The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation Series #7)

The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation Series #7)

by Lauren Willig


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Despite her dear friend Jane Austen's warning against teaching, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a girls' school in Bath, just before Christmas. 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. When Turnip and Arabella find their Christmas pudding yielding a cryptic message, they are launched on a Yuletide adventure. Will they find poinsettias-or peril?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525951872
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 10/28/2010
Series: Pink Carnation Series , #7
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lauren Willig is the author of six previous Pink Carnation novels. She has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, though she now writes full time. Willig lives in New York City.


New York, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 28, 1977

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., Yale University, 1999; M.A., Harvard University, 2001

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In this seventh installment in the Regency romantic suspense series, Willig (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, 2010, etc.) refreshes her formula for a lighthearted and sweet holiday romance. In this holiday-themed volume, Willig smartly recharges the series by stepping back in time-the action of this installment takes place between the fourth and fifth books of the series. A shift of focus away from espionage and toward Jane Austen makes for a fun, fresh installment in a successful series."

"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. 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."

Customer Reviews

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The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation Series #7) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1803, Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh visits his sister Sally at the Climson Select Seminary for Young Ladies, a boarding school she attends in Bath. He meets and his attracted to the school's new mistress Arabella Dempsey who accepted a position there over the objection of her best friend Jane. Mistaking Turnip for the Pink Carnation, Arabella persuades the Fitzhugh siblings to help her with a bit of espionage at Farley Castle though he is unaware of why she invited him to join her there. As the trio works their mission, Arabella introduces blundering Turnip to her BFF Miss Austen. Feeling as if he fell off a wagon, Turnip works hard to prove he is worthy of Arabella. Satirizing the Pink Carnation series (see The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), Laura Willig provides a fresh entry due to Turnip who is a sort of Regency Inspector Clouseau. Although the espionage subplot is secondary as is the delightful Ms. Austen "correspondence" with Arabella and her unfinished novel as anchors rather than leads, fans will want to spend the twelve days of Christmas with Turnip and Arabella at Dovetail estate. Harriet Klausner
dissed1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig, is all anyone could ask for in a ripping good holiday whodunit. The novel fits seamlessly into the Pink Carnation series, revisiting several familiar characters and settings from prior works. Regency yuletide is a beautiful backdrop for Willig¿s mystery and an intriguing one too, given the international turmoil of the times.With no mother and an infirm father, placid Arabella Dempsey must seek employment at a girl¿s finishing school in Bath to earn her keep. Cautioned by her close friend, Jane Austen, Arabella is at first unenthusiastic about the idea; however, she soon becomes entangled in a rousing adventure involving plum puddings bearing secret messages, a missing notebook and young maidens hidingromantic trysts. Keeping her company and spurring Arabella on to delve deeper into the mystery is Turnip Fitzhugh, brother to one of Arabella¿s more outspoken students. Given Arabella¿s pretty face, ladylike deportment and surprising sense of fun, it isn¿t long before Turnip finds himself falling in love with the intelligent young teacher. But does she return his affections? You betcha. Though there¿s plenty of beating around the bush before either is entirely sure of the other.The two bungle about the English countryside, looking for the ne¿er-do-well who seems hell-bent on retrieving the list of French spies that has mistakenly fallen into Arabella¿s possession. Their sleuthing leads them to a romantic romp through an abandoned castle and among the refined rooms of Miss Climpson¿s Select Seminary for Young Ladies, before finally flushing out the culprit in the midst of the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale¿s Twelfth Night celebration. It¿s a narrow escape for Arabella, as she finds herself held at gunpoint, but with courage, a little luck and an airborne Christmas pudding, she and Turnip manage to maneuver out of the bullet¿s path and safeguard the list of Royalist spies for the British Empire. The Mischief of the Mistletoe is an utterly charming holiday story, both beguiling and spirited. Willig elegantly combines festivity and fun with political intrigue, making for a smart historical romance that offers the perfect ratio of adventure and affairs of the heart. Author Lauren Willig has done a laudable job of creating a breathtaking escape from the stress of holiday chaos that crowds lives every December. It¿s not necessary to have read any other volumes in the Pink Carnation series to enjoy this jolly gem. It can stand solidly on its own as a seasonal drama, but be forewarned: The Mischief of the Mistletoe is likely to ignite a keen yearning to explore similar mysteries from Willig¿s catalog. With this latest offering, Lauren Willig has proven herself the consummate Regency writer. There¿s no better gift for yourself or a treasured friend this holiday season.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The daughter of a vicar, Arabella had been the companion of a rich aunt, but when said aunt married a young man that had once appeared interested in Arabella herself, she was sent home in disgrace. Despite her friend Jane Austen's urging to the contrary, Arabella decides to become a teacher at a girl's finishing school, hoping that her position will allow her younger sisters to attend. Then she meets Turnip Fitzhugh - or rather, he bowls her over. Add to this a rather mysterious Christmas pudding that unexpectedly brings her and Turnip together once again, and let the shenanigans begin.A co-worker recommended this to me saying I might enjoy the witty repartee between characters. I did, though it was far to witty and a little silly to be realistic. It's light fun, perfect for the week before Christmas craziness of a moment to read here and there between errands and after work and when I generally didn't want a taxing read. Though not without faults, such as the sometimes ridiculous dialogue exchanges between characters, I enjoyed it enough to look up the rest of the series.
girlsgonereading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written in Austen-style, The Mischief of the Mistletoe is a great read. Lauren Willig based this novel on Jane Austen¿s The Watsons, and the reference is easily seen. All of these elements together made Mischief a fun addition to my holiday reading.As a newbie to the Pink Carnation series, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the compilations of Willig¿s style. Part mystery, part romance, and a lot of historical fiction Mischief is the best of each genre. I have never read a book before that combined these genres so well, and Mischief was just as funny as any Austen book.Similarly, Arabella is a likable character who I rooted for the entire time. At one point, she did frustrate me, and I was reminded of the middle of Pride and Prejudice. Because Willig uses an ominscent narrator you can easily see the error of Arabella¿s decisions. I understood her choices. I just wanted her to get with the guy already. But as soon as I remembered Pride and Prejudice and Austen, I felt better. Willig took her Austen style to the highest level, and I found the whole book a fitting tribute.
secretshelflife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The gist: Against her dear friend Jane Austen¿s advice, Miss Arabella Dempsey takes on what she anticipates to be a tame, respectable position ¿ schoolteacher at Miss Climpson¿s Select Seminary for Young Ladies. Never would she have expected to be proven so wrong. One day on the job finds Arabella embroiled in an decidedly unconventional investigation spanning castle ruins, drawing rooms, Yuletide balls, and grand estates with the help of a dashing, if somewhat bumbling, young gentleman. But nothing surprises this former wallflower more than the possibility that in the process of nabbing the elusive culprit, she may just nab herself a romance, too. (What did I tell you about holidays and package deals?)Okay, so¿ what exactly does The Mischief of the Mistletoe have to offer, you ask? What doesn¿t it have to offer would be a better question. Covert messages transmitted via Christmas pudding (inscriptions penned on the inside wrapping ¿ ingenious, no?), schoolmarms held at fake-sword point by rogue Christmas pageant wise men, a lavish twelve-day Christmas celebration riddled with overwrought waistcoats and intrigue, a thorough versing in authentic British slang (`bloody¿ is just the beginning; read this and you¿ll soon be spouting off such genuine Briticisms as `bally,¿ `jolly good,¿ and `deuced¿ with ease), a music master with an Italian accent as dubious as the mustachios adorning his lips, an elaborate and dangerous plot spun by an infatuated schoolgirl in pursuit of an ill-gotten pseudo-dowry to compensate for her impending disownment on the grounds of scandal and elopement (try saying that in one breath, I dare you), extensive vegetable-related humor at the expense of the male lead, Reginald ¿Turnip¿ Fitzhugh, and said male lead scaling the trellis of a girl¿s school at midnight with his reliable groom Gerkin standing watch.Phew. That was exhausting. Did I miss anything? Oh, but of course ¿ how I could I forget the deft, effortless linguistic stylings of Lauren Willig? The Mischief of the Mistletoe will wow you with such innovative wordplay as ¿deep, shallow breaths¿ and ¿in accord as an accordion.¿ Before you ask: No, your eyes aren¿t fooling you; those exemplary feats of figurative language really are preserved in print. The noble endeavor of better exhibiting the elegance of the English language is one no author can resist.That being said, I can¿t rag on Lauren too much. I¿ve been enjoying her Pink Carnation series since it debuted so many years ago with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, despite the fact that they¿ve gone steadily downhill since. After all, what¿s not to like? Intrigue, feisty heroines, floral spies, romance, Britain¿ they¿ve got it all. I relish a new Carnation installment the way one relishes sleeping in, a Starbucks pick-me-up, or re-watching a favorite movie: it¿s comfy, familiar, and a little indulgent. Whatever else one could say about it (the words `silly,¿ `farcical,¿ and `over-the-top¿ come to mind), reading The Mischief of the Mistletoe was a fun, frivolous, and festive way to unwind after finals.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been looking forward to reading this for months. Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit was nice enough to pass along an ARC copy she received and knew she wouldn't get around to reading. After I finished virtually kissing her feet, I immediately read it cover to cover. While I still have to claim The Betrayal of the Blood Lily my favorite of the series, this one is close to the top!All us loyal Pink Carnationites have been clamoring for Turnip to have his own book, and reading it was just as much fun as I expected it to be! He gains new depth and even - dare I say it? - proves that he does indeed have common sense. The fact that his open, honest, and fun-loving personality is the first thing one notices about him doesn't mean he is quite the idiot he is perceived to be. I was really disappointed that Eloise and Colin didn't make their normal appearance, but I understand that it wouldn't have worked too well because of series order. This book is the newest book to be published, but not the newest chronologically in the Eloise and Colin had to take a break. Now I'm even more eager to see them again in The Orchid Affair!I don't want to say too much more about the book since it isn't going to be published for a few more months, but I can promise that series fans will be thrilled with Turnip and Arabella. Lauren Willig never misses!
ccourtland on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have planned on reading Willig's series, but have missed the opportunity. This is a Christmas themed adventure, and I jumped into the fracas. I am a little disappointed. One of the main characters, Reginald ¿Turnip¿ Fitzhugh has a repetition problem with his language. He constantly says "deuced" and "ain't". I felt that "ain't" is not a word employed in 1803 England. The book hints at the problems of Napoleonic War in France, and makes light of beheadings. The main character, Arabella Dempsey, is a kind, but romantic soul. She falls into love with the intended husband of her aunt and then Turnip. Jane Austen and Arabella are childhood friends, and of course, Willig writes in a style reminisce of Austen. The book is more tongue and cheek, than a jaunt into history.
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is set in the historical portion of the Pink Carnation Universe. If you'd asked me before reading The Mischief of the Mistletoe which part I like better, the contemporary or the historical, I would probably have waffled a bit, then said the contemporary.Now I wouldn't hesitate. It's the historical!I really didn't remember Turnip Fitzhugh as a character, just that he was a bit dim, and seemed to have a knack of turning up at convenient (or inconvenient) times. Now the dimness is downright loveable-- he's very sweet, even if the consequences of his actions aren't always obvious to him.Arabella is a more traditional romance novel heroine-- smart and of a good family, but poor, ready to make her own way in life. She doesn't have much patience for this foppish fellow with too much time on his hands.The spy story was entertaining, fun edging towards silly, but it kept the plot moving along well. The secondary characters (those new to this book and those that carry over from the others) were fun to read. Jane Austen even has a bit part!The strength of this book was the two main characters. Arabella was everything that I typically like in romance lead, and I enjoyed reading about her coming to terms with her current life and with the attention Turnip paid her. Turnip was the true star for me-- watching his boyish enthusiasm in the spy hunt, his genuine affection for Arabella, his growing understanding of the implications of the differences between their positions in society, his falling head over heels for Arabella after he gets to know her.All in all, this was a very enjoyable read for me!
slanger89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as much as I have loved all of her other books in this series. The inclusion of Jane Austen in this storyline adds a lot of charm and humor for fans of Austen's work like myself. The present day storylne of Eloise which is in all the other books in this series is not in this book, however, I did not miss this part of the story. I liked being able to immerse myself totally in the past with this book, especially since it is set in Bath, England. Overall, this book was awesome and really funny; I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions.
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mischief of the Mistletoe is the latest adventure in the Secret History of the Pink Carnation series and this time, it's a Christmas romance! For those looking for the usual Lauren Willig fare, you'll find that this installment comes up a bit short, though it's still an amusing holiday read. Normally, Willig bounces between the historical love story that occupies a single book and the modern storyline that ties all the books together, but this time we simply have the love story without cuts to modern counterparts. Perhaps to make up for that, we have an intense reliance upon characters featured from previous books (and if you're like me, you might need a cheat sheet to remember who is who) coupled with a return to events from previous books to get another perspective on events that have already unfolded and match up some secondary characters.Arabella Dempsey is used to being a wallflower... she's used to being passed over and ignored, though it still hurts when the young man who had previously been flirting with her shows his true colors and marries her much-older, wealthy aunt. As Arabella had served as her aunt's companion for years, it was always assumed that the aunt might eventually adopt Arabella and so leave the girl her money -- and while Arabella isn't exactly a London debutante, it would certainly help, given her father's poor health and three younger sisters to care for. With financial and romantic dreams crushed, Arabella makes a hard decision -- she is going to teach. She gets herself a position at Miss Climpson's institution for young ladies and accepts that her social position is getting even lower for it, but whatever helps feed the family, right? Of course, what she doesn't count on is running into Reginald (aka "Turnip") Fitzhugh, a young man whose sister attends Miss Climpson's and who literally knocks into her and drops a Christmas pudding on her foot. He doesn't remember that he's already met (and danced with) Miss Dempsey, and probably wouldn't remember this encounter either, except that she chases after him with the forgotten Christmas pudding... and then she nearly has it stolen from her by some ruffian. Turnip helps Arabella to her feet yet again and when they discover that the muslin wrapping has a secret rendezvous time written in French, well... let's just say that Turnip won't be forgetting Arabella's name now as they make plans to figure out what plan is afoot. While Arabella assumes it's a young lady making plans to meet a lover, Turnip thinks there might be secret spy goings-on (after all, he may not be allowed to spy for the Pink Carnation, but he certainly tries to deflect attention with his outrageous wardrobe). They may not think they're getting any closer to solving the mystery, though they themselves seem to develop a certain closeness... but can social circles be overcome by the magic of Christmas puddings?It's a cute little romance, but quite honestly, the main storyline doesn't touch on the weird part. The thing is, Arabella's best friend is... Jane Austen. Um... yeah. I understand that Mischief of the Mistletoe is influenced by Austen's unfinished manuscript, The Watsons, but it's a little distracting to have Jane Austen as an actual character. I know, I know, fiction can do all kinds of things, but there's something about using Austen that just isn't cricket. It's one thing to attempt to finish an manuscript, it's another to involve the lady herself. Willig is quite delicate in her treatment of Austen, though, and doesn't really do anything out of character. Most of her meatier dialogue is modeled from her letters, and otherwise she's simply being a good friend to Arabella, engaged more in observation than any direct intervention. Fans of Willig will be amused at this small diversion and I will give Willig immense credit for the fact that her next real novel will be published in January 2011. So if this felt thin, we don't need to wait long for
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This installment in the Pink Carnation is different than all the others in that the modern day characters are absent. The entire story takes place in the early 19th century with amusing characters that have flitted in and out of the previous books.Turnip Fitzhugh and Arabella Dempsey are perfectly suited for each other because of how their personalities interact but what I enjoyed most was Turnip's realizations that the whole world didn't work the same for others as it did for him.This was a fun read as well as an entertaining love story. My favorite so far in the series.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to admitt that I was a little skeptical about Turnip Fitzhugh, series buffoon, as a romantic hero figure. After all, the man comes across as at least a little slower on the uptake than Maxwell Smart, and it's hard enough trying to figure out what Agent 99 ever saw in him. Happily my doubts were laid to rest. What Turnip lacks in brains, he makes up for with his enduring good nature, and sensible Arabella Dempsy is a perfect balance for him. Put them into the middle of an incredibly silly spy plot involving Christmas pudding, and the result is a wonderful screwball comedy. One of my new favorites in the series.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Turnip Fitzhugh gets his own book. This one is set only in the past, with no present storyline.Fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How can you not live Turnip? Wish I had a Turnip.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't expect a historical-fiction-mystery-romance to have you laughing, but I did. I always knew I liked Turnip. JANE AUSTEN! Worth it for that alone. And great news for Geoff and Letty!
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CordeliaCrandall More than 1 year ago
I loved this adorable Christmas romance featuring the unlikeliest of heroes, Turnip!  I definitely laughed out loud at the antics and was sad to see the novel end.  My only consolation is that Ms. Willig seems to have written one last scene for Turnip and Arabella.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago