We are halfway through with Pink For All Seasons, a Lauren Willig read-along of her Pink Carnation series. We will be officially hosting book # 9 of the read-along over at The Bubblebath Reader in May, but once again we’ve decided to offer our unsolicited opinions. Here’s our take on books 4, 5, and 6.
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (2008)
Synopsis: In modern times, graduate student Eloise continues diving into the lives of English spies and French counterspies – while also deciding that she is interested in Colin for more than just his family’s archives. From there, the story dives into scheming Mary Alsworthy (sister of the heroine in book 3) and equally conniving Lord Vaughn, as the two embark on a business relationship that turns into something else.
Holly: After the virtuous naivete of the ladies in the first three books, I found Mary to be a refreshing change. Of course, I loved Amy, Henrietta, and Letty while reading about them, but Mary’s point of view offered an entirely different perspective on her life and her choices.
Amanda: I admit on my first read of this series I wondered why Lauren would want to write about Mary Alsworthy. She just sounds like a jerk! And then you get into her head. She’s well aware of her place in Society -she has the face everyone wants but no money to back up a marriage. So despite myself I found myself sympathizing for Mary a bit and then rooting for her to find her own happily ever after. After all the pleasantness of the other heroes and heroines I have to say I really enjoyed the snark Mary and Vaughn bring to the series. They can be a bit too condescending for me, but I suppose as the son of an Earl Vaughn can be as rude as he’d like. These two are simply perfect for each other in the end.
The Mischief of the Mistletoe (2010)
Synopsis: Arabella Dempsey, friend of Jane Austen, has grown up on the outskirts of the ton, the British high society to which so many of the characters in the Pink books belong to. She takes a teaching position at a girl’s school, and finds herself involved in a web of school girls and spies, while one Turnip Fitzgerald finds himself suddenly quite interested in visiting his sister at school. Notes – here, Lauren Willing recommends reading the series slightly out of order from their publication years, so this book jumps over some earlier published titles. She lists the order here. Also, unlike the rest of the Pink books, this one has no modern Eloise & Colin storyline.
Holly: I was prepared not to like this book – we’ve got a random appearance of Jane Austen, a serious lack of Eloise and Colin, AND the male lead is played by the comic relief of book #2 (I mean, not that Hen and Miles need much comic relief as they’re pretty hilarious on their own). However, Lauren got me again, because I loved this one. I thought it was interesting that this is the first book without um, a vivid romantic scene, but I think that is quite fitting. I’m pretty sure Turnip would call it deuced dodgy to talk about his and Miss Dempsey’s business like that.
Amanda: Something about this book made me grumpy when I started and I was prepared to rate it much lower on my re-read. Maybe it was the Jane Austen cameo? I love Austen so I don’t know why this irked me. But Turnip- or Reggie as I now prefer to think of him- is just so stinking pleasant! And like Arabella, I fell a little bit in love with him. I did miss Eloise and Colin but I was totally entertained by Arabella and the antics of her students. Even though this was a reread for me I was surprised in the end by the spies!
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (2009)
Synopsis: Eloise spends time at Selwick Manor – both hanging out the Colin and researching in the family archives. She uncovers the letters and diary of Charlotte Lansdowne, who has fallen in love with her just-returned-from-India-very-very-distant cousin Robert, the Duke of Dovedale, who seems to be hiding something.
Amanda: I have such a good story about this book! My best friend wanted to get this for my for my birthday-but it was not going to released until later that month. She emailed Lauren and explained what fans of the series we were and asked if she knew any way to get a copy early. Lauren mailed me one of her very own copies and signed it! Sweetest author ever! Dear Charlotte is also the sweetest and you just have to want her to be happy.
Holly: I adore Charlotte. In sharp contrast to the heroines of Pink 1-3, she is not at all afraid to tell Robert what she feels about him, what she wants, and how his actions affect her. I just loved reading her story, and six books in, I am still quite enjoying the series!
Are you reading along with us? Or eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the Pink Carnation series?