Night Jasmine Book Club: Penelope

Okay, I had meant to talk about Charlotte this week. It is her book, after all. But I have no discipline. I’m dying to know what you thought of Penelope, and I didn’t want to wait another week to ask. Charlotte, being a patient sort, will have no problem waiting until next week to be discussed.

So this week’s Night Jasmine Book Club is open season on Penelope. Anything goes, so long as it’s Penelope-related.

Just to get us started, what did you think about Penelope’s behavior in Night Jasmine? Her relationships with Henrietta and Charlotte? And do you think she and Tommy Fluellen could ever have had a chance together? Does she have a future with Freddy Staines?


  1. Stephanie Stoddard on February 10, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I like Tommy and Penelope as a couple. She seems like she will just kinda blurt things out and Tommy i thought had great comedic timing. I could see some fun conversations between those two.

  2. Alex on February 10, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Freddy certainly needs a change for their relationship to work. But I can certainly sympathize with Penelope – the poor girl has to watch Henrietta, Amy, and Letty (and even Mary Alsworthy!!) get married before her – and then Robert, Charlotte’s love, shows up. The poor girl’s self-esteem must haven taken quite a beating!

  3. Magdalena on February 10, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Personally I wanted her to interact more with Tommy, Robert’s right hand. The other two seemed like such gits.

  4. Jen on February 10, 2009 at 4:21 am

    I have to admit, I was a little surprised by her behavior. I think Tommy would have been a much better match. Also it must have been difficult for her to watch all of her friends get married before she does. Plus, her friends all seem to come from a more privileged background, which couldn’t have been easy. But I suppose I’ll have to see what happens in India before I can really make a decision.

  5. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on February 10, 2009 at 4:26 am

    I can relate to her downward spiral, while everything seems perfect all around you and it’s not rubbing off on you, it’s a feeling of a headlong rush. Which makes me very interested to see what happens to her, I’m not sure if her fate will be the doom she anticipates or if India will be the making of her…

  6. Jess G. on February 10, 2009 at 9:02 am

    From the outside, she reminded me slightly of Mary. She’s beautiful, but sort of cynical. Like others have said, this probably comes from the marriages of everyone but her.

    I mean, if even shy Charlotte can hook a guy, then why can’t Pen when she’s clearly more out there?

  7. Whitney Daly on February 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I’m not so sure that Penelope is ready to hook a guy. I think that deep down in that cyncial self Penelope wants something true. All of the guys she dallies with are just in it for well, the dalliance. Penelope cares very deeply about others. We can see this by the fact that she is upset by Henrietta’s marriage and when she ruins herself in order to save Charlotte from a scandal. Somehow, I don’t think that Tommy is right for Penelope. He doesn’t seem to have much spunk. I think that Penelope needs someone she can treat as an equal not someone she can pull around on a leash. When she finds her equal, I think that she will find love.

  8. Georgia on February 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Hmm… My impression is that we are missing a link, and that other side of the story is more complex than we have been led to believe. In Pink V she appeared to be an opinionated and rebelious young lady, who kept rejecting Tommy’s sincere offer of love without much reason. I am not the most patient reader when it comes to irrational behavior, so I am looking forward to the next installment and all its revelations.

  9. Catherine on February 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    To me, Pen’s heedless behavior smacked of deep pain. In an effort to feeling something, anything other than what’s really eating at her.

    As has already been mentioned the slew of marriages going on around her (“always a bride’s maid” kind of thing) must have taken a toll. But along with that loosing Hen, in a way, to Miles. And perhaps even loosing her identity in their little group (i.e. the seemingly worldly wise one giving up her advice perch to the now married one, who becomes the authority on men).

    As for whether she and Tommy could have had a future, I’m not sure. Tommy seemed to idealize Pen in a similar way that Charlotte idealized Robert (in the beginning). Although, as time went on and he began to truly “see” her, perhaps their connection could have become solid.

    Does she have a future with Freddy? Well, he did offer her the protection of his name, even though he did so under intense pressure. But he does seem to have a taste for the debase (Hellfire Club Membership)…could that behavior on his part be a means to hide from his own pain (like it was for Vaughn)? I hope there is more to Freddy than just a spoiled lecher. Can’t wait to see what happens between next!

  10. Megan on February 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I think Penelope is an attention-seeker, although I love her as well as all the other characters. I think she was trying to hold the attention of her friends (and men) through her questionable behavior. When her friends start to move on, she is at a loss for what she can do. I’m hoping she sees now that it’s time to move on herself. India could be a whole new start for her. I have hopes…

    And I agree with Catherine, Tommy idealized her. What did he really know about her after all?

  11. Kayse on February 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Ever since I read Chapter One of Night Jasmine on the site, months before the actual book came out, Tommy and Penelope had been my pet theory for Speculations For The Couple In Book VI. Sadly, since reading Night Jasmine in its entirety, I see that those two wouldn’t suit. Tommy was a sweet man (he reminded me a bit of Miles), but he had a tendency to fall in love “once or twice a year.” Penelope, on the other hand, was more hard-headed and hard-hearted. I agree with Megan–Pen is an attention-seeker. Penelope, I think, would require a man to butt heads with her, not to blindly worship her.

    I sincerely hope that man isn’t Freddy Staines, though. He’s horrible! Is Penelope’s hero going to be Freddy, or someone else that she’ll meet in India? I know she’s supposed to marry him, but a wedding ceremony could be very easily eluded for a girl like Penelope…. Right now, I’m hoping that she somehow gives him the slip and meets someone else, because at the moment, I see very little to love about Freddy Staines.

  12. Kayse on February 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I forgot to add… I’d really like to see Tommy truly in love later on in the series. He was a very endearing character, and I grew very attached to him in just that one book. He needs to find a nice girl who can keep his attention, and return his feelings.

  13. Katelin on February 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I also don’t see much to love about Freddy Staines. I think that Penelope may not have met the right person yet. I actually found it rather noble that she refused all of Tommy’s advances. She seems to know that he doesn’t really know her and she doesn’t want to hurt him in order to save herself.
    I’m very excited to see a book from Penelope’s point of view. She has a jaded but intriguing point of view. I would just love to know whats going on in her head.

  14. Diana on February 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I was somewhat surprised by Penelope’s behavior. I don’t remember her being as hard-hearted previously (will have to go back and re-read Black Tulip again), although she is upset by her best friend getting married and life can be lonely as a singleton. I am excited to read things from her point of view in the future (please Lauren tell me we don’t have to wait another year). As for Freddy, Penelope liked flirting with him, but seemed so annoyed with his behaviors that I fear for their marriage. Even though she doesn’t idealize Freddy, I wonder if she would be shocked at his behaviors (Hellfire Club). I am hoping that he (and she for that matter) have some sort of conversion towards one another. All the other characters have gotten to marry for love and I don’t want Pen to be left out.

    I really liked Tommy. I think there is more to him than meets the eye and I hope we see more of him. I think he and Pen may have had a chance of being happy together, but unless something awful happens to Freddy and Tommy ends up in India, we’ll never know.

  15. Stephanie Stoddard on February 10, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I think Tommy should move on and he should be kinda heart broken. Then get introduced to someone, or pen again and have it be a new start.

    Him as a love sick puppy following her around. Shes not likely to suddenly one day figure it out and like him. Something needs to happen. Her in danger or something and he keeps saving her, she grows to like and then love him. I do love him as a character, Pen i am less attached to, She kinda annoyes me at this point, i get that she is upset having all her friends married off. Crappy feeling i know. But she is acting childish and needs to grow up. Also part of the idea for her and Tommy he can help her grow up.

  16. AngelB on February 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I’m a bit perplexed about Penelope. I get the whole “not adjusting well” to Henrietta’s marriage thing. My best friend (who is now married herself) still gives me crap about my husband 14 years later. ha! So, there has to be something else that’s made her rebel besides just Henrietta (because she was doing the balcony thing before Robert came around).

    As for who she’ll end up with…as much as I liked Tommy, I don’t see him as her type. Penelope needs a bit of a bad boy to keep her happy, and Staines is probably that guy. If Vaughn can change, so can Staines. The fact that she’s married to him makes me believe that VI will show us how that works.

  17. Laura on February 11, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I don’t think Pen is as hard-hearted as she’s pretending to be. Something’s bothering her (more than just her friends weddings)and she is using bad behavior to somehow ease her real pain. I always liked her. She seemed so fun and spirited. I also like Tommy and it seems that Pen was trying to protect him from saving her. I thought it was sweet on her part and that maybe she did have feelings for him after all if he put his well-being before her own. I hope Freddy falls off the boat on the way to India!

  18. Faith on February 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I like Penelope but I don’t like the situation she got herself in. I don’t like her Lord at all and am hoping that he has an untimely demise and she meets up with someone else (better) in India.

  19. Mel on February 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    While reading, I began to despise Penelope. She was too hard-headed and self-destructive. I am, however, looking forward to reading the next book to see if she can redeem herself.

  20. Lisa Danielson on February 12, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I loved reading The Temptation of the Night Jasmine so much that I went back and re-read all of the others. It was like reconnecting with old friends! What a treat for Valentine’s Day. Anyway, after reading Temptatation, I had the impression that Penelope was sort of the “bad girl” of the group. She is high spirited and independent. She was not raised in a high society household so Almack’s must be hard for her. She is trying really hard to fit in. Also,she is trying to make a good match because that is what is expected of her and not necessarily what she wants for herself. I don’t think she is necessarily in emotional pain, but she is just disappoionted in the sugary sweet matches her friends have made. She wants a “bad boy.” Freddy is a “bad boy.” He is a drink hard playboy scoundrel. I wonder if he is on the wrong side… maybe not a French spy but he is certainly the kind of guy that would make all kinds of trouble! I think that maybe Penelope may just need to be rescued…by a guy that has been patiently waiting in the wings? Tommy, good guy that he is, needs to get a backbone and fight for her. He was a soldier, after all. Wouldn’t a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas be cool? I can hardly wait for the next book…

  21. Lauren Willig - News on February 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    […] long weekend, I’d nearly forgotten that this was a Tuesday! I still mean to chime in about Penelope, but it’s well past time to move on to our patiently waiting Charlotte, who is, after all, […]

  22. Genny D. on February 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    I agree with most of the comments, and would really like for Pen to get a great guy. She is to quick witted to be saddled to someone like Freddy. He is not like Vaughn at all. No redeeming quailty in him, should he meet with and untimely demise I would not be sorry. Tommy, I liked and would like him to be in another book. Pen and him togther maybe not so much, but would really love to have the next book now. Love this series and can’t wait for the next.

  23. Andie on February 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I am hoping that Penelope didn’t marry the rake, but rather went to India with a chaperone…. Hen and Charlotte talk Pen out of the marriage just days before the wedding by revealing Freddy’s true character….. This leaves her free to reconcile whatever demons she seems to have and perhaps find a partner that is better suited far away from Almanak’s. Alas, if she did end up marrying the rake I hope he drops dead of malaria the moment he sets foot in India because he definately is not a good catch!

  24. Claire on February 21, 2009 at 3:28 am

    I have to admit that I more than a little sad and even frustrated with Penelope that she ended up with Freddy and got sent off to India in about a paragraph. That bothered me. She’s far better than Freddy and she can see that, I think. But, she’s also more intelligent than Tommy, however sweet she may think he is. I’m positive she rejected for both the reason that she didn’t want to drag him down with her, but also because she thinks that maybe they both deserve better, someone to be each one’s equal.
    But, I hope and predict that Jane somehow contacts her and Pen can have some excitement in life and spy in India. Because didn’t it say in Pink III somewhere that Jane worked in India at some point? Maybe Pen is her connection. That would be wonderful. But, I hope more than anything that we can find out what has been going on in Penelope’s mind and why she made the descisions she did in Pink VI.

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