Regency-era English Christmas Pudding: American Fruitcake’s Kissin’ Cousin

Mrs. Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding circa 1890s

I recently read the delightful Regency-era Christmas novel The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig. Our hero Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh and heroine Arabella Dempsey are brought together by a Christmas pudding! Yep. A very creative ice-breaker to introduce and spark a romance, right?

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig (2010)In 1803, Arabella is an instructor at Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies in Bath, where “Turnip’s” sister Sally is a pupil. He is delivering her Christmas hamper to her and she in turn gives him a small muslin-wrapped and beribboned Christmas pudding which he proceeds to drop after barreling into to our heroine in the making in the hallway of the school. After profusely apologizing, he bounds out the door with Arabella in pursuit in an attempt to return the pudding to him: Continue reading “Regency-era English Christmas Pudding: American Fruitcake’s Kissin’ Cousin”

Yuletide Interview with Lauren Willig, Author of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Lauren Willig, one of my favorite historical romance novelists, has just released The Mischief of the Mistletoe, her seventh novel in The Pink Carnation series. Set in Regency-era Bath she has elevated Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh, one of her very popular comedic characters from the series, and given him his own spy adventure and a romance. One of the supporting characters is our very own Jane Austen and the Continue reading “Yuletide Interview with Lauren Willig, Author of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas”

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

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

In her six previous novels in the bestselling Pink Carnation series, Lauren Willig has furnished us with an assortment of dashing heroes thwarting Napoleonic spies while romancing clever heroines. There are your alpha heroes and your beta heroes, but none qualify as a vegetable hero except Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh! He is long on looks and short on brains; but it does not signify. From his very first bumbling Continue reading “The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

In the Pink Today with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

In honor of today’s debut mass market release of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig, I am wearing pink with the goal of introducing five of my customers at Barnes & Noble to this fabulous series. Since it’s initial release in 2005, the “Pink” series of novels have continued to enchant me with Regency-era stories of spies, espionage and romance a la The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Here is the publisher’s description:

Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard’s Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation—the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon’s invasion.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation’s identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?

I am so excited that it has been released in mass market for the first time today, introducing it to a whole new generation of readers. Once you are hooked, and I am quite certain you will be, the series continues with six more novels: The Masque of the Black Tulip, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily and the soon to be released, The Mischief of the Mistletoe on October 28th. Yes, just thirteen days away!

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 Continue reading “A Preview of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig”

New Jane Austen Short Story Anthology Announced Today

Hot off the presses is an announcement today in Publishers Weekly of a new Jane Austen short story anthology to be published by Random House in 2011. The collection will include approximately twenty stories inspired by Jane Austen, literature’s witty muse of the modern novel and astute observer of human nature and the heart.

Readers familiar with Austen inspired paraliterature will recognize many popular authors among the list of those contributing and a few surprises from best selling authors who greatly admire Austen’s works. Contributing to the line-up are best selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series) and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Approximately twenty Austenesque authors and others from related genres have already committed to the project including:

Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy)

Elizabeth Aston (Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, & Writing Jane Austen)

Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series, & The White Garden)

Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series)

Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, & Mrs. Elton in America)

Frank Delaney (Shannon, Tipperary, & Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show)

Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins, & The Other Mr. Darcy)

Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, & Mr. Darcy’s Diary)

Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, & The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte)

Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)

Janet Mullany (Bespelling Jane Austen, & Rules of Gentility)

Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet’s Story, & Willoughby’s Return)

Beth Pattillo (Jane Austen Ruined My Life, & Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart)

Alexandra Potter (Me & Mr. Darcy, & The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather: A Novel)

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway (Lady Vernon & Her Daughter)

Myretta Robens (Pemberley.com , Just Say Yes, & Once Upon a Sofa)

Maya Slater (The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy)

Margaret C. Sullivan (AustenBlog.com, & The Jane Austen Handbook)

Adriana Trigiani (Brava Valentine, Very Valentine, & Lucia, Lucia)

Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)

Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series)

In addition, a short story contest hosted by the venerable The Republic of Pemberley website will be held to fill one slot in the anthology for a new voice in Austenesque fiction. Further details on submission and manuscript deadlines will be posted here and at Pemberley.com.

And if you were wondering how I know so much about the project, I have been secretly working on it for months and will be the editor. I’m the luckiest Janeite in the world!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Interview with Lauren Willig, Author of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6)

Gentle Readers: Please join me in welcoming author Lauren Willig today as she answers questions about her new book The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, Jane Austen and what’s next in her writing career.

Thanks for chatting with us Lauren! Your latest novel in the Pink Carnation series The Betrayal of the Blood Lily has just been released. This is your sixth venture into the Regency era and espionage during the Napoleonic Wars. Looking back on your first book in the series, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, could you share your original inspiration and what continues to spark your storylines?

Thanks so much for having me here!  The Pink Carnation emerged from years of overexposure to dashing swashbucklers in knee breeches, usually played by Errol Flynn—the sorts of men who could hold the villain at bay with a rapier with one hand while writing sonnets to the heroine with the other, all without missing an Continue reading “Interview with Lauren Willig, Author of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6)”

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6), by Lauren Willig – A Review

A nineteenth-century exotic locale, a handsome officer and a feisty heroine make for archetypical romantic fare, but Lauren Willig’s new novel The Betrayal of the Blood Lily is anything BUT a conventional bodice ripper embellished with historical detail. In her sixth novel in her “Pink Carnation” series, Willig exhibits once again that she is an accomplished raconteur as she weaves an intricate and lively tale involving spies, espionage and romance during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France. Whereas the previous novels have taken place in England and France involving a set of interrelated characters, Willig has taken a bold leap in introducing a new ensemble cast and intriguingly transported the narrative to exotic India. 

Our new heroine Penelope Deveraux, who we met briefly in the previous novel The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, is as bold as brass. Her unpropitious behavior had always set more than a few fans fluttering and Continue reading “The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6), by Lauren Willig – A Review”

A Preview of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6), by Lauren Willig

Tuesdays in the book world are like Christmas. It is the official release day for many new titles. They arrive like presents to be opened and savored. Today, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig was officially released. It is the sixth book in the Pink Carnation series set in England, France and now India during the Napoleonic wars. I have read and or listened to an audio recording of all in the series and fans of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and Regency novels will enjoy the escapades of Willig’s heroes and heroines as they employ espionage a la the Scarlet Pimpernel to thwart Napoleon’s crafty spies.

Austen readers will recognize a few slight similarities in Willig’s characters and plots in homage to Jane Austen. The last book in the series The Temptation of the Night Jasmine had allusions to Austen’s gothic parody Northanger Abbey. Her young impressionable heroine Charlotte was as Continue reading “A Preview of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 6), by Lauren Willig”

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 5), by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, by Lauren Willig (2009)In the fifth installment in her Pink Carnation Series, more Napoleonic espionage ensues as Lauren Willig spins her captivating tale of the exploits of Robert Lansdowne, the reluctant Duke of Dovedail, and his bookish young cousin Charlotte in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.

Set in England in 1803, Robert’s unexpected return to his ducal estate in Sussex after a decade in the Army in India rekindles Lady Charlotte’s idealistic fantasies. Fueled by her passion for romantic novels, such as Evelina, she is hopeful that Robert, her knight in shining amour, has come to rescue her from her from the embarrassment of three failed London seasons and her grandmother’s succession of unacceptable eligible bachelors.

However, Robert’s main objective is not romance, but to track down the spy who murdered his mentor during the Battle of Assaye. Even though their reunion sparks a quick romance, Robert abruptly ends their relationship and departs for London in pursuit of the elusive spy whose signature scent is the heady and Continue reading “The Temptation of the Night Jasmine: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 5), by Lauren Willig – A Review”

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