01 December 2011

The Mischief of the Mistletoe - Lauren Willig

Summary: Arabella Dempsey's dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she
accepts a position at the girls' school in Bath. She hardly imagines coming face-to-face with French aristocrats and international spies...
Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh - often mistaken for the elusive spy know as the Pink Carnation - has blundered into danger before. When Turnip and Arabella find a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message, they are launched on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens' modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Duke of Dovedale and an elaborate Christmas celebration.
Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella's and Turnip's hands in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?

Comments: Perfect for a winter read (even though it's not terribly cold here now). The story of the unassuming, but practical Arabella Dempsey and the handsome, rich, but slight quirky Turnip Fitzhugh is a lovely addition to the Pink Carnation pantheon. It's very interesting how this story folds into the Temptation of the Night Jasmine which of course, leads to The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. The back cover quotes "Pride and Prejudice lives on" and while I agree there is a classic quality to them, but it is not the best analogy I think. These have more mystery, more romance (read: almost sex), and are quite funny. Austen has a dry wit. It's just not quite a fair way to describe the books. I do tend to like the female characters, but Turnip is downright adorable. We all know some guy like him, blessed in the looks department which is good because he's a few tools short in the shed. Lovely story and a quick read for the holidays.

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