Archive for the ‘Pink I’ Category

Pinkorama #2: The Secret History of the Peep Carnation

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

In our second Pinkorama, Carla and Rowan bring you Miss Gwendolyn Meadows, her parasol at the ready, in The Secret History of the Peep Carnation.

It’s 1803. After many stifling years in her brother’s home (is that chimney smoking?), Miss Gwendolyn Meadows is seizing her chance to escape into the world as chaperone to her young neighbors, Miss Amy Balcourt and Miss Jane Wooliston.

Little does she know just how useful that parasol will prove to be….

Maria Miss Gwen in the Secret History of the Peep Carnation

Thank you, Carla and Rowan, for this glimpse of Miss Gwen before she became the purple power we know so well! (Also, don’t you love that room and that fireplace?)

Stay tuned for Pinkorama #3, coming up tomorrow….

Pink Carnation: $2.99!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

They seek him here; they seek him there… and, in e-book, the Pink Carnation is currently $2.99 everywhere!

I’m not quite sure how long this price drop will last (the author is always the last to know), but, for the moment, the first book in the Pink Carnation series is $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google, and iBooks.

So if there’s someone you know who has been wanting to give the series a try, now may be the time….

Pink 1 cover

And while you’re in a swashbuckling mood, the first of Donna Thorland‘s Renegades of the Revolution series, The Turncoat, is also on sale for $2.99 in e on Kindle, Nook, et al. You can find out more about The Turncoat here.

Monday Give Away: En Français!

Monday, July 10th, 2017

In honor of France’s upcoming national holiday, I’m giving away copies of my books in French!

Would you like to read the first two Pink books or The Ashford Affair en français? Then now’s your chance! I’ll be giving away one set of all three here today and another on Facebook later this week.

Pink France La_mysterieuse_histoire_de_l_oeillet_rose Black Tulip France Ashford France paperback

So, for a chance to win The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, and The Ashford Affair in French, here’s your question: what’s your favorite book or movie set in France?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

En français!

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Calling all francophiles and francophones: there are now two editions of La mystérieuse histoire de l’Œillet Rose! (Aka The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.)

If you’re in France, keep an eye out for the brand new French edition at your local librarie on April 14th!

Pink France La_mysterieuse_histoire_de_l_oeillet_rose

The Masque of the Black Tulip should be following shortly….

And here’s a quick interview en français avec les Lectrices Diva about Pink, et al.

Meanwhile, if you’re in French Canada, you can find the first three books in the Pink series looking like this:

Pink I French Black Tulip French Emerald Ring French

Which cover of La mystérieuse histoire de l’Œillet Rose do you like best?

Pink France La_mysterieuse_histoire_de_l_oeillet_rose Pink I French

En français!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque of the Black Tulip are now available en français!


Pink I French Black Tulip French

Does anyone recognize those covers from somewhere else?

If you’re looking for more en français, you can find The Ashford Affair, aka Ashford Park, in both trade paperback and en poche.

Ashford France Ashford France paperback

Pink on NPR!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

So many thanks to the folks at NPR (but especially reviewer extraordinaire, Bobbi Dumas) for this lovely farewell to the Pink Carnation series.

LW20 (4)

If you had told me, ten years ago, that the Pink books would be getting this kind of send-off on National Public Radio, I would have snorted coffee up my nose. Of course, if you’d told me then that there would be twelve Pink books, I would have snorted coffee, so, there you go….

Thank you!!

NPR’s Top 100 Romances

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

It’s not an easy task whittling the vast field of romance down to one hundred titles– but the specialists over at NPR have done an amazing job of picking some of the stand-outs in the field.


Reading this list is like a trip along my bookshelves: M.M. Kaye, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Susanna Kearsley, Judith Merkle Riley, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins….

And I’m so very thrilled that The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is one of the 100!

Pink 1 cover

(My sixth grade self is hyperventilating a little at being on a list with M.M. Kaye, Victoria Holt, et al.)

So if you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, check out NPR’s top 100 romances!

Pinkorama #5: “Napeepleon Meets Miss Gwen”

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

So many apologies, all! I’d meant to post our fifth and final Pinkorama yesterday, but life (aka toddler) got in the way (and by “in the way”, I mean “demanded the computer”).

Here, belatedly, is Candace and Cassandra’s Peep masterpiece, “Napeepleon Meets Miss Gwen”. The creators informed me: “Cassie decided in honor of the 10th Anniversary we needed to go with a scene from the book that started it all. So the cast of characters that made it into this scene are Amy, Richard, Hortense, Josephine, Napoleon, Miss Gwen, the lady fainting in the officer’s arms, Augustus, and Jane (sneaking out).”

Here’s the group shot (or, as I tend to call it while I’m writing them, mob scene):

C&C 1 Group Shot

You can see the Purple Gentian (in purple!) checking out that intriguing Miss Amy Balcourt as she makes her curtsy to the First Consul (aka Napoleon):

C&C 5 Amy-Richard-Bonaparte

Meanwhile, that long-winded poet, Augustus Whittlesby (complete with puffy white shirt) follows Amy’s cousin, Miss Jane Wooliston (who is, appropriately, a peep of pink sugar). Has he found a new muse?

C&C 3 Jane-Augustus

Josephine and her daughter, Hortense, receive their guests graciously:

C&C 4 Josephine-Hortense

(Don’t you love that tiny, bunny cameo on Hortense’s dress?)

Napoleon, on the other hand, doesn’t. Miss Gwen takes umbrage and whaps him with her purple parasol:

C&C 2 Gwen-Napoleon

Shocked at such lese-majeste, a lady faints dead away into a gentlepeep’s arms:

C&C 6 fainting lady

I love the detail on these! The tiled floors, the tiny portraits…. The Tuileries Palace never looked quite so elegant in candy form before. Thank you, Candace and Cassandra!

It’s also just such fun to get to revisit so many old friends: Richard, Amy, Jane, Gwen, Augustus, Hortense…. As we wrap up the series, I’d forgotten how many of them were present right from the beginning.

Candace and Cassandra tantalizingly informed me that, “a character from another author’s book sneaked into the yellow salon”.

Is it the Peep with the red hair? Maybe the Scarlet Pimpernel? Or someone else? I’m still guessing…. Can you figure out the character and author?

So many thanks to Cassandra and Candace for a beautiful scene and an intriguing mystery!

Pink Anniversary Guest Post from Jessica– and Give Away!

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

As we enter the final week of Pink Anniversary Month, we have a final guest post!

This one is from Jessica, whom I have now had the great privilege of knowing for nearly as long as there’s been a Pink series.

But I’ll leave that to Jessica to tell….

Pink 1 coverSummer, 2006…I was preparing to start a job taking students to Antibes, France, for a month and looking for reading material to take with me. I perused Borders’ “Buy 2, get the 3rd free” table and a book caught my eye…The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I have always enjoyed historical fiction and romance but at that point in my life it was not the major part of my reading list. (I didn’t even know what “The Regency” was until I became involved with this community of Lauren’s readers!). In other words, I’m not sure what made me pick up the book…the lovely fine-art cover? The enticing title? The color pink? At any rate, I did pick it up and I turned it over. And I read the blurb…a graduate student doing research in London.

At that time I was four years into my own doctoral program, not at Harvard but at the University of Illinois; not in history, but in French and second language acquisition. While I don’t remember why I picked the book up, I remember very clearly the thought that went through my mind as I read that blurb and met Eloise Kelly for the first time: “Finally! A book about my people!” Never had I seen a novel about a graduate student. I couldn’t not buy it.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation accompanied me on that trip to France. Pre-Kindle, the few books you took abroad with you, you re-read, even if you were only gone for a few weeks (at least if you read as quickly as I do!). I remember reading it in my un-air-conditioned bedroom, on the plane, in the Paris hotel. Even now, thinking of Pink I transports me back to the little apartment I shared with another trip chaperone, in that hot, dim upstairs bedroom, exhausted after a long day of teenagers and the southern France sun.

From the first page, when Eloise fell into a fellow Tube passenger’s lap, I was hooked. Not only did the historical story fascinate me, but the author actually got the graduate school part right! Despite the vast difference between the Ivy League and the Big 10, Eloise’s experiences resounded with me because I could see many of them happening to me. Her hours in Widener Library, my hours searching the various levels of UIUC’s Graduate Library (which I firmly believe were the inspirations for Dante’s levels of Hell); her search for primary sources, my struggle for participants; the uncertainty of Life After Humanities PhD. And, of course: the glory (struggle) and joy (pain) of teaching undergraduates.

Fast forward a few months, at a public library, in the W section. Lo and behold, there was another book by the same author…similar title: The Masque of the Black Tulip…ANOTHER BOOK! It’s a series! From there, I searched the internet for information on Lauren Willig…and I found this website, this community, and Lauren herself. It’s a magical aspect of the internet to be able to interact with our favorite authors, to connect with the minds that bring us the stories that captivate us. I adore reading outtakes, participating in contests to choose flower names or design mugs and tote bags, and hearing about Lauren’s upcoming projects.

Emerald PaperbackAlthough Eloise and I have taken different paths ultimately, I continue to feel that Lauren wrote me a literary soul sister. I recognize myself in her struggles with her dissertation advisor, the ache of a long-distance relationship, and, again, Life After Humanities PhD. I recognize her anxiety and awkwardness and tendency to fall over, knock down, or bump into whatever there is around her. And we’re both redheads with curly hair. (When her blind date at the Indian restaurant questions a redhead named Kelly siding with the English over the Irish in The Deception of the Emerald Ring, I was reminded that I’m a French professor who is a dedicated reader of a series where the French are constantly insulted and thwarted).

Lauren and her books have seen me through dissertation-writing and defense, my visiting professor position, being hired on the tenure track at the same university, and through the tenure track as I await the final two votes for my promotion. Fortuitously, she always seems to have a book coming out when I need a reward to inspire me to finish a paper or project or just another semester of undergraduate teaching (The Other Daughter is coming out in June, in time for my birthday – thanks, Lauren!). In August 2008, I had just found out that a professor on my dissertation committee whom I particularly liked would have to Plumeriaparticipate remotely in my defense. I permitted myself an afternoon of total breakdown, in the form of re-reading The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, which had come out earlier that year. I read The Betrayal of the Blood Lily over ginger cats cookies and Indian food, wearing a pink scarf, in a fit of silly themed-ness during my first year on the tenure track. I’ve re-visited my favorite couples, Miles/Henrietta and Geoffrey/Letty, so many times that I fear for my copies of The Masque of the Black Tulip and The Deception of the Emerald Ring. As the tenure track dragged on, I had to abandon my habit of indulging in a full afternoon to read new books in one sitting, so The Garden Intrigue, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, and The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla have all been read in bits before bed, which gave me a chance to truly savor them.

From finding The Secret History of the Pink Carnation all those years ago, I’ve gained an online community I enjoy; an entrée and guide into the world of romance and historical fiction, along with the intellectual tools to defend the genre; and a smattering of botanical knowledge. Not to mention, of course, the gleaming row of books on my shelf with flower titles and pretty covers. And in Lauren and her generosity in her web presence, I’ve gained a friend who understands what my life was like in graduate school and wrote about it.

In French, there is a phrase that perfectly sums up my relationship with Lauren: lectrice inconditionelle, unconditional reader. If she writes, it I will read it. All because she wrote a novel about “my people.”

First of all, can we have a big cheer for Jessica for making it through and achieving tenure? Huzzah! And if the Pink books helped you to procrastinate– I mean motivate! Yes, motivate– your way through that, then I am very proud of the small role the Pink books have played in your success. Eloise salutes you. (And Miles offers a ginger biscuit.)

It means so much to me that the grad school experience in the books rang true. As a grad student, nothing maddened me more than books in which the heroine or hero was theoretically a grad student (often a Harvard grad student, since Harvard seems to occupy a peculiar place in the national imagination) and yet did very un-grad-student-like things, like completing an entire PhD in three years, hopping fields at will (an expert on the Italian Renaissance one day and Stuart England the next), or staying at the Georges Cinq.

I wanted a book that would speak to the real grad school experience (with a bit of, “hey! there’s a whole cache of never-before-seen papers!” wish fulfillment). I was fortunate, during the writing of this book, to have a phalanx of grad student friends who would sit with me at Burdick’s or Peets’ in Harvard Square and egg me on with suggestions like, “Oooh, oooh, add something about how advisors never reply to emails!” Or “What about when you go on dates and guys make snide comments about your field?”

To my grad school friends: I have tried, diligently, to incorporate all of those suggestions. If there were gripes I left out, Eloise and I both apologize.

It was the grad student element that drew Jessica to the books. What was it that captured your imagination?

One person who comments will be chosen at random to receive a Pink Anniversary Mug.

Also… I seem to have a number of unclaimed prizes piling up here! If you’ve contacted me about a prize and not received a response, please, please let me know in the comments. (In which case, I’ll know that something is wrong with my email and can fix it.)

A Guest Post From Rachel

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Welcome to the first of the Pink Anniversary guest posts! Rachel was kind enough to share her memories and thoughts about the Pink series, and so, without further ado, I’m going to turn the podium over to Rachel for a trip down Pink memory lane….

I am so honored to have a guest post on Lauren’s website! This medium is perfect because readers won’t get distracted by my fangirl squeals or nervous laughter… *ha ha ha*

I first discovered The Pink Carnation series in high school, as a sophomore starting to forge my identity, and using books as my guide to self-discovery. Wandering around in my favorite independent bookstore one spring day in 2006, I was using the oft- condemned method of finding a new book: by which cover intrigued me most. My attention became riveted on a gorgeous spine with pink letters… The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. The front cover was even more promising and as I read the blurb on the back I decided to purchase the book. But HEY! It looks like a series, I’ll buy the next one too! There was no way I could pass it up.

My mother has blessed me with many things: her height, her wit, and her love of British literature and their accompanying BBC miniseries. So when I recognized the reference to the Scarlet Pimpernel in Lauren’s book it felt like kismet.

The sun seemed to shine brighter and the air seemed to blow more sweetly as I walked down the cobblestone streets with my new treasures. The details are hazy about where I sat (or which homework I neglected) while reading these books but I know that I averaged one a day and was laughing constantly. All I could talk about during lunch with my friends was the new series I’d started.

I never read Harry Potter growing up so I missed out on the wait-all-night-for-the-book-to-come-out-and-then-call-in-sick-to-read-it-right-away craze, so pre-ordering the latest book in a series or going to the bookstore on book launch day was a new experience for me. It was as if I had joined a new group of friends: Lauren, Eloise, Amy, Henrietta, and the other heroines as time went on. (Except maybe Mary… we definitely would not see eye to eye.) The brilliant writing of the series heralded a brand-new truth for me that proved to be very formative. Smart women could write, or read, anything they wanted and still sound intelligent! Romance novels were foreign to me as a 16 year old so the Pink Carnation series was my first foray into bodice-ripping, bosom-heaving fun. But the obvious research that went into the books coupled with Lauren’s clever prose erased my preconceived notions of the Romance Novel.

For me, the series was a metaphor for being a woman: a woman who could be comprised of all sorts of things and not fit into a specific category (think Alanis Morissette’s lyrics “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover…”). It was validation that I could be whoever I wanted to be and to a teenager with lukewarm self-confidence that was exactly what I needed to hear. Um, read. So I let my freak flag fly and aced my classes while laughing obnoxiously about off color jokes. I still read Austen and Dickens but I expanded to some of the contemporary romance authors suggested on Lauren’s website. I embraced my offbeat side and learned to love the word “juxtaposition.”

When Lauren mentioned on her website that for the “Crimson Rose” book tour she would be stopping in Ann Arbor, I was elated. I live on the other side of Michigan, about a two hour drive one way, but a road trip to see a favorite author was just the thing I’d enjoy and I knew I would not be disappointed. And I wasn’t. Lauren was vivacious and kind and it was so inspiring to think how much she’d accomplished not only as an author but also as a student (hello, two Ivy Leagues!) and lawyer. Yet another example of a woman who doesn’t live in a jello mold. At her next Ann Arbor book tour Lauren remembered me- and as a bibliophile (especially one who reads a lot of posthumous works) a living author is a rockstar. And a rockstar who recognizes said bibliophile is nothing short of amazing. The Kerrytown Bookfest panel Lauren was on this past fall was comprised of similar women who write strong female protagonists. Being able to read Lauren’s books (or those from a similar authoress) is a repeated affirmation that who I am is pretty cool. For this reason I read, reread, and recommend Lauren’s books. And, of course, to laugh and swoon in equal measure at men in knee breeches.

Thank you so much for this, Rachel. It means so much to me to know what the Pink books are to you– because I’m that bibliophile, too, with my own cache of Books That Made Me Me. It’s the most amazing thing in the world to stumble upon a book or series of books that really speaks to you. And more amazing still to know that your books were those books.

Happy ten years of Pink!