Crimson Rose Book Club: Vaughn!

Hi, all!

Welcome back to Crimson Rose Book Club. As we focused on Mary last week, it only seems fair to turn our attention to Vaughn. And, boy oh boy, is there a lot to talk about.

To start us off:

Having met Vaughn in the previous books, did entering his point of view in Crimson Rose change your prior opinion of him?

Who do you think developed more over the course of the book, Vaughn or Mary?

Where do you see them in five years?


Over the course of writing the first three Pink books, I played around with the idea of setting Vaughn up with various other characters, including Penelope, Jane, and Charlotte (it’s as though my books were his own personal season of The Bachelor: 18th Century Edition). Vaughn himself contemplated setting his cap at Henrietta. Could you see Vaughn with any of them? Why or why not?

What did you think of Vaughn’s relationship with his first wife? How is she different from/similar to Mary? Could they ever have had a chance?


  1. Jessica S on January 13, 2009 at 12:55 am

    First: LOL at The Bachelor: 18th C. edition!!!

    My opinion of Vaughn grew inestimably during Emerald Ring, so I was more receptive to him as the hero than I would have been at the end of Black Tulip. It was very insightful to get to see his POV. It made him more of a mortal than he appeared to be in Black Tulip or Emerald Ring, but please don’t tell him I said that. I can’t handle any literary apparitions 🙂

    I really think Mary grew the most during Crimson Rose; the act of her throwing away her reputation for love was a huge turning point. When she says she wants Vaughn, with or without his title, that shows significant (and unbelievable) growth from her. Vaughn softened some, but we don’t know what he was like during his first marriage. Maybe he’s really an old softy under all that black and silver. Maybe not.

    I really couldn’t have seen Vaughn with any other character. Henrietta doesn’t have Mary’s edge or blunt ego, which is part of the attraction. And I think he realized himself that Henrietta is too good for him. As for Charlotte, I think she’s too shy, too gentle. I don’t know enough about Penelope, but I think she wouldn’t have given him the time of day anyway.

    Now, Jane. That’s an interesting one. She’s intelligent and subtle enough for him, but…something’s not right. I think she’d always have the upper hand and it would annoy him greatly. With Mary, he does get to win…most of the time. I think Vaughn and Jane are great comrades-in-arms, but they’re almost siblingly.

  2. Diane on January 13, 2009 at 1:52 am

    I didn’t trust Vaughn even at the end of Emerald Ring. However, having his point of view to aid us, knowing his thoughts made him more human, especially when we find out about his first wife.

    I think Vaughn developed more through the book because, as he had fallen in love with his first wife and was betrayed, it is a greater feat to overcome than just being distrustful of people in general, as Mary was. Mary didn’t have a love betray her as Vaughn did. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to repair.

    In five years, I see Mary and Vaughn being more in love, more comfortable in their love, and with two children. A boy – the spitting image of Vaughn – and a girl who is a young Mary. I feel that, at this point, Vaughn would have outrun his demons and his love for Mary would expand to his ever-growing family. Maybe Mary would be pregnant, too.

    In Black Tulip, Vaughn set his cap for Henrietta, why I wasn’t sure. I’m glad for this question because it’s making me think about why he would do that. Maybe he was ready to settle down and stop the rakehell ways he was infamous for. Maybe he felt that Henrietta was pure in heart and that maybe, if she could love him, that he could be redeemed. No, it wouldn’t have worked. When Jane was “interrogating” Vaughn in Emerald Ring when Therese had been discovered murdered, I thought she backed off too easily, too quickly. I questioned then, “What is going ON!?” But again, I don’t think that would have worked, either. Definitely not with any of the other girls, either. It took Mary’s frankness, her ego, her pride, and her wit to make her interesting enough to make Vaughn see that life would not be dull with Mary. And she would also be a daily challenge he could overcome everyday for the rest of their lives.

    Vaughn’s relationship with his first wife was mostly on his side. He loved her. Apparently she didn’t feel loved, or else she wouldn’t have gone off with her first lover. She is similar to Mary in that they were both selfish, spoiled beauties who thought they should have everything they desire and that they deserved it. However, Mary was able to love Vaughn for who he was, where his first wife could not. She even helped set him up, because she thought she was going to be royalty in the end.

    All in all, I enjoyed this couple’s story and laughed with them and became outraged for them. They were, by far, the most entertaining couple thus far, not including Colin and Eloise.

  3. Camille la Flamme on January 13, 2009 at 2:13 am

    1. Nope, he was still the *slightly* intriguing roue I originally thought of him as (when asked by a bosom friend which PC character I would like to be with, and answewring Vaughn, I was greeted with a very eloquent “eurgh”).

    2. I think Mary is the one who grew more. Vaughn, we are led to believe, married for love before; Mary did not even believe in the concept, although one can scarcely blame her after growing up with such parents…she softens, really. Vaughn doesn’t change by marrying for love again, because the key word would be “again”.

    3. I see them with at least two children, and both behaving ridicuously parental, all without breaking aharcter. 😉

    4. Pen and Vaughn? I could sort of see that…only Pen is really never very serious, is she? and one would expect Vaughn not to make that same mistake twice…Not that I’m calling Pen a second Lady Anne, but…hm. Jane is too good for Vaughn, and I mean GOOD. And Hen would, as she herself surmised, get sick of the double meanings and concealed points and eventually break a tea set over his head, methinks.

    5. Oh, dear. See, I always think of Anne as very childish. Well, she married Vaughn, I think, at an age when she was too young to really know her own heart – it isn’t as though poverty was the alternative to marriage for her, was it? – and also because of that great wealth, she was spoiled. So she just wasn’t grown-up enough for Vaughn, whereas Mary is much more sensible.

  4. Elissa on January 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Crimson Rose didn’t change my opinion of Vaughn in the slightest. I never fully trusted Vaughn and i still don’t. In my opinion, He is one of those great Anti-heroes. His motivations are strictly his own. He doesn’t care about the greater good he cares about his own good, which is refreshing in your books. Mary is a lot like him which is why they work so well together. But it’s nice to finally understand what Vaughn’s motivations are, because the first 3 books left me wondering why he was doing certain things.

    I think over the course of Crimson Rose Mary changes more. She learns to abandoned what society has told her she wants and learns to follow her own instincts. I have the feeling the next 5 years of Mary and Vaughn will be less eventful than the first. Although, i see them both getting into mischief because they may get bored otherwise. But on the bright side when they are forced to a ball or party at least they can smirk and act like they don’t want to be there together. Which is opposed to what i assume his first wife was like. I figure Anne would have been the type who wanted to be the center of attention at all times, and Vaughn would have had to placate that. He would have had to dance and make nice with people, when all he really wanted to do was stand in the corner and make fun of Turnip’s bad fashion sense. In that respect, Mary is so much better suited because she finds people as insipid as Vaughn does.

    I don’t know if Vaughn would have worked with anyone but Mary. He would never work with Jane. His motivations don’t run the way hers do. He would tire of her being out thwarting Napoleon all the time, and i can’t see him being with her during it. Charlotte is too sweet natured. Vaughn would have grown tired of Pen. He might have worked with Henrietta except that she would have grown tired of his long line of entendres and yelled at him and stomped out of the house. Plus, it was totally obvious Hen was supposed to be with Miles.

  5. Kristen on January 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    So many questions! I’m going to try to answer them all, but this is going to be very long (I apologize).

    Crimson Rose did not change my opinion of Vaughn. Going into the book I had a fairly high opinion of Vaughn. Seeing things from his pov just reiterated to me how he truly was, and on a deeper level. Like I said in last week’s discussion, I like characters that are not 100% good or evil, and Vaughn fits that perfectly.

    Like the other ladies have said, Mary certainly changes more in the book than Vaughn. Vaughn starts off admiring her for her selfishness and ruthlessness. Mary only likes Vaughn for what he can give her. I love how neither one of them believe in love at the beginning but end up in love almost against their will/nature. By the end, it’s the attributes that Vaughn admired in the beginning that make him love Mary while Mary loves Vaughn for more than just his wealth or his title.

    I don’t see too much of them in five years. I’m sure that they have started a family and that Mary is learning how to properly lord over the family from Vaughn’s mother. Other than, I don’t really like to speculate.

    I agree with Jessica, “LOL at The Bachelor: 18th C. edition!!!”

    I never understood why he was paying Henrietta much attention in the Black Tulip. At the end of the book he does mention offhandedly that he has a wife (I may be wrong here, but I do remember that for some reason). My guess is that it had more to do with Richard than Hen. Vaughn would eat Charlotte a live. Jane has too much of a sense of duty for Vaughn. Vaughn doesn’t get patriotism as a motivator, and at this point we don’t really have any other motivator for Jane. Penelope might be interesting. I really hope to see more of her in the upcoming book; I just don’t feel that I have a good read on her yet. She’s very feisty and she doesn’t really care about convention (I mean, she did go on a balcony with Turnip not thinking about marrying him…). I don’t know if she could have traded barbs with Vaughn like Mary. I’m going to have to say that I don’t think she is cynical enough for Vaughn, but it may have worked out. I just don’t feel that I know her character well enough yet.

    I got the impression that the Vaughn who married Lady Ann was a very different Vaughn from the one who fell in love with Mary. He knew that he needed a wife so that he could have heirs and that was all that he was looking for. He married a woman that was considered a good match and thought very little more about it. Ann wanted more and she didn’t really care who she received it from, hence her flight from her marriage. I think that is where the Vaughn we would recognize starts to emerge. When he found out she wasn’t dead, he still didn’t really care about her as person. I don’t think their marriage would have ever been happy or full of love. I do think that if Vaughn would have given her a little more attention, she might have stayed and bore him the heirs that he wanted from her. After that point, I don’t think he would have cared if she had rivaled Pauline Bonaparte in her lovers, so long as she was a bit more discreet about it than Pauline.

    Ann was an immature version of Mary in some ways. Both had entitlement issues but they handle them very differently. That may have also been because Ann always had money to enable her and Mary did not. Even when we meet her in the book, she’s still not that cynical, despite having going from one man’s bed to the next in order to survive. Mary is already cynical at that point. Another similarity is that I really don’t think either would be able to love if it wasn’t the exactly right person. Vaughn was that person for Mary, but I don’t think that Ann ever found them. I really don’t think that Mary could have loved anyone else. They were both also willing to enter a loveless marriage. Ann did, and Mary tried with Geoff.

  6. Liz on January 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    The Vaughn-Alsworthy marriage undoubtedly will go the same way as the Richard-Amy marriage did, but Mary may be dumping vitriol over Vaughn’s head rather than claret. Also I fear that Letty and Geoff may be stuck with the raising of their offspring as well as their own, if Vaughn trusts them ( he trusted Geoff did do his bit up the tree when Vaughn confronted Anne)because somehow I cannot see Mary as the maternal type, and Vaughn is almost comical as a father, five years of marriage under his belt or not.

    2. Henrietta, likes Vaughn. Vaughn enjoys and desires Henrietta. He certainly seems more her intellectual level than Miles. It could have worked, but we bow to dear Lauren’s desires on this one.

    3. It’s a tough call in terms of either Charlotte or Penelope because in the forst few books neither was developed to a degree that you could say definatively yes or no. Obviously in book V Charlotte will be but it seems from what we’ve seen so far of both a sucessful marriage with Vaughn would be unlikely.

    4. Jane as a match for Vaughn is a possiblity from my viewpoint, but we have to remember that in 1803 a sucessful marriage is not nessecarily a love match. I think intellectually they would fit well together. The side of them we see briefly at the beginning of Crimson Rose shows that we are friends, I could see a sucessful marriage where they tolerate each other oerhaps have a child or two, but Jane still carries on her own pursuits and Vaughn has a mistress (Mary perhaps?)

  7. Jessica on January 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I totally got Vaughn’s attraction to Hen. She is witty, intelligent and strong-willed. Those qualities would definitely to Lord Vaughn. I was always slightly amused by Vaughn and am glad he was not the villian after all. I liked that from his pov we see a disillusioned man who thinks he has no chance at redemption due to his failures being with his marriage. Yet, he has enough hope to want legitimate children with Mary. He was expecially attractive after Mary found him “in his cups.” Wit mixed with vulnerability = aah!

    I think that was the only thing about Vaughn that really surprised me. I really would’ve thought he would abhore the little buggers. Those comments revealed a more genuine Vaughn than ever before.

    I think in 5 years, he will be happily married to Mary and they will have children. Someone said they would be more comfortable with their love and I agree with that. I don’t even think he will have that silver streak in his hair anymore. While still remaining the other’s ultimate adversary, they will also be the other’s strongest ally, battling whatever obstacles life may hold for them together.

  8. Diana on January 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I liked Vaughn in the other Pinks, although trusting him was always difficult. In Crimson Rose I felt that we got to know him a little better, although I’m sure Vaughn does not like the fact that others have now seen his vulnerable side.

    I agree with others that Mary had a bigger transformation. She showed some feelings toward Letty and threw aside her desire for title and wealth for something more.

    I wonder if marriage and children will soften them at all, although I agree with Liz, I don’t see Mary as too maternal. I do, however, see Vaughn as the doting father.

    I cannot see Vaughn with anyone other than Mary. His particular type of wit and ego would drive the others crazy and I think Vaughn would grow bored. Jane is the exception to this, but Jane is too cunning even for Vaughn. (Question: will Jane ever find the right man?)

    I didn’t care much for Lady Anne. She lacked conviction and always was chasing whatever was waved before her.

  9. Katelin on January 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    My opinion of Vaughn didn’t change all that much from book to book. I always sort of felt there was a little more to him than we were seeing. I wasn’t all that surprised to see that he could be an old softy when the timing suited.

    I definitely think that Mary made the biggest turn around. As others have stated she didn’t even believe in the possibility of a love match before this book.

    As far as Vaughn and other women I definitely understood his attraction to Henrietta as she is smart, witty, and stubborn. The only other person I could see him standing a chance with is Jane. Although, I agree that their differing agendas would pose a problem. I also feel that Jane would come out on top in an argument a little too often for Vaughn’s taste.

  10. alexandria on January 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I feel like Vaughn is maybe the same , but we just see him differently. I am not saying he did not grow at all, but just that in Crimson Rose we see the “real Vaughn”.

    I can see Vaughn and Mary still in love in 10 years, still having their witty quips, but def. still themselves. Mary is prob. still her selfish shallow self, but I can see her growing up more with motherhood.I can see her becoming like Charlotte’s grandma, a dragon. 🙂

    Mary is different than Anne (Vaughn’s first wife), because even though she is in the marriage for herself, she still loves Vaughn. She is like Anne to me, because she is a woman who knows what she wants out of life. I feel kinda bad for Vaughn because cant help but feel like he truly loved Anne at first, who knows what would have happened if she had not have ran off with that other man.

  11. Julie on January 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    My opinion of Vaughn definitely changed. We finally get to know him in this book. We can see how much Anne’s betrayal affected his life. When she left him, his entire life change and he became a different man. Plus we got a lot of questions answered about Vaughn and his intentions.

    I think Mary and Vaughn grew alot as characters. Its to hard to pick which one grew more.

    I see Mary and Vaughn with a kid or two, and probably happily tormenting each other. Mary will have improved her word play a lot from being around Vaughn so much. I am sure Vaughn is still torturing poor Geoff too.

    Jane is the only other one i can possible see with Vaughn. She doesn’t take his crap and can surely hold her own with him. Jane really clever so i am sure she could handle what ever Vaughn threw at her. But she is not as perfect as Mary is for Vaughn. Jane isn’t hard hearted and mean like Mary is.

    Vaughn’s first marriage would have never worked. They didnt love each other and where both pretty much bored. Mary and Anne where similiar in the sense that they both clever, beautiful, and looked out for themselves, but Mary wasnt as selfish as Anne was. Mary had to work for what she got, and yea it was usually by plotting and scheming against people. Anne just used people until she got what she wanted. Anne just didnt care about anything but herself. At least mary had a heart where as Anne had a black whole.

  12. alexandria on January 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Vaughn with Charlotte???? He would fillet her alive! I can see Vaughn with Hen. a little, but maybe if I didnt know what a great match her and Miles are. Honestly, I think the pairings are all as they should be. Mary and Vaughn are two peas in the same pod! They understand each other, Vaughn understands Mary’s “bad girl side” her selfishness and he accepts it. No Vaughn with any other woman would not do. And as far as Penelope, I dont feel like I know her character enough to say if she would have been a suitable match, I guess we will have to read her book and find out! 🙂

  13. Jess G. on January 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Wow. All those above answers are really intense.

    I personally think that Mary developed more as a charcter. Because at the beginning, she didn’t seem like the type to fall in love with anyone. Not only because she was a cynic, but because she wouldn’t allow it.

    I’m usually so good at playing out characters’ futures in my head, but I really can’t for these two. The thing I’d be most interested to see in their future is if they ever decide to have children. That would just be…bizarre… Mommy Mary….?

  14. Haley on January 13, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I’ll do best with bullet points.

    *My opinion of Vaughn over the course of Black Tulip and Emerald Ring was steadily increasing. I didn’t really think poorly of him but rather he was a mystery. As the stories unfolded, I found myself more and more drawn to him. By the end of Crimson Rose, I have to say that I adore him. I’ve been struggling over the last week to figure out why that is. After the last book club post I went back and read Crimson Rose again. I’m not a Mary and in real life I’m not sure I’d like Vaughn at all. However, in print he is darn near irresistible. I love the confidence and the wit. I love the fact that he doesn’t do things he doesn’t like and doesn’t let people get away with stuff. He calls everyone on everything. Once we find out why he pushed himself so far out of mainstream/polite society he is infinitely more likable and trustworthy. All people react differently to having their hearts broken. Then we can empathize with him.

    *It’s hard for me to say who developed more over the course of the book. Vaughn was ready to make a change. He was ready to settle down and was embarked on that course prior to meeting Mary. I’m not sure that Mary was on a path to change as much as was forced into it. With the fiasco that was Geoff and Letty’s marriage she was abruptly shoved off the path that she had chosen. There wasn’t really a way to get back on it. Once the public’s opinion was changed it wasn’t going to be easily changed back. Mary had decided to try another season and thought earning her own money to pay for it was the best way. Of course, she didn’t have any other options than to get back out there and find a husband (unless she wanted to be indebted to her sister for the rest of her life). However, she had the good grace to be softened by love when it arrived, no matter how love presented itself to her. I loved the part when her and Vaughn were on their way to the park to meet the Black Tulip and she has the epiphany that she’d rather scowl at Vaughn than be pleasant with anyone else.

    *Five years later I think that they’ve become parents. I think they are good parents. I think that Mary’s maternal/protective side came out with a vengeance when Vaughn was shot. That will open up and include their children. I think Vaughn will extend the tenderness that he feels for Mary to their children. I think their marriage is good. They are both a little older than the typical married couples of their day. With that I think will come appreciation for the other person and that they are lucky enough to have found each other.

    *I cannot for a minute see Vaughn with anyone but Mary. Henrietta would have been the closest for her intellect and spirit. However, I agree with one of the other posts that said, Henrietta would have gotten annoyed with his convoluted musings and would have given him the boot.

    *Vaughn’s marriage to Anne had been a good case study in what not to do. They married for love and then promptly took each other for granted. Neither one of them seemed to be putting any effort into maintenance. His flirtations and indifference were countered by her manipulations and selfishness. Not a good combination. Her naivety to think that running off with the music master would be the answer to her problems speaks volumes of her immaturity. I don’t think Mary will be selfish with Vaughn. I think she loves him for him not what she can get from him. I think that was where Anne’s big mistake was. She came view her husband as means to an end not a person. Now that Vaughn has seen the scarier side of life I don’t think he will take Mary for granted. I think he will be a more attentive and engaged husband.

  15. Jessica S on January 13, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I missed a couple of questions…oops.

    In five years, I’m sure they’ll be parents, and still in love. I think it will be like Amy and Richard, they will keep each other on their toes. I also think they will get a certain amount of delight in torturing/annoying Letty and Geoff at family gatherings, which will continue with the next generation. Can’t you just see a tiny Mary and her cousin, a tiny Letty? Letty Jr will try to keep Mini Mary out of trouble…and Mini Mary will get into scrapes just to annoy her cousin.

    As for Lady Anne, I think that marriage was vastly different. As someone mentioned, Mary has had to work very hard for everything she has. Lady Anne, we can say, never worked a day in her life! Vaughn was never cut out for the typical _ton_ life, so his marriage to Anne could never be what it is with Mary. Being a good ten years older than his wife suits him. And I think he admires Mary for not being like the other debutantes, for her determination and single-mindedness. Anne was too flighty and spoiled.

  16. Jessica on January 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Now I don’t see Anne and Mary in the same light. Yes, they are both selfish, but Mary has a determination that Anne will never have. Anne was more spoiled and basically her running away was the equivalent to a child throwing a temper tantrum. Also, I agree with one of the other posters who said they could see Mary as a mom because of the way she was with Vaughn when he was shot. She did everything within her power to get him to safety and put aside her own reputation to see stay and care for him. Anne would’ve run away and left him bleeding on the ground. She ran when her marriage got rough and she ran from the responsibility of her station and her child. Anne was not a likeable character, but then neither was Mary until this book, so who knows?

  17. Jenna on January 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Lauren – Hello from Shippensburg!

    So, my friends and I, aka the Shippensburg University Lauren Willig Fan Club, always keep updated with your website. We usually don’t post but we absolutely had to post an answer for this question, mostly because we talk about it every day.

    Through books one, two, and three, we all thought Vaughn was so weird. We didn’t like him because we couldn’t figure him out, what side of the fence was he on? We didn’t trust him at all. In book two, we were totally blown away by the scene in the “dragon chamber.” We still refer to it as the “rape chamber.” And even when we reread the second book now, we still think that Vaughn is going to rape Henrietta in that scene.

    I remember when one of my friends, Kayla, emailed you about the plot of the fourth book, because, at that time, we only knew it was going to be Mary’s book. And we all hated her from the first book when she is mentioned as the horrible girl that sweet Geoff likes. So, when you emailed her back (and she read it to all of us, sitting like kindergartners on the floor of my dorm room) and said that Vaughn was going to be her hero, we were all blown away. We couldn’t believe it. We always thought that Vaughn would be the Black Tulip. Someone, I think it was me, had a very elaborate plan for why the Black Tulip was Vaughn. But, just through your explanation in the email, we already knew that you were going to work everything out. And the book was so perfect. Mary let go of some of her selfishness and I think she learned how to love someone else other than herself. And Vaughn… well, Vaughn became less mysterious. And now we all realize that he was just hiding behind his past. I think Vaughn is still very different from your other heroes. For example, the scene with Vaughn and Geoff arguing, which is my favorite scene; Vaughn is sarcastic and rude and has a superiority complex that we all find very intriguing. The other heroes are daring and… heroic, but it seems that Vaughn wants to be the “bad guy” but he isn’t. And we love him anyway!

    – Jenna… and Kayse, too!

  18. Jessica on January 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Rape? I see that as being totally beneath Vaughn. He would seduce and manipulate his prey, but never rape.

  19. Lauren on January 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Interesting question, there, about Vaughn and rape. I based Vaughn’s character, very loosely, on that of Lovelace from Samuel Richardson’s eighteenth century novel, “Clarissa”. In that (spoilers for those of you who haven’t read “Clarissa” yet!), Lovelace does force himself upon the lady who has been the object of his affections, in an incredibly disturbing move that changes the whole course of the rest of the novel. For all their glitter, charm, and veneer of civilization, there is a casual brutality to the rakes of the 18th century, one that extends to all areas of their lives, from their dueling practices with one another to their treatment of women. It’s one of the things that so fascinates me about the 18th century (and Richardson’s Lovelace in particular)– that contrast between the highest gloss of civilization of civilization on the one hand and almost animal-like indulgence on the other.

    I tend to fall on the “Vaughn wouldn’t” side of the equation– although not necessarily for admirable reasons. In the code that governs his world, Henrietta isn’t fair game. She has too many powerful protectors, and to take advantage of her would be not just to tweak the rules but to place himself entirely outside them. Mary, in her shakier social state, is more vulnerable, but even there, I don’t think so. Vaughn doesn’t like trouble, mess, or undue effort– but he does like challenge, and there’s more of a challenge to seduction than force.

    All that being said, all this is Vaughn as we know him in 1803, after he has been tempered and taught by over a decade of wanderings and very significant experiences. I don’t know how the Vaughn of 1790– the Vaughn who married Anne– would have behaved. That Vaughn seems more likely to have had the reflexive arrogance of his station and era, and might, one guesses, have grabbed rather than charmed when charm failed and he found himself balked of a promised prize. But that’s all pure speculation….

    I find it interesting to wonder about the younger Vaughn. My own instinct is that, but for Anne’s defection and his brush with first the exciting philosophies and then the terrifying brutality of the French revolution, both of which forced him to think and react, he would not have been a particularly remarkable character.

  20. Jessica S on January 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Hmmm…prequel about Vaughn and Anne? Dare we hope?

    I don’t think he would have forced himself on Henrietta, for the reasons you say. I think he’d rather pull a Valmont — seduce her to the point that she can’t control herself.

    On the other hand, Henrietta was smart to exit when she did!!!

  21. Camille la Flamme on January 15, 2009 at 2:50 am

    I have to agree with the “Vaughn wouldn’t” group, for as Lauren points out, rape would set him beyond the pale of human decency. Granted, he’s not always decent – but that’s it. His actions are often questionable, but there is no question as to the immorality of rape!

  22. Kristen on January 15, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I can understand why it might come off as a “rape chamber”. It did take Henrietta a while to figure out how to get out of there, so it’s not a place for casual entertaining.

    You know, the Chinese Chamber always bothered me. I could never quite figure out what it’s actual purpose was. I’m sure it wasn’t for entertian young ladies of society.

  23. Catherine on January 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I too would like to join the “Vaughn wouldn’t group. I just can’t mentally picture such a sophisticate lowered to the basest animal capable of rape, at any age. That’s not to say that I picture him as incapable of using darker methods to achieve his goals but not completely ‘out of control’, like a young Henry VIII lusting wildly after Anne.

    As for the Chinese Chamber being like a rape chamber, didn’t Mary note that the furniture and layout of the room didn’t lend itself to a more ‘relaxed dalliance’? Could the room perhaps be a just secret retreat, intended for escaping from formal drawing rooms or internal demons… OR for “business” meetings (tinged with aspects of intimidation such as no obvious door handle for “persuading” another party to see things in Vaughn’s favor)?

    As for the other questions:

    My view of Vaughn did not “change”, per se, when we got to see things from his POV, it only helped explain a lot. I always liked him from his very first entrance and was delighted when he got his own story. I loved his clever repartee, irreverent quips, and that devastating sardonic eyebrow. (He had me at the first double entendres…)

    During the course of the book, I think Mary develops the most but Vaughn does come a close second. (I kind of commented on that last week so I’ll move on the the last question.)

    In five years, I completely agree with what’s already been said about Mary and Vaughn being more comfortable in their love and inside of themselves. I can see them with a 4 year old son, a mini Vaughn, with a tiny quizzing glass imitating his father. I would absolutely LOVE to see a cameo of them in some future novel to see what Lauren has in mind for this great couple!!

  24. Ruby on January 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    My opinion has never changed. I always liked his character because he experienced in the ways of the ways of the world negatively and positively. He doesn’t have delusions of playing the “hero”. I always kind of liked the fact that he never tolerated idiocy and played by his own rules. I liked him as a character ever since he insulted the old Dragon of a Duchess so well. It really showed a deep intellegence on his part, and because the duchess finally found his matchI always “trusted” him to some degree because I thought he was rather too selfish to really be a french spy.

    I think at the end of the book Mary grew up the most. Unlike Vaughn she had never “loved”. I think that for someone as selfish as her to admit that she would love someone even without money or a title is a sign of her truly growing up.

    I think in five years there will definatly be a mini Vaughn, and that Mary and Vaughn will be loving parents, not doting but loving( I guess the only analogy that comes to mind is the Malfoy family from Harry Potter) If her love for Vaughn changed Mary so much imagine what a child would do.

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