Last September, we started the Bubble Bath Reader’s Pink for All Seasons – a year long read-along of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series, timed to finish with the release of the 12th and final book in the series.
These books are fun and fabulous and full of interesting historical tidbits. We’ve done quick summaries on the books so far – click for books 1-3, books 4-6, and books 7-9. (And if you notice that the reading order is listed differently in different places, here’s Willig’s official list.)
And, so it ends here, with books 10, 11, and 12:
The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (2011)
Synopsis: When the younger sister of Jane Wooliston (AKA our Pink Carnation) goes missing from her boarding school in London, Jane and her faithful chaperone Miss Gwen search for her, and along the way meet Colonel William Reid, whose daughter disappeared from school as well. Miss Gwen and Col. Reid get to know each other quite well in the search. In modern England, Eloise reads Miss Gwen’s gothic novel, 200 years after it’s one-hit-wonder debut.
Holly: I definitely enjoyed the relationship between Miss Gwen and the good Colonel, especially the time Miss Gwen dropped the line “we had a satisfactory romp; that’s all.” Things I did not love about this book, however, include Jane’s moodiness and Jeremy’s sliminess.
Amanda: I admit that I had a good sulk when Lauren originally announced this book. I did not want to read anymore about Miss Gwen except as Jane’s chaperone. I wanted a book about Tommy (See the Temptation of the Night Jasmine)! But then I read The Passion of the Purple Plumeria and I fell in love with Colonel Reid and Miss Gwen. I loved how she tried to boss him around and how he just doesn’t fall into line with what she wanted. So I apologize Lauren for doubting your judgement of your own stories!
The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (2014)
Synopsis: Sally Fitzhugh, whose root-vegetable-named brother we got to know quite well back in Pink #5, stumbles into the garden of the mysterious (and rumored vampire) Duke of Belliston, and ends up helping him uncover the truth about his family. Back in the 21st century, Eloise returns to grad school in Cambridge, MA, and has trouble with her advisor.
Holly: I read some reviews hating on this book for being a far cry from the start of the series, as the actual-spy contact is limited, and, well, there’s the vampire thing. However, I adored Sally and Lucien! And, while I would have fully supported Eloise if she decided not to return to grad school, I am glad she had a chance to come to the right decision for her.
Amanda: I’m glad I didn’t know my sister had read hating reviews because I was already apprehensive due to all the hints about the stoat. I mean – who wants to read about a stoat? But Sally was a delight! So there wasn’t a spy connection – big deal – is a creepy murder not enough for people?! Loved the glimpse at a happy Turnip with his bride.
The Lure of the Moonflower (2015)
Synopsis: At last, the final book in the Pink series brings Jane’s story – we find Jane on assignment in Portugal, looking for a missing queen and forced to rely on Jack Reid for tactical help along with way. We get a conclusion to the Colin and Eloise storyline as well, but not without some final hijinks from one of our previous villains.
Holly: I am glad Jane got her story, and I’m so glad to have been a part of the Pink for All Seasons readalong. There are parts of this book that I quite enjoyed, but parts that didn’t quite sit well. Both Jane and her parents seemed like entirely different characters than those we’d gotten to know in previous books. Though, to be fair, that’s exactly what Lauren has done throughout the series – characters like Mary Alsworthy and Turnip Fitzhugh become totally different people once brought into the spotlight. The difference is, I guess, that I liked Mary and Turnip better after getting to know them, and Jane less.
Amanda: I was totally surprised as this book began at how Jane ended up in Portugal. As Holly said, Jane’s parents sounded like totally different people than those we met in the Passion of the Purple Plumeria. This annoyed me but I went with the story because since I’ve loved and trusted Jane all these years I kind of had to. I did love Jane and Jack together, even if things were a bit too convenient in the end. Maybe everything wrapped up a bit too well – including Eloise and Colin – but it was really a satisfying ending to a series I’ve really enjoyed. If Lauren writes more Pink books I will read them!