The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

7720480After a couple non-fiction books in a row, I decided to revisit an old favorite author. I used to get these books as soon as they came out, but I’ve fallen behind. I’ve got two more in the series to read to catch up and there’s another one coming out shortly, if I’m reading her blog correctly.

This book takes place back a ways in the series, but since I can hardly remember which heroines go with which heroes in which book, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. It stays with our historical couple from start to finish, not detouring back to the present with the grad student and her society boyfriend. They used to be my favorite part of this series, but I found I didn’t miss them at all. This book also features Ms. Jane Austen as Arabella’s childhood friend. I’m not an Austen fan myself, but it was a nice cameo nonetheless.

I really enjoyed how the romance between Arabella and Turnip seemed to develop organically. I mean, all of Willig’s books follow the same formula and you know that when the main girl meets a guy, that’s who she’s going to end up with. But these two really seemed to get each other and you can see how they could make it work. I finished this book in two days, but I wished I’d had more to read. (Turns out there’s a bonus chapter on her website.) I miss these two (and Sally!) already.

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The Betrayl of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig

8290999It’s been over two years since I last dove into a Lauren Willig historical fiction, and I think absence made the heart grow fonder. I didn’t really remember Penelope or the circumstances of her marriage, but luckily for me, that didn’t really matter. I didn’t have to keep straight in which book Charlotte or Henrietta, etc were featured as Penelope and Freddy were largely on their own in this book. The detour to colonial India was also a nice change of pace.

Also, for the first time, I actually preferred the period romance to that of Colin and Eloise. It was quite interesting to see Penelope falling for Captain Reid and dealing with that attraction while maintaining (and not maintaining) her place in society. Definitely more interesting that Eloise trying to set up Colin’s sister, now that she’s part of a couple and wants everyone to be coupled up. I found Eloise actually quite insufferable whenever she appeared on the page and the air of “mystery” around Colin’s family is bordering on dull at this point.

That said, I’m excited to catch up on the books that have come out in the years that have past and see what else lies in store for this group of characters.

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

3701590I finished this book about two weeks ago, but had yet to blog about it. It was kinda forgettable, so that’s probably why.

This book didn’t really tie into the rest of the canon created by Ms. Willig, so it seems like an unimportant sidebar. It’s vaguely entertaining, but I found myself skimming a lot. It had also been a while since I last read a book, so I had a hard time remembering which book/couple the main girl’s BFF is in this book. I think I need some kind of chart or something because it’s a little hard to keep up with. Plus the “cousin” thing really freaked me out. I know it was more of a polite term for mixed company, but still – ewww!

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig

1363577Three days behind schedule, I finished the last of the published books in this series. I didn’t love it, but it was still engaging and had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. Reading these three books in a row in a short period of time, I caught onto the pattern in Willig’s books: the first 19th-century female and male mentioned when grad student Eloise drifts away into their world will at first hate each other and then as they are forced together by circumstance or convention, they will declare their love around page 300 and commence with the romance novel sex. Perhaps all chick lit has this kind of formula, but by the time I finished this book, it was growing a little thin with me.

I was also a little disappointed that we didn’t get more from the Eloise/Colin storyline. I feel like the earliest books had about 1 Eloise/Colin chapter every 2-3 19th century chapter. But now it seems to go 6-8 chapters before we check back into the modern day romance. I wasn’t as interested in the romantic leads of this book, so the relative lack of Eloise/Colin was a little frustrating. Of course, what we did get was enlightening and answered a lot of questions from the first book.

Lauren Willig is still one of my favorite authors (even if I’m crazy jealous of her ability to simultaneously write a series of novels, complete law school AND a PhD [both from Harvard]), and I’m still eagerly awaiting the new novel in January. I think I’m just ready for a break from the Pink Carnation universe for a while.

The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig

25802Well, I don’t think I’ll have the last published book in the Pink Carnation series by tonight as I have just finished this one, but it was a valiant effort. AND by the time I finish Crimson Rose, I will have met last year’s total books read with a month left to go.

On to this book. Another great trip into the Pink Carnation universe, both for narrator Eloise’s potential romance with Colin and for two more nineteenth-century English society/league of spies dwellers. I was a little annoyed at the beginning of Letty and Geoff’s “romance” because it seemed like the misunderstanding was being deliberately misunderstood, but perhaps, I am just looking at it like a 21st century woman instead of in its “historical” context.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read, and I’m desperate to get into the next book. I’m not sure how I’m going to wait until January once I finished that one!