I first discovered this series (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation) back in 2006 when my best friend and I found one single copy in a $4 bin at Borders. (Note: I found both of favorite fiction authors this way! Always look!) Anyway,
she was taking a bus trip but I wanted to read it. So, she bought it, I read it/loved it and then she read it. I remember our conversation as something like, "There should be more of these" and lo and behold--there were! Over the years since then, Ashley and I gathered the books as we found them and now we are officially only short the newest book, The Orchid Affair. We live states away, so the trading is sometimes difficult BUT I am slowly reading and thoroughly enjoying. When a friend said Lauren Willig would be here for the Orchid tour, I jumped at the chance to go.
|Lauren & me...|
She started the night off with a reading of three passages from The Orchid Affair. The storyline for Orchid is completely enchanting--as were the pieces she read. I can't wait to get there. I'm only on book 3: The Deception of the Emerald Ring but I'm looking forward with excitement! It was great. Lauren was funny, charming, wore the cutest dress and entertained us with her stories of falling in the Boston snow, Paris policemen and claims of being nothing like character Eloise (despite both women studying history at Harvard, &going to England to work on a dissertation.)
Lauren said of Orchid, "It's a different book. Paris in January--and no one is English." She said Orchid--as well as any book/movie about nannies--follows two rules of The Sound of Music. This book is "Sound of Music meets James Bond." Rule 1: The nanny must inform the leader of the house that she disapproves of the way the children are raised/treated or the upkeep of something in the house. Rule 2: She must attend an awkward party where she feels inadequate and under-dressed. Here's the description to further pique your interest!
Laura Grey, a veteran governess, joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling exploits in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation. She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of Andre Jaouen, right-hand man to Bonaparte’s minister of police. Jaouen and his arch rival, Gaston Delaroche, are investigating a suspected Royalist plot to unseat Bonaparte, and Laura’s mission is to report any suspicious findings. At first the job is as lively as Latin textbooks and knitting, but Laura begins to notice strange behavior from Jaouen—secret meetings and odd comings and goings. As Laura edges closer to her employer, she makes a shocking discovery and is surprised to learn that she has far more in common with Jaouen than she originally thought.
After her readings, she took some q&a from guests.
Q: Will any of the books feature Hortense Bonaparte?
Hortense actually started course Lauren took toward this series because of a mini-series she watched in 5th grade and loved. Said she even wrote a novel in high school about Hortense. She also said ninth book featured Bonaparte--as well as an American in Paris--but nothing about Hortense. "Someone should write it!"
Q: How many books will there be?
At one point she said six...and this is eight. So, she wasn't saying definitely but maybe 15. "The last three will draw the characters together."
Q: Will more of the books take place in other countries?
Lauren said she'd love to--especially doing something in Latin America because Bonaparte's reign even stretched there. Book 10 is Tommy Fluellen book and takes place in Wales. She explains that in 1804, there was an underground revolution group and the first railroads were tested in 1805. Both of those aspects can appear in the book. She also said Jane could possibly go to Italy in her book during the Napoleonic Wars.
Q: What is Colin's mystery?
She didn't tell us. She did say three things. 1) He has multiple. 2) He may be a spy--or he may not be. It can go either way. 3) There are more secrets to come out. "That family has secrets in the closet like others have skeletons!" She also mentioned that she'd love to write a spin-off murder mystery book featuring Colin and Eloise as murder suspects. "It may not happen but the person wouldn't be a surprise and it would deserved."
Q: Will August W. have a book? (I didn't catch his name--if anyone knows it!)
His book is book 9! Most of the chapters begin with verses that he likes to write (poorly!) He receives mysterious advice that Napoleon has a secret device and August wants to get it. He secures an invitation by helping a girl named Emma write masques--it's disastrous since August can't write his own. She also tells us that Gwen is featured as a pirate queen and reminds the children to "pillage before you burn."
Sounds like fun! I can't wait to get through the series. If you get a chance to see Lauren Willig or read her books--you should do it! They will not disappoint.
(Order: Pink Carnation, Black Tulip, Emerald Ring, Crimson Rose, Night Jasmine, Blood Lily, Orchid Affair.)