Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Dutton, 2010
325 pages
Historical; Romance; Jane
4/5 stars

Source: Won from Lizzy J at Historically Obsessed; also a cute ornament.

Summary: Arabella Dempsey is in financial straits so she applies for a position at a girls' school where she meets 'Turnip' Fitzhugh, older (wealthy) brother of one of the students.  They stumble on a mysterious note and begin investigating espionage but they also start thinking about romance.

Thoughts: Apparently many people have been asking for a Turnip Fitzhugh story; I was not one of them but I have nothing against a Turnip romance.  I was surprised at how much of a hero Turnip turned out to be-he followed the trope of wealthy man overlooks poor spinster and then is amazed at how he did that because she is in fact so wonderful.  I'm a big fan of that trope and Arabella was a witty, lovely heroine who very much deserved her happy ever after.

I thought the spy denouement was a bit shoehorned in; I had almost forgot about it because I was so wrapped up in the romance.  Of course, all of the novels need to connect to the anti-Napoleon espionage but this one was pretty lame.  It could have worked as a straight romance in the vein of Georgette Heyer without the spying.  I also thought the language was odd and too British. I don't know if that makes sense but it seemed different from the other Pink Carnation novels and not what I expected.  I didn't mind it but I found it a bit overwhelming.

I did miss checking in with Eloise and Colin but there was the brief appearance of Jane Austen so that makes up for it.  Plus at the end there is a list of the other characters and their books, which I found very helpful.

Overall: Charming!

Cover: I don't know about the girl on the cover but I like the ivy surrounding the whole thing.


  1. I can't believe I haven't read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation yet! I really like your review, it makes me feel interested in the story. I love heroines like Arabella (love the name!) and heroes like Turnip.

  2. Thanks for the review. This book was in several giveaways but always with restrictions but yours is one of the first reviews that have come out!


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