Despite her dear friend Jane Austen’s warning against teaching, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a girls’ school in Bath, just before Christmas. She hardly imagines coming face-to-face with French aristocrats and international spies.
Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation-has blundered into danger before. When Turnip and Arabella find their Christmas pudding yielding a cryptic message, they are launched on a Yuletide adventure. Will they find poinsettias-or peril?
I learned of this book from Chris, when she reviewed the book two years ago, and got me interested. I’ve forgotten all about it really, when it came up in a conversation with her last year. I borrowed the book, but was only able to read it recently.
And it was deuce a good recommendation indeed. I am a sucker for unconventional lead heroes, and Turnip is all that and more. He was not a knight but a court jester, as he is quoted in the book. He was not the sharpest weapon in the armory, not all swagger and dashing, nor gifted with the wittiest of tongues; but he was still kind, charming, and ready to give aid to anyone who needed it, and in the process climbed atop a trellis and into your heart.
The heroine Arabella is a good match as well. Being intelligent and able to banter with Turnip, which I especially love. I could also easily relate to her family concerns, and for her own path.
There’s still the mystery of course, and it was entertaining, and made me think for a bit. But it was Turnip, and Arabella, and their chemistry that held this story together, and made me love it. At its heart, this is a lighthearted romcom, and it had me smiling widely at the end of it.
I applaud Willig for creating a lead hero like Turnip and still make him swoon-worthy. And really, “thank you.” Now, I can’t wait to read the rest of the Pink Carnation books and meet all the other characters.
Rating: ?]10 of 10 stars [