A Preview of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

I feel like a giddy schoolgirl. Look what arrived on my doorstep today. An advanced reading copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig! *major goosebumps*

I have been a fervent fan of Ms. Willig’s Pink Carnation series since the day it landed on the new release table in my B&N store in 2005. If you have not had the pleasure of reading any of the novels in the series just think Scarlet Pimpernel meets Georgette Heyer with a dash of Jane Austen thrown in and you’ll get my drift. They are romantic comedies set during the Napoleonic Wars laced with espionage, intrigue, and wit. Of all the contemporary historical novelists, Lauren Willig is nonpareil in my book. Like Georgette Heyer her historical details are spot on, her plots imaginatively engaging, her heroines admirable and heroes swoon-worthy. It does not get much better than this.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe is due to release on October 28th so you’ll have to be patient a bit longer. Janeites will be thrilled to discover that Lauren has drawn her inspiration for her heroine, Arabella Dempsey, from Jane Austen’s personal correspondence and her unfinished novel The Watsons. Austen even makes a cameo appearance! Here is the publisher’s description:


‘Tis the season to get Pink! Lauren Willig’s beloved Pink Carnation series gets into the holiday spirit with this irresistible Regency Christmas caper.

Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies…

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh – often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation – has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle,” the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austen’s modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate twelve-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella’s and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?


  • The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig
  • Dutton; First Edition (October 28, 2010)
  • Hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (352) pages
  • ISBN: 978-0525951872
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Regency Romance, Holiday Reading


Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, author interview, book description, & author bio courtesy of Dutton © 2010; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2010, austenprose.com. Updated 19 March 2022.

18 thoughts on “A Preview of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig

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  1. You lucky devil. I too am a rabid fan of Lauren. Was thrilled to meet her at RWA National- she’s a doll in person. Just so nice. Can’t wait to read this one. Enjoy your ARC and think of us poor souls that have to wait til Oct!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Lauren in person, but she is one of my authors contributing a story to my Austen short story anthology so we correspond. I hope to meet her next year. Hope I will not be dumbfounded with awe!


  2. I also have read all of her previous novels and enjoy them tremendously. Does anyone have a favorite? Or favorite characters? I would really like to learn more about Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, his wife, Lord Vaughn, the Duke of Dovedale and his wife. All the books have been wonderful. It must be that witty repartee. Thanks for the review. Thanks for the preview of chapter 1 of the new book.


    1. My favorite comical characters are Turnip Fitzhugh who is the hero (a bumbling one I am sure) of The Mischief of the Mistletoe and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale who appears like Lady Catherine with a toothache.

      Favorite hero and heroine duo would be Robert Lansdowne and Charlotte Lansdowne in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. Charlotte is so Catherine Morlandish and Robert is just…well…dishy.


  3. I have two of her books, but my daughter borrowed them before I got to them. I’ll be getting them back soon and look forward to reading them. I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about it.


  4. Oh, there goes my book budget! I am so excited to learn about this book and the Pink Carnation series. I have already saved the whole set to my wishlist on Barnes & Noble. I’m looking forward to reading them. Now where am I going to get the money? I see alot of over-time at work in my future :)


  5. Scarlet Pimpernel meets Georgette Heyer with a dash of Jane Austen thrown in… I must find this series!

    Thanks again for the recommendation, Laurel Ann! =)


      1. Not necessary if you do, but it will make a lot more sense. They are stand alone novels, with characters that might have been a minor character from one novel appearing as the main one in the next. They are all interlinked.


  6. Thanks Laurel Ann. I especially enjoyed how you broke down your favorites into categories. I hadn’t thought to do that. I think your descriptions of Charlotte Lansdowne and Robert Lansdowne was right on. I can’t put my finger on why I like them so much. Maybe it’s the duo or maybe it’s the dishy…lol. There’s just so many fun people it’s hard to say. And each book makes you like the minor characters from the others more. I think it does make more sense to start at the beginning of the series but like above not crucial I guess. Maybe just a little more confusing. Maybe the person could read reviews of the books in order and then just keep it in mind when they read the ones they find. I also appreciate how Lauren Willig tells about why she uses what from a historical standpoint and then how her book is different.


  7. That sounds fantastic! My friend Barb keeps telling me how good this series is and I actually picked the first one up several times and read the back in 2005. I really need to move it up my list and get started on it!

    I love your description of it being a mixture of the Scarlet Pimpernal, Georgette Heyer, and Jane Austen – all of which I love!


  8. The contemporary story line that frames the historical might get confusing if they aren’t ready in order. But it is only every 6th chapter or so.


  9. I too, was lucky enough to meet her this year at the RWA Literacy signing event here in Orlando this summer. She seemed as bubbling with excitement to meet her readers as we were to meet her. A funny little story. I had just come from meeting Deanna Raybourn and she saw Lauren Willig’s books in my bag (I have to thank my husband here for carrying around the tote bags for me, couldn’t have done it without him) and got all excited and said “Oh, my gosh is she here!” I said I hadn’t made it to her table yet but was hoping she was there. She then explained that they were doing a tour, this month actually and that they had never met. I told all this to Willig and she was, for lack of a better term, tinkled pink and beaming with excitement. From my readers POV it was great to see the mutual admiration they had for each others work, I know it will add to my personal reading experience. I then acted as their Girl Friday and related each others enthusiasm and anticipation. I later read on their blogs that they did indeed get together and meet that night for cocktails.


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