The Mischief of the Mistletoe

the mischief of the mistletoeWhen I heard that Lauren Willig was releasing a special Pink Carnation Christmas book, The Mischief of the Mistletoe, I was excited. No, I was beside myself. You see, The Mischief of the Mistletoe isn't just any Pink Carnation book it's a TURNIP book.

I unabashedly adore Turnip*. He's probably my favourite Pink Carnation character. I've been saying for a long time that there is no way that Turnip is the quite idiot that everyone thinks he is and I've been proven right. Turnip is not just a non-idiot, he is awesomeness.

The image that Turnip presents to society is of a flamboyantly dressed airhead -- a very handsome flamboyantly dressed airhead. Due to his habit of decking himself out in carnations he's been mistaken for the Pink Carnation a time or two, including a hairy encounter with the Black Tulip. Turnip's got looks, he's got money all he's missing, according to many in society, is a title and a brain. During all the books everyone discusses how utterly devoid of thought poor Turnip is, which in a world of spies can only mean one thing - it's an act. A very, very good act. And it is...mostly. Turnip, like many a person, does have the odd moment where he's a bit distracted and doesn't do things properly but honestly who among us has never done that?

Meanwhile Arabella Dempsey is a character I'm fairly certain we've never seen before. It's possible that she's been tucked away in the background of one of the ballroom scenes in a previous book but she's not someone I remember. She is, however, a friend of Miss Jane Austen. Yes, that Jane Austen. The Pink Carnation series is set in Austen's time so it's really only right that she makes a cameo.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe starts off in Bath with Arabella resigning herself to becoming a teacher and Jane trying to talk her out of it. Arabella happens to offer up her services at the same school that Turnip's younger sister Sally attends. A chance meeting in the hallway, a Christmas pudding and then next thing you know Turnip and Arabella are hot on the track of a potential spy...and they just might discover some romance along the way.

I loved this book. Loved. Yes, mostly because of Turnip but Arabella was no slouch herself. Sally was an excellent character and I do hope she makes an appearance in later Pink Carnation books. I can totally see her running after spies. She's kind of Amy-like. She's also cause a fair share of havoc in the ballroom I'm sure.

And ok I'll admit myself to be being the tiniest bit disappointed. Part of me was sort of hoping for a Jane/Turnip relationship and now I have no idea who Jane is going to end up with. Jane needs to end up with someone and if it's not Turnip I have no idea who it's going to be.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe is a great Christmas read and I'll be thinking of it and Turnip as I make plum pudding this year. Because pudding is a token of love. Turnip says so.

* I adore the character. I'm really not fond of the root vegetable at all.