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The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren…

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

by Lauren Willig

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Pink Carnation (7)

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4373035,972 (3.98)43



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A cozy mystery with a number of different plot twists that keep the reader entertained while only giving a brief glance to the reality of the life of a poor girl in early 1800's England.

Again, I was entertained by the events of this book, by the imagination and the ways in which it fit into what is obviously a larger corpus of the Pink Carnation series.

But given a proper editor's pen, how many times does the word "deuced" need to be on a page when thought by a male character? And why does the word "canoodling" even show up on these pages? These overuses and anachronisms really jarred me out of a space of enjoyment and brought my review down to two stars.

Ms. Arabella certainly has few options in her life, as she has spent 12 years as a companion to her elderly aunt, and being a teacher in a girl's seminary is probably her best lot. She can at least bring two of her sisters in to receive an education, since their ailing father has so little to give them. Enter one of her students, Sally, who is brother to the ongoing character Turnip, a few Christmas puddings, an ice castle, and young ladies who need a bit of adventure in their lives, and you have another installment in the series of the Pink Carnation. It is relatively rollicking good fun, and a nice book to read quickly during the Christmas season; just could have used some more editing. ( )
  threadnsong | Dec 23, 2016 |
This seventh book in the Pink Carnation series was a wild Christmas romp featuring puddings with hidden messages. Arabella Dempsey is in Bath looking for a position at a girl's school. After spending a number of years as companion to her aunt, her aunt has married a much younger man who had also raised Arabella's expectations but decided to go where the money was now. This leaves Arabella at loose ends since her expectations of an inheritance from her aunt will no longer happen.

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. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jul 3, 2016 |
This is my favorite book of this series so far. I read this out of order (I followed the author's recommended reading order), but I am really glad that I did. Turnip is my favorite hero and I loved Arabella. I laughed through so much of this book, which is always a plus. Also: Jane Austen as a character!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( )
  CarpeLibrum58 | Jun 4, 2016 |
This series is pure lightness and fluff, fun girly books with a touch of Jane Austen. In fact, The Mischief of the Mistletoe goes so far as to actually use Jane Austen as a secondary character. This book was slightly different from the others in that it didn’t carry two plotlines, one in the present, one in the past. This was all in the past as one of my favorite characters from previous books, Reggie ‘Turnip’ Fitzhugh finds and claims the love of his life. I actually liked both the main characters in this story and had fun rooting them on.

Set at Christmas time, involving a boarding school, messages delivered with Christmas puddings and a hunt for spies, there were times that this book read like a French farce. In fact, The Mischief of the Mistletoe is a merry romantic adventure that is both joyful and entertaining. This book put a smile on my face and reminded me how much I enjoy this series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 1, 2015 |
As I read this book, I remembered why I fell in love with the Pink Carnation series. I originally skipped over Turnip's book, because I hadn't known about its publication at first, and because I couldn't imagine Turnip as a romantic hero. I planned on returning and reading the book at some point, and since it is Christmas-themed, and it is Christmas time, I finally got around to it. I really enjoyed it, much more than I expected to.

Reginald Fitzhugh, better know to his friends and associates as Turnip, is regretting his promise to take a Christmas basket to his sister Sally at Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies. The quantity of unruly young girls unnerves him. As he is leaving, with the Christmas pudding his sister pressed on him, he bumps into Arabella Dempsey. She is not one of the students, but a new teacher about to assume her position as instructor. Arabella was her wealthy aunt's ward, until the elderly lady fell in love and married a man much younger than herself, ensuring that Arabella would see no inheritance. Even worse, the man had made intimations that he was interested in Arabella, before suddenly announcing his engagement to her aunt, and though they have offered to let her continue on with them, Arabella cannot abide the thought. Instead, she decides to pursue a profession, and on her first day at the school, she is knocked over by a distracted Turnip.

He hauls her back to her feet, ingeniously apologizing and asking her name, which Arabella bitterly informs him he should already know, since they have met. Turnip earnestly begs her pardon again, and they part ways. However, fate is not done with the two of them yet. After he leaves, Arabella notices that he dropped his pudding, and runs to return it. As soon as she exits the building, a man tries to steal the pudding away from her. Reggie, still close at hand, sees the young lady being attacked, and hurries over to lay the man out flat with a punch. The thief can't explain to them why a pudding was worth all that fuss, saying that he had been hired by a lady in the alley to steal it away, a person who is no longer around. Arabella and Turnip examine the pudding, and discover a message written in French on the inside of the muslin cover. They return to the school to mull over this odd turn of events, and Turnip's sister, along with her particular friends, are ecstatic. They know it must be spies. Since Turnip has been mistaken for the Pink Carnation, and Sally's friend is related (by marriage) to the Purple Gentian, they feel they are quite experts on the subject. Arabella and Turnip are certain it is all silly school girl nonsense, but they decide to play along, mainly to ensure that Sally doesn't try to run off and solve the mystery herself. The message informs them of a secret assignation at Farley Castle, and Arabella agrees to accompany Turnip to investigate.

Hilarious adventure and romance ensues. They discover another mysterious Christmas pudding, this one on a grave, and then find themselves immersed in a ridiculous night of of intruders and schoolgirls slinking about after dark. Turnip climbs a trellis to discuss everything with Arabella, but they kiss instead. Arabella realizes that they are getting far too close, and behaving well outside the requirements of the middle class moral code, so she declares a halt on the whole affair. She still considers the mess to be nothing more than a prank, but Turnip has come to believe that more serious matters lie beneath the distractions. He also doesn't understand Arabella's reticence, until she forces him to see that her position as a middle-class female is far different from that of a wealthy male. Though their feelings remain heated, they each keep their distance, until former promises constrain them to meet as guests of the Dowager Duchess. Forced to be together for a week, their mystery and their relationship intensify and resolve.

Every part of this story is madcap fun, from the outlandish start of the mystery in a Christmas pudding, to the final confrontation where Turnip disarms the bad guy with, of course, a pudding. The plot does have a serious edge, as the villains are willing to kill for their own selfish purposes, but the danger only adds zest to the romance and fun banter. I may have laughed reading this book more than with any other one in the series. The novel also completely transformed my mental image of Turnip, who has become one of my favorite Willig heroes, and I loved Arabella. I recently read one of Willig's stand alone novels, and while I enjoyed, it didn't have the same delight that each book in the Carnation series possesses. This one, in particular, was so frothy and fun that I was sad when it ended. I certainly am excited to find the next book in the series and continue the entertainment. ( )
  nmhale | Dec 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Willigprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my Tweedos
(You know who you are) &For all of you
who asked for a book about Turnip
First words
My dear Arabella,
Your letter took me quite by surprise this morning.
Thank you for your excellent suggestion regarding the hero in First Impressions. Can you really imagine I would change his name from Darcy to Parsnip?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this irresistible Regency Christmas caper, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a quiet girls' school in Bath, but she hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies. Guest appearances by Dempsey's best friend Jane Austen and characters from previous installments of the Pink Carnation series round out the laugh-out-loud holiday-themed romance of intrigue.… (more)

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