wrothan and heard him talking to a man with a French accent. Robert lines up in front of them as they file in. He overhears a conversation and disagreement regarding a ransom. The ceremony begins with the lighting of a torch that sets off fireworks exposing Charlotte. Robert rushes to grab her and carry her out while Wrothan and the Frenchman escape.

Safely outside, Robert tries to figure out what Charlotte is doing there when Henrietta appears. Following her through the graveyard she stumbles over the body of ‘Dr. Simmons’ who is really Wrothan. Miles and Tommy arrive while Robert is questioning the ladies. Charlotte notices the smell of incense on Robert’s clothes and identifies it as the same scent she smelled on the king. Robert say it is opium. Putting all the clues together, Charlotte explains she thinks Simmons/Wrothan had a plan to kidnap the king. They all hurry to the palace, go in through the library entrance, and find the king restrained and moaning in his bed. While talking to the king, Charlotte realizes the man is an actor – the real king has been abducted!

These chapters were packed with so much action and suspense. Henrietta’s and Charlotte’s escapades reminded me so much of Henrietta’s actions in The Masque of the Black Tulip. She is one gutsy woman! Were you surprised at Charlotte’s willingness to go along with Henrietta and her ability to take charge? This seemed so out of character for shy, quiet Charlotte. I felt like her true self was finally emerging. She began to step out of her fantasy world and operate in the real world. I think Charlotte actually surprised herself. What do you think?

Lauren also treated us to more of a glimpse into the minds of both Robert and Charlotte as we were privy to their most personal thoughts. Charlotte kept going back and forth over her feelings for Robert, one minute wondering if she had been too hard on him, then thinking that he really didn’t care for her as she did for him. She really had a hard time trying to separate the real Robert from the Robert in her fantasy world of knights and unicorns. Robert struggled with whether he was worthy of Charlotte and whether he should tell her the truth. Some of the princess in the tower references made me think he felt Charlotte was above him. This is the kind of insight that makes me get involved in a character. What are your thoughts about Robert and Charlotte and the way they related to each other?

One last thought – as for Colin and Eloise, how many think Colin has continued in the family business and is a spy? Was Eloise justified in searching through his computer and desk drawers?

I’m really hoping to hear your thoughts!

Chapters 17 – 25

Eloise goes to Colin’s study to use the computer to find out which country the mysterious phone call came from – United Arab Emirates. Beside the computer were a number of article clipped together – all about Dubai. In the bookcase behind Colin’s desk were numerous guides to Middle Eastern countries. Of course Eloise wonders if Colin might be a spy. She searches his desk drawers and finds a folder with receipts from a recent trip to Dubai. The bottom drawer is locked, but she discovers part of a mysterious note on the floor. The next day, Eloise awakens alone and finds a note from Colin wishing her happy hunting. She notices the door to his study is closed on her way to the kitchen. Eloise takes coffee to the library to work, but is distracted. After a not so helpful call to Pammy, Eloise decides to take a walk to the old Norman tower on the property. Colin had previously warned her away from it for safety reasons. She notices the padlock is not completely closed, so decides to enter. She is surprised to see a large metal object in the center of the dim room. The shadow of a man behind her blocks the light.

Back in the 19th century, Charlotte questions the real Dr. Simmons at the insane hospital, finding out that the treatments proposed for the king are ones being used at that time. Returning to Loring House with Henrietta, they are surprised to find Robert lurking there, claiming he left his snuffbox that morning. Suspecting he has come for reconciliation, Henrietta leaves them alone in the foyer while the butler looks for the snuffbox. Charlotte thinks it is a ploy, and is convinced of such when she sees a note partially stuffed up Robert’s sleeve after he had been surreptitiously thumbing through the correspondence tray. She recognizes Medmenham’s handwriting and demands he give it back just as the butler appears with Robert’s snuffbox. While apologizing and saying he does care about Charlotte’s future, but won’t return to see her unless she wants him to, Robert leaves, and Charlotte realizes he has taken the note.

Robert and Tommy head for a meeting at a Gentlemen’s Club where they are ushered to an upstairs room to meet with a representative from the War Office, who is none other than Miles. They explain about Wrothan and his possible connection to a French spy. Since the Hellfire Club plans to assemble at the theater the next evening and leave afterward for a secret meeting, Miles takes Henrietta and Charlotte to the theater. There they spy a group of gentlemen in Medmenham’s box, including Robert. During a break, everyone ends up in Miles’s box. Robert asks to call on Charlotte the next day. Medmenham flirts with Charlotte to anger Robert. Medmenham’s group leaves for another engagement and Miles excuses himself to attend a card game. Charlotte spies the fake Dr. Simmons in the pit, and she and Henrietta decide to follow him.

Traveling through narrow twisted streets in an unsavory part of town, Henrietta assures Charlotte of their safety by pulling two pistols out of her reticule. One of the funniest lines occurs when Henrietta explains how easy it is to use a pistol – “You point. They run. Don’t worry! Yours isn’t loaded.” True Henrietta style – that would really reassure me – not! At this point Charlotte realizes their adventure is only too real, not something out of a book. ‘Dr. Simmons’ stops outside a rundown ale house and emerging from his sedan chair dressed in a hooded monk’s robe, enters a shabby church beside it. Henrietta and Charlotte agree to enter from different points. While Charlotte is exploring the nave, she hears voices, and a bell tolls as dark-robed men enter from the opposite end. Unbeknownst to Charlotte, these are the Hellfire Club members. While robing in the back, Robert spied Wrothan and heard him talking to a man with a French accent. Robert lines up in front of them as they file in. He overhears a conversation and disagreement regarding a ransom. The ceremony begins with the lighting of a torch that sets off fireworks exposing Charlotte. Robert rushes to grab her and carry her out while Wrothan and the Frenchman escape.

Safely outside, Robert tries to figure out what Charlotte is doing there when Henrietta appears. Following her through the graveyard she stumbles over the body of ‘Dr. Simmons’ who is really Wrothan. Miles and Tommy arrive while Robert is questioning the ladies. Charlotte notices the smell of incense on Robert’s clothes and identifies it as the same scent she smelled on the king. Robert say it is opium. Putting all the clues together, Charlotte explains she thinks Simmons/Wrothan had a plan to kidnap the king. They all hurry to the palace, go in through the library entrance, and find the king restrained and moaning in his bed. While talking to the king, Charlotte realizes the man is an actor – the real king has been abducted!

These chapters were packed with so much action and suspense. Henrietta’s and Charlotte’s escapades reminded me so much of Henrietta’s actions in The Masque of the Black Tulip. She is one gutsy woman! Were you surprised at Charlotte’s willingness to go along with Henrietta and her ability to take charge? This seemed so out of character for shy, quiet Charlotte. I felt like her true self was finally emerging. She began to step out of her fantasy world and operate in the real world. I think Charlotte actually surprised herself. What do you think?

Lauren also treated us to more of a glimpse into the minds of both Robert and Charlotte as we were privy to their most personal thoughts. Charlotte kept going back and forth over her feelings for Robert, one minute wondering if she had been too hard on him, then thinking that he really didn’t care for her as she did for him. She really had a hard time trying to separate the real Robert from the Robert in her fantasy world of knights and unicorns. Robert struggled with whether he was worthy of Charlotte and whether he should tell her the truth. Some of the princess in the tower references made me think he felt Charlotte was above him. This is the kind of insight that makes me get involved in a character. What are your thoughts about Robert and Charlotte and the way they related to each other?

One last thought – as for Colin and Eloise, how many think Colin has continued in the family business and is a spy? Was Eloise justified in searching through his computer and desk drawers?

I’m really hoping to hear your thoughts!

Eloise and Pammy – Best Friends Forever

This post was written by guest blogger Susan Gorman.

ice cream

I just loved reading Betty’s post  about Friendships in Pink last week!  I enjoy how Lauren parallels Henrietta, Charlotte and Penelope’s relationships with the modern day friendship of Eloise and Pammy in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.  Some of my favorite chapters in the novel occur in the modern story of Eloise and Colin.

Eloise recognizes the significance of Henrietta and Charlotte’s friendship as she reads their letters. She becomes immersed in the world of the Pink Carnation and all of its  intrigue.  Colin pulls Eloise out of the nineteenth century and takes her out to a local pub for dinner. The couple meets Colin’s ex Joan, her sister Sally and the Vicar at the pub. One of my favorite scenes is when Eloise overhears Joan and Sally chatting in the bathroom. Eloise hides in her stall and listens to Joan talking about Colin and his job. She thinks she heard Joan says the word “spies” – or was it “sty” (like pig sty)? Eloise’s imagination runs wild. She wonders if Colin is a spy, a modern day version of James Bond. Later that night, in true Nancy Drew fashion, Eloise sneaks into Colin’s office and looks through his papers and desk. Eloise finds hotel receipts from Dubai, scribbled notes, and foreign  language books. I laughed out loud when Eloise held up a torn piece of paper  in Colin’s handwriting  up to a light to see if it could help her figure out the missing words or provide a clue to Colin’s recent activity.

Eloise decides to call her best friend Pammy the next morning.  Eloise is convinced that Pammy would know what Colin did for a living. Instead of having a conversation about Colin, his job or the weather, the conversation morphs into a hysterical girlfriend discussion about men, ice cream and comparing men to ice cream flavors.  It’s the type of conversation that only two best friends can have and understand.

Click here if you would like to hear Lauren read the ice cream scene.  Isn’t the type of conversation that you can only have with your best friend?

Is your best friend like Pammy?  Eloise? Henrietta or Charlotte?

 

Pink VI Quote Contest: Submissions, please!

A contest idea from Betty…

In recognition of Lauren’s amazing writing style, here’s your chance to submit some of your favorite lines from Pink VI. It was so much fun to see what people selected from The Deception of the Emerald Ring. To start things off, I have selected a few of my own favorites. Please add your own, and Ashley will conduct a poll on February 24. A winner will be selected to receive a mug from Pink VI.

Charlotte: “I like books. They’re so much grander than real life.”

Robert: “You look like a lady in a medieval tapestry. All you need is a unicorn at your feet.”

Penelope’s comment on the ‘eligibles’: “They have no charm, no conversation, and most of them have no chins. Other than that it’s been scrumptious.”

Charlotte and Robert: “It was a fairytale kingdom, offered up for the taking.”

Henrietta: “You point. They run. Don’t worry! Yours isn’t loaded.”

Giveaways Again

Guess what I forgot to do on Friday…

What do you think it was?

I forgot to pick a winner for the Temptation of the Night Jasmine giveaway! I’m blaming Friday the 13th for my slip-up. But at any rate, we have a winner – it’s Erin. Congratulations, Erin! Email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com and I will get your prize in the mail to you.

Since I bungled last week’s giveaway, I’m going to run another one today. Lauren is celebrating a Decade of Pink over on her website, so there has been a lot of talk about The Scarlet Pimpernel. Have you read it? If you haven’t, here is your chance!

scarlet pimpernel

I am giving away a Dover edition of the book to a commenter on today’s post. To enter yourself to win, do two things:

  1. Comment below.
  2. Tell me what your colorful flowery spy name would be if you were whisking aristocrats away from Madame Guillotine alongside Richard and Sir Percy!

I’ll pick a winner on Friday of this week – no really, I promise.

Happy Monday!

 

Pink VI Week 2 in Review

Today’s post was written by Betty.

jasmine2

Chapters 8 -16

In our modern story, Colin and Eloise have dinner at the pub after Eloise makes inquiries as to what Joan and Sally do for a living, hoping the discussion will lead Colin to reveal his occupation. No such luck. Returning to Selwick Hall they share wine, snuggle, and watch movies before retiring for the night. Eloise is suddenly awakened by a shrilly ringing phone and answers it since Colin is dead to the world. Someone mutters in a foreign language and hangs up. Then Colin’s cell rings and Eloise sees an international country code on the screen before it stops. Her curiosity now in full gear, she heads to Colin’s study to use the internet to find out where the call came from.

Returning to the world of Charlotte and Robert, I think the story can be divided into four sections. First, the Twelfth Night celebrations continue at Girdings with Charlotte being crowned Queen of the festivities. Instead of leading off the dancing, Charlotte leads Robert to her favorite place at Girdings – the roof. From the terrace filled with statues of historical and mythological people, they gaze upon the gardens below and the village lights beyond. “It was a fairy tale kingdom,” p.113 – just the right setting for Charlotte and Robert to share kisses and imagine a future together. However, Robert recalls his sudden departure and the fact that he stole 400 pounds to purchase his commission in the army, and wonders how Charlotte would feel about that. Reality calls them back to the ball, but after Robert leaves Charlotte at her room, he is grabbed by Medmenham who makes unsavory insinuations. Trying to throw him off, Robert agrees to hear his proposition involving the Hellfire Club. Charlotte returns to the ball sharing her feelings and images of marriage with Henrietta, only to be let down when she receives a terse note, “Forgive me”, and Robert fails to appear. Matters are not helped when Penelope chimes in with the conversation she overheard while off in a room with Freddy, and claims Robert has no interest in Charlotte, but is only playing her. However, Penelope speaks so loudly, that everyone in the ballroom overhears about her indiscretion with Freddy – busted!

Section 2 gives us great detail about the Hellfire Club starting with Chapter 11 when it is four days later and Robert begins what he can only describe as a descent into hell. Complete with mythological references to the River Styx and Charon, Robert travels through subterranean caverns to the meeting place of the despicable Hellfire Club. Medmenham, whom Robert now compares to Mephistopheles, has offered him immediate initiation into the club. Robert accepts, thinking it will be a quicker way to find Wrothan. When they arrive in the main chamber, Robert is surrounded by fifteen men in brown robes, the room fills with incense and smoke, and dancing girls appear from a lotus altar. Robert’s eyes begin to burn, he detects a scent of jasmine, and begins to feel dizzy. As the drinking and orgy begin, Robert realizes he has been drugged. Amidst the smoke and revelry, he throws himself against the wall, feels fresh air, and climbs up and out of the cave. He finds himself in Medmenham’s mausoleum. Again he smells the scent of jasmine and associates it with betrayal, remembering Wrothan wore a sprig of jasmine in India, rotating it to different places on his person. Could this have been a signal? Suddenly he hears talking. Hiding himself, Robert overhears a conversation and recognizes Wrothan is talking to a Frenchman. There may be more involved here than personal revenge.

Section three finds us at the Court of George III where Charlotte is serving a three month term as lady in waiting to Queen Charlotte. Speaking with Lady Uppington, she explains that she has been graciously welcomed at court, with the king even offering her use of his private library. Penelope’s situation has improved since Girdings, as being compromised has led Lord Freddy to propose (with the dowager’s influence, including the assurance of a comfortable posting in India after their marriage). She still sews doubt in Charlotte’s mind regarding Robert. Charlotte spies Robert across the room and rushes to his side, thinking he has come to court to seek her out. Immediately she senses a difference in Robert’s manner. After telling Charlotte he has taken bachelor quarters “to pursue my own pursuits” and that their time at Girdings was a mistake, “a bit of Yuletide madness,” she realizes she has been living in a dream world. She is hurt by their further conversation in which Robert does his best to convince her he has no feelings for her. “So I was simply your country entertainment. Like a mummers’ play.”(p.167) Enter Medmenham, who shows an interest in Charlotte. Perhaps to restore her dignity, perhaps to make Robert jealous, Charlotte asks Medmenham to walk with her and later agrees that he may call on her. Huzzah, Charlotte! Robert realizes his plan to distract Medmenham has had the opposite effect. He calls on Charlotte the next morning at Loring House where she is staying with Henrietta. Robert asks her to refuse any invitations from Medmenham, to which request Charlotte replies with outrage. The conversation between them is filled with double entendre and delightful to read over and over again.

In the last part of this reading, we are confronted with the madness of King George. While selecting a book from the king’s library, Charlotte is surprised when the king appears in disarray and confuses her with his youngest daughter. Charlotte remembers the gossip about the king’s madness three years earlier. He complains of stomach pain, and when his attendant, Lord Henry Innes, comes to retrieve him, the king begs Charlotte not to let the doctors make him ill again. Not seeming to recognize her, Lord Henry makes light of the king’s actions when Charlotte asks if she should call the queen. When Charlotte returns to court the next day, she finds the queen and her daughters frightened and dismayed as the king is reported mad again and no one is allowed to see him except a new doctor chosen by the Prince of Wales. As the Prince of Wales would have his own reasons for declaring his father mad and incompetent, Charlotte understands the threat to the kingdom and sympathizes with the queen and princesses. She volunteers to get information by sneaking into the king’s chambers through the library entrance. She finds the king restrained and in pitiful condition, but manages to hide just before the new doctor and his attendant enter the room. Charlotte is horrified by the course of treatment described by the doctor and the king’s representative. Vowing to help, Charlotte asks Henrietta to accompany her to the mad hospital where she plans to confront the king’s new doctor, Dr. Simmons. When Dr. Simmons appears, she is shocked to see he is not the same man attending the king who claims to be Dr. Simmons.

Wow! So much happened in these chapters. What are your thoughts on the Hellfire Club? I have heard it mentioned in other books of this era. Also, I believe Lord Vaughn mentioned it in Crimson Rose.

What is your opinion of Robert at this point of the book? He certainly struggles with his emotions toward Charlotte, toward seeking justice for his dead friend, and toward his right to inherit Girdings. At several times his thoughts tell us that he is not interested in being the Duke of Dovedale because he thinks he is unworthy. What do you think? Would he make a good match for Charlotte?

How about Charlotte? I know it was a difficult life for women in this age. She lives in a beautiful home, socializes with the best people, and has two close friends. However, she is constantly berated by her grandmother and made to feel unworthy of the Lansdowne name. No wonder she often lives in a fantasy world! Nevertheless, Charlotte is kind, thoughtful, helpful, and a loyal friend. She usually tries to see the good in people and doesn’t seek to advance her own agenda. Does this make her a weak person or is she strong? I think Charlotte is a good example to use to discuss the nature versus nurture question. What has formed her character and personality?

Lastly, I see Charlotte and Robert as contrasts in light and dark? What do you think?

What else is on your mind concerning these chapters?

On a different note, we will be having another favorite quote contest, so be searching for your favorites and have them ready for a post beginning next Tuesday, February 17. Ashley will compile these quotes for voting on the 24th. Anyone participating will be eligible for a drawing to receive a Pink VI mug. Happy hunting!

The Lady and the Unicorn

Today’s post was written by Betty.

Unicorn1

The picture above is one of a series of six tapestries entitled “The Lady and the Unicorn,” which were woven of silk and wool in Flanders toward the end of the 15th century. Embroidered on the top of the tent in this tapestry are the French words “A Mon Seul Desir,” which has become the title of this one. It has been translated in several different ways – “my one/sole desire,” “according to my desire alone,” “by my will alone,” and “love desires only beauty of soul.” Some interpretations see this tapestry representing love or virginity. The other tapestries represent the five senses: touch, sound, smell, sight, taste, and are titled as such. It has also been suggested that this tapestry could represent a sixth sense, that of understanding. The tapestries were rediscovered in 1841 in Broussac Castle where they had been stored without regard to climate change, causing damage. They were later restored nearly to their former glory, and are currently on display at Musee de Cluny, also known as Musee national du Moyen Age in Paris.

Lauren makes reference to the Lady and the Unicorn when Robert is talking to Charlotte about her childhood game of hunting unicorns. On page 46, he says, “You look like a lady in a medieval tapestry. All you need is the unicorn at your feet.”

Since I was familiar with these tapestries and had read another book about them, I decided to research them further. They were created in the mille fleur style, meaning thousand flowers, which was a popular motif in the Middle Ages. It refers to a background made of many small flowers and plants. The common denominator to all of the tapestries is that the unicorn is to the lady’s left, and the lion is to her right. Medieval symbolism was used heavily in art at the time, and referring to a chart of symbolism, I found the following information. The unicorn has the trait of a single horn and its behavior is interpreted as savage or loyal. It symbolized Christ, purity, and being invincible. The lion’s trait is “the king of beasts” with its behavior being strong. It symbolizes courage, strength, and faithfulness. Considering this, of course my mind wandered to our main characters, Charlotte and Robert. I hadn’t thought much about a character trait connection to these tapestries when I first read this book, but it is on my mind now. Do you feel any of these traits represent them? It is always exciting to me when art or other literary references are brought into a book. This also reminds of Lauren’s That Summer, with its heavy art influence. Of course I don’t know what Lauren intended in this book, but it is certainly interesting to think about. Here are all six tapestries as discussed on Tracy Chevalier’s website. She is the author of The Lady and the Unicorn, which I read in 2007.

Unicorn2

You can easily see the positioning of the unicorn and lion as described earlier. In our story, Robert’s reference to Charlotte having a unicorn at her feet makes me think of the ‘sight’ tapestry. Do you think Robert represents the unicorn? Is he to be tamed by Charlotte? Charlotte definitely fits the role of virgin from the descriptions given of her in this and previous books.

On page 47, at the end of their meeting together, Charlotte tells Robert how glad she is to have him back. Robert agrees, but then begins to think about how he is intending to become involved with unscrupulous people. His thoughts about not being deserving of Charlotte’s admiration made me think of this scene as a contrast in light and dark. Charlotte represents goodness and light, whereas the members of the Hellfire Club represent darkness and evil. In Robert’s own words, “the sour smell of port, and the hideous dark holes being burned in his soul,” come from the Hellfire Club. He has also felt guilty about leaving Charlotte so long ago. What are your thoughts regarding the tapestries and their part in the book?

If you are interested in further reading based on “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, I would recommend Tracy Chevalier’s book of the same title. Tracy is also the author of Girl With the Pearl Earring, a book based on the art of Vermeer.

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine

I’m pleased to introduce you today to Betty, who will be our moderator throughout February posting about The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.  Welcome, Betty!  I will bow out and let you get straight to it.

night jasmine

Hello Pink enthusiasts! My name is Betty, and I am excited that it’s time to begin Lauren’s 6th Pink Carnation book, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, published in 2009. Since this was the year I discovered Lauren and her “Pink” series, I was so happy to have several books to read one right after the other before waiting each year for the latest in the series to be published. Now, as we anxiously await the release of Pink XII, and last of the series, I have enjoyed participating in the reread of all of the books. As someone who almost never rereads a book, I have found I needed this refresher, and have discovered so many things that slipped by in my first reading. Details, details make a book so enjoyable, and I want to thank Ashley for hosting this reread on The Bubble Bath Reader, and giving me the chance to enjoy these books all over again! Here is a quick recap taken from Lauren’s website:

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine

Who: Charlotte Lansdowne and Robert, Duke of Dovedale

Where: England

When: Winter 1803-04

What: Innocent and bookish Charlotte finds herself swept up in a web of intrigue stretching from the Hellfire Club to the court of George III.

Historical cameos: George III and Queen Charlotte

Of course Colin and Eloise return as she arrives for her second trip to Selwick Hall and finds something in store for her that she didn’t expect.

I also found it interesting that Lauren says, “Charlotte is the heroine based most closely on me. Or, at least, on me as I remembered myself being as an eighteen year old freshman at college, naïve, optimistic, and inclined to use books, particularly Fanny Burney’s Evelina, as a guide to the intricacies of human nature.”

Of course this started me wondering if anyone else has a character/heroine that they most closely identify with. I would have to say that Charlotte is also that person for me, because at that age I was also shy, naïve, and bookish. Many life experiences have changed that, and I have become much more outgoing and willing to take risks – still bookish, though! How about you – who do you identify with in Lauren’s wonderful Pink books?

I look forward to leading everyone through Night Jasmine and plan to recap and discuss the Prologue – Chapter 7 on Friday. Happy reading!