Review: The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation #7) by Lauren Willig

Tis the season for purloined pudding! Christmas pudding, bonnets, love, and mystery are all literary in the air in Lauren Willig’s book The Mischief of the Mistletoe. This book is #4.2 in Willig’s wildly popular Pink Carnation series.

I saw this book advertised on Goodreads a few weeks ago and fell in love with the cover and….suddenly I had to read it! So I picked up a copy and then I saw the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge hosted by  the True Book Addict and suddenly I couldn’t wait for it to be Christmas season so I could read this book! Biding my time, I started the book the day the challenge started and finished the book like 2 days later!

I have never read any of these books but heard LOADS about them from friends and of course my sister. I have always wondered why I hadn’t read any of them because they seem like books I would devour! I supposed somewhere between all the epic series I have ben reading over the last couple of years….I guess I just missed this one, and that my friends is my biggest regret! This is a charming, enchanting, and above all….a captivating series.

Arabella Dempsey is visiting her best friend, Jane Austen, in Bath just before the holidays and informs Jane she has just accepted a teaching position at a local girls school. Though Jane doesn’t completely approve, she understands why Arabella must teach….Arabella is broke and her family needs her. Knowing she won’t make an advantageous marriage, Arabella accepts the life of a poor schoolmistress and secretly hopes she can secure education for her two sisters.

One evening Arabella is minding her own business, taking a leisurely stroll at night when all of a sudden a man knocks her to the ground….blundering, absent minded Reginald Fitzhugh (affectionately known to the world as Turnip) runs right into Arabella dropping his Christmas pudding! Pausing to help her up, Turnip and Arabella exchange greetings and as they go their separate ways, Arabella notices Turnip left his Christmas pudding behind. She runs after him when she is suddenly accosted by another man desperately seeking the Christmas pudding. Arabella and the assailant practically fight to the death for the pudding when Turnip returns and rescues both Arabella and his pudding.

Now that only question remaining is, why the deuce would someone accost Arabella for Christmas pudding? Someone must want that pudding….and BAD, soon Arabella and Turnip found out why…..inside the wrappings there is a coded French message “Meet me at Farley Castle, most urgent”. Something is rotten in the State of Bath and it is most certainly NOT the Christmas pudding!

With their purloined pudding, Arabella and Turnip are thrown into the cloak and dagger world of international spying and espionage. Their Yuletide adventures take them all over in search of the pudding messenger….and everywhere they go the find either more pudding or danger. Some where in the middle of pudding and infiltrating French spies, Turnip and Arabella fall in love….but like every Jane Austen style inspired character, the girl is always a poor one who falls in love with a rich man not in her same social ‘class’….as is the case with Turnip and Arabella.

Will they catch the French spy pudding handed before it’s too late? Will Turnip and Arabella scandalize the British gentry with their love? And most importantly, will they ever actually get to EAT the pudding?

I have read that this series is often classified as ‘chick lit’ and though it does have chick lit elements and romance, it is not a story overpowered by sugary sweet romance. The mystery, wit, and historic elements really contributed to the over all story so I did not feel like I was just reading a romance novel or chick lit. I enjoyed all of the characters….even the villains because they were just so over the top that it was hard not to find some irony or humor in them. I loved Willig’s wit and sense of humor, it really came through in all the characters and in the story.

It wasn’t a groundbreaking book or even in intellectually challenging book but it was entertaining, funny, and a good quick read…..just what I needed to get me into the Christmas spirit! And sometimes don’t we just need that? A little laugh and good cheer? Usually around early fall through Thanksgiving I read all my scary books or murder mysteries and I always read Wuthering Heights over Thanksgiving weekend (it’s my own little quirky tradition) but then I don’t really have any books that I read from Thanksgiving to Christmas that are ‘holiday’ or ‘yuletide spirit’ books which makes me sad. This was just what I was looking for….something different, fun, and lighthearted….a nice break from all the thrilling murder mysteries I’ve been reading lately.

If you haven’t read the Pink Carnation series, I would recommend reading them in order (as you all know I hate reading a series out of order but here I have gone and done it again!!!). I am thinking of hosting a Pink Carnation Reading Challenge for next year….we will have to wait and see but I’m thinking I might just do that :). What is nice though, is even though I haven’t read any of the other Pink Carnation books I didn’t feel like I was totally lost of left out…it would have been nice to get the little inside jokes and references to other books but it didn’t make the story any less entertaining. So if you just want to read a good Christmas book pick up this book and enjoy a piece of pudding while you are at it…..and if you like what you see, then read the series….all the books in the series sound deucedly good!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation #4.2) by Lauren Willig

  • Paperback, 384 pages
  • Published November 1st 2011 by NAL Trade (first published 2010)
  • ISBN 0451234774 (ISBN13: 9780451234773)

This book counts toward: Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

Recommendation: 5 out of 5 (it was deuced amazing!! A fun easy, addictive series).

Genre:  Chick lit, historic fiction, Regency era lit

Memorable lines/quotes: NA

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