Author Lauren Willig
Set between the fourth and fifth novels in her charming Pink Carnation series, Willig offers up a holiday tale centered around Turnip Fitzhugh, the bumbling but well-meaning nobleman who is often mistaken for the English spy known as the Pink Carnation. Turnip isn’t looking for trouble when he visits his younger sister at her boarding school, but when he literally runs into Arabella Dempsey, a pretty young teacher, the two find themselves drawn into international intrigue via an unlikely source: a message written in French on the wrapping of a Christmas pudding. Turnip’s own limited experiences with espionage lead him to want to check it out, and Arabella agrees to go along. What seems like a frivolous endeavor soon proves to be something else entirely when Turnip learns of a missing list of English spies in France and Arabella is attacked after a school play. Forget all the Austen updates and clones—Willig is writing the best Regency-era fiction today. This delectable, exciting holiday tale will appeal to longtime fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Review: Who better to snag the lead in a romantic comedy than Turnip our favorite vegetable from the Pink Carnation series! What a delight this book was to read. It’s an absolutely enchanting holiday mystery complete with intrigue, parties, pretty ladies and diabolical Christmas puddings. Admittedly, I am already a fan of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series, but I found this book, which was cleverly squeezed between The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and The Betrayal of the Blood Lily to be my favorite thus far. I had nearly forgotten just how addicting these reads could be and I am more than eager to jump into the next adventure. In a previous tale, Mr. Fitzhugh makes an appearance as a supporting character and throughout comes across as ridiculous. I’m pleased to say that he remains ridiculous, but in the most charming way imaginable and that Arabella compliments him perfectly. Willig makes a match that even the Dowager of Dovedale would approve.
I suggest reading the author’s note before beginning the story. It is most helpful. Also, if it has been some time, or if you haven’t read the other Pink Carnation stories, I suggest reviewing the character list and descriptions also located in the back of the book. It’s a very nice refresher.
A special cameo celebrity makes an appearance in this book, a Miss Jane Austen. I must say it takes guts to include a national treasure that every country wishes they could claim. Purest might be put off and I was taken back in the beginning, but Willig works the star nicely into the tale. I felt Willig honored Austen’s style and consider The Mischief of the Mistletoe a light-hearted tribute to her champion influence.