Things I love in books (all books, but most especially romances):
- Continuing Sagas – Bring me back to revisit a couple whose journey to happily ever after I’ve already witnessed, or a family whose tree branches I have watched sprout up, and I’m yours.
- When minor characters become too big for their britches and force their authors to tell their stories.
Luckily, The Mischief of the Mistletoe has both of these things.
While I love the Pink Carnation series – with its mix of espionage in Jane Austen drawing-room days (a la The Scarlet Pimpernel) and its contemporary plot about a young female researcher on the hunt for the true identity of said Pink Carnation, and a handsome man with family secrets to keep hidden and letters to recover – I will admit to being more than a few books behind the current release. (Which I blame on both my never-ending TBR mountain and a propensity to re-read an entire series in preparation for the latest release.) But that didn’t stop me from enjoying Mistletoe, which Goodreads tells me is #7 in the series, falling side by side to the action in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, but from a different perspective. (Goodreads also tells me there are now 11 books in the series, so I am further behind than I imagined. Shocker.)
Mischief is the tale of Mr. Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh – who was once or twice mistaken for the Pink Carnation himself – and is often haphazardly included in the ring of spies and schemes, and Ms. Arabella Dempsey – friend to Jane Austen, previously thankless companion to her crotchety aunt, a society matron – and how the find themselves enveloped in an adventure.
When the two stumble into secret messages and assignations, rather than leave to teach at the all girls school (as she must eventually now do), or allow himself to dismiss the whole thing (as is his regular custom), the two instead embark on a fact-finding mission, and – of course – it turns out to be even more serious than they realized. And then they kept getting swept along – and pushed together – until circumstances demand that something must change. Turnip – who has come by his nickname through some blundering & absent-mindedness on his own part – comes to realize that maybe the one thing he can’t seem to just put out of his mind is Ms. Arabella.
It’s fun and light, and there are spies and previous characters walking through and making appearances here and there, and it’s nice to see Turnip – good-natured and most imperturbable – get his own happy ending, rather than helping (even accidentally) the others to get theirs. And I have to say that I did not miss Eloise (the contemporary heroine doing historical research) during this jaunt – I like that Willig was willing to move out of her normal formula bit for this book.