"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."
Loosely based on an unfinished Jane Austen novel, The Watsons, this holiday entry to Willig's Napoleonic-era series finds series character Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh and schoolteacher Arabella Dempsey stumbling across a Christmas pudding that may contain a hidden message of national importance. Willig is a talented scholar of the times as well as a gifted storyteller. Her latest will attract her "Pink Carnation" fans, readers who enjoy lighthearted historical fiction, and Austen aficionados. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/10.]
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.
It is Christmas, 1803, and the charming Arabella Dempsey is not looking forward to the holidays. The oldest daughter of an impoverished Bath parson, Arabella had been living in London with her well-to-do aunt. But not only has the aunt married a much younger officer—the Captain Musgrave, who had previously paid attention to Arabella—she has since made it clear that Arabella, after years of virtual servitude, will not inherit a fortune. Over her friend Jane Austen's objections, Arabella takes a teaching job in a girl's school, where she literally runs into the wealthy and handsome older brother of one of her charges, uncovering a spy plot involving encoded schoolbooks and a message wrapped rather stickily in a Christmas pudding. As the holidays begin, and Arabella's attendance is required at one last function, both espionage and romance unfold, all under the knowing eyes of Arabella's aspiring novelist friend. While Willig's series has been distinguished by its Austen-like wit and historical accuracy, its gimmick of upperclass spies in the Napoleonic Wars had grown increasingly strained. 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. She also changes the usual setup by substituting a goodhearted but clumsy fool as her hero. Although many assume the foppish Reginald Fitzhugh is in fact the fabled spy, the Pink Carnation, in part because of his ornate floral waistcoats, the aptly nicknamed Turnip is exactly what he seems, a sweet klutz. But a gentlemanly klutz who can win the heart of Willig's more intelligent heroine with his affable chivalry.
A shift of focus away from espionage and toward Jane Austen makes for a fun, fresh installment in a successful series.