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The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas Hardcover – October 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The delightful latest entry in the Pink Carnation series finds bumbling Turnip Fitzhugh in over his head when he visits sister Sally at boarding school, where a chance encounter with school mistress Arabella Dempsey lures the siblings into a complex web of espionage and derring-do. Guest appearances by Dempsey's best friend Jane Austen and characters from previous installments of the series round out the laugh-out-loud holiday-themed romance of intrigue. Readers familiar with the series will relish this newest installment and rejoice that Turnip has finally been given his due and a wonderful foil in Arabella. While readers never feel that the espionage aspect would actually put anyone in real danger, it definitely makes for an exciting story. (Oct.) (c)
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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. --Kristine Huntley
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This is delightful, and despite the fun completely touches my heart. I find myself laughing, swooning, and shedding tears throughout. This glorious story turns out to be what the world needed, and includes Christmas pudding as a projectile weapon, spies, and Jane Austen as a secondary character. This could be read as a standalone. I also recommend the audio book.
Almost the first person Arabella meets in Bath is Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh who literally sweeps her off her feet. But, being a gentleman, he quickly helps her back up. Turnip's sister is a student at the school where Arabella is now a junior mistress. Also at the school is Lizzy Reid whose brother we met in THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY.
Unlikely as it seems, French spies are also in the picture searching for a list of Crown agents that the father of one of the other students lost at the school. Arabella and Turnip are quickly drawn in on a hunt for spies.
Lots of characters from earlier books in the series make appearances in this one and Turnip, who has been a comedic side character in earlier books, finally gets a chance to show his true heroic self. The dialog in this one was often quite witty. The whole story had a lot of humor but also a very sweet romance.
The only thing I missed from this episode of the Pink Carnation series was a plot featuring Colin and Eloise in the present.
Here is a little sample of the humor that is found in this book. "As he clasped her right hand with his left, prancing in a circle with Danforth and Lucy Ponsonby, she smiled up at him and unselfconsciously gave a little puff of breaath to blow a stubborn lock of hair out of her eye.
It was the most uncously seductive thing he had ever seen. Turnip nearly lost his foorint.
Of course at this point, she could be debone a kipper with a fish knife and he would find it seductive, he was that far gone."
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