Happy Birthday, Pink Carnation!

Today marks five whole years of floral escapades. When The Secret History of the Pink Carnation made its debut on February 7, 2005, I never thought that five years down the road Pink would have expanded to such a bouquet of books.

In February of 2005, it was a brutally cold winter in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a second year law student, skidding back and forth between Corporations class and my book readings.

These pictures are from my first reading and signing at the Harvard Book Store (as you can see, a good friend came prepared with champagne, to toast the launch of my first book).

It still blows my mind that it’s now five years and five books later.

So now that I’ve shown you where I was when the first Pink book came out, where were you when you first discovered the Pink Carnation? And which Pink book did you read first?


  1. Sheila on February 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Pink Carnation ‘s beautiful cover attracted me at a Books A Million in Gainesville, GA . I remember not wanting to put it down and could hardly wait for the next book, which was very hard to find when it came out. No longer a problem, as my closest Barnes& Noble is well stocked…not tomention my beloved Amazon.com.

  2. Jessica S. on February 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I found the paperback Pink Carnation on the buy-one-get-one-half-off table at Borders in Champaign, IL. I bought it to take with me on to France when I worked there in the summer of 2006. I chose it because of the Eloise part of the story — I was a grad student then and I had never seen a book about a grad student!

    So PC kept me entertained by repeated readings over three weeks in Antibes.

  3. Meg on February 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

    My best mate, (who I was writing a French Revolution letter game with at the time, so we were on a bit of a swashbuckling high…) came up to me with a book, shoved it under my nose and said i had to read it!

  4. AngelB on February 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Found the book at Hastings in Boise. As my memory is quite fuzzy around that time (lots of hrs at work), I know I bought the paperback of Tulip and the hardback of Emerald within some time after that.

    By the time Crimson came out, I was on a mission to get hardbacks for all of them, which I eventually did. I even another Crimson because my dog munched on the first.

    Of course, when Jasmine came out, I also purchased two. My on-line order was delayed, so I scoured the Treasure Valley for 3 days before I found a hard copy (had a store tell me it didn’t come out for another month!). It was read before the 2nd copy came.

    So I have purchased 10 copies of the 6 books. 🙂

  5. Emily L. on February 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I was at Barnes and Noble in Chicago, browsing the aisles for something new and fun to read. The cover of The Deception of the Emerald Ring caught my eye and I wandered over to that section – I picked up Emerald Ring and realized it was part of a series! That was when I found The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I’m so glad that I found it – it’s now one of my favorite series 🙂

  6. Rebecca W. on February 7, 2010 at 11:19 am

    It was the winter of 2005/2006 (I know, because I was off for my winter break from college) and I was at the Barnes and Noble in my neighborhood. I saw two displays with your books, one with the new paperback edition of “Pink Carnation” and the other with your new book, “The Masque of the Black Tulip.” The covers of both intrigued me, so I picked “Pink Carnation” up. The rest, they say, is history! It’s now one of my favorite series, and the one I most look forward to reading! 😀

    Happy Birthday, Pink Carnation!

  7. Carolyn on February 7, 2010 at 11:35 am

    It was the summer of 2005 and my sister had mentioned to me that she’d seen a book that was somewhat based on The Scarlet Pimpernel (which has always been one of my favorite books). I was getting ready to go on a road trip with several friends from college and needed a fun book. So I got it from the library and then couldn’t put it down during the trip! I was reading it in the car, in our hotel, at the pool, etc, and laughing outloud frequently. Within a month, I’d bought a copy for myself because I wanted to re-read it. And now every year one of those friends gets me the new book for my birthday (even though my bday is in November, I get my present every January!)

  8. Christine on February 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    September 2008, I started teaching test prep part-time. I had to proctor several 3 hour exams for each class I taught so I knew I needed to get some books to read. I started running random searches in Amazon and found the Pink books. I decided to start with the first, and I read almost the whole thing during that first proctoring session. It was all downhill from there.

  9. Jessica on February 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I was at Borders in Chapel Hill, NC, getting ready to leave on a research trip to Nashville, Tenn. I would be buried in archives and microfilm when I got there, but I needed something fun to read on the plane. I picked up Pink Carnation off the chick lit table. I bought Black Tulip right after I returned home and then waited impatiently for Emerald Ring to be released.

  10. Kimmie on February 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I was at Borders in Fredericksburg, Virginia and I started with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and have been a fan ever since.

  11. Megan on February 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I happened upon it in the library about a month ago! I read Pink Carnation in about a day and then ran back to the library to get the rest!

  12. Maddie on February 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    my sister had gotten the book from a bookstore we had stopped at on a vacation, but never could get into it. i ended up needing a book to do a book report on and looked in her room for one. the cover caught my eye so i asked her what she thought about it. she said she didnt get past the first few chapters. i decided to read it anyway and i was blown away by how much i loved it. i had to give a timed oral presentation on the book, but i couldnt condense the book into the right amount of time so i think i got a B. we had to make visuals for it and i drew a map (of the trip from england to france… unoriginal, but i couldnt think of anything else) and made clay flowers, a pimpernel (it was orange :(), a gentian (royal blue, but it was kinda purple), and a pink carnation :). i didnt know there was a series until i looked in a borders and saw that there were already two more books in the series for me to read. i cant help but finishing what i started, so i bought them and started reading right away. now i get the books as close to their release date as possible! ive reread the series already and plan on doing it again!

  13. Stephanie Ball on February 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I was wondering through borders in i believe 2006 after i got back into town from college on Christmas break. I was wondering because i had no idea what to buy and saw pink I at the counter. I picked it up and was fascinated. I bought it took it home and enjoyed it thoroughly. I then went back to Arizona to go back to school. I left it at home in a cupboard in the playroom. It stayed there till i was cleaning them out years later i found it and put it in my pile to reread. I loved it and went out and bought the next two paperbacks and have been buying them all ever since.

  14. Lauren Ashley on February 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    In 2008 one of my good friends had picked up your books and she told me that I must read them.(she shares my deep love of 19th century history and anything that has to do with England, the PC books had this and more)She gave me the copies of Pink Carnation and Black Tulip and within two days I was out buying Emerld Ring and the hardcover of Crimson Rose 🙂 it was love at first book lol and the rest is history. after that I have purchased every new book the day they came out and I can’t wait for more. Thanks Lauren!

  15. Meredith on February 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Back in February 2005, I was attracted to Pink’s lovely cover. Discovering it was a historical fiction, I decided to let my snobbery slip and indulge in a romance. One of my best book decisions! At the time, I was still attending Catholic school, and of course I couldn’t put it down during some of my less than fascinating classes. Unfortunately, my teacher caught me during the Richard and Amy’s tryst on the Seine, and I was deprived of my spies for the rest of the week. Five years later, the Pink Carnation series is the only series I own entirely in hardcover, and I’ve gotten several mates addicted in the process.

  16. Diya on February 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I am notorious for borrowing my friends books so one day at school my best friend asked me if I had ever read them. She was like “Its about spys and romance, it was made for you! Why havn’t you read them?!” so we got her dad to pick them up from her house before dropping me home from school! haha he was really nice about it.By my friend din’t tell e how err racy they were so when I was in bio reading them secretly and I got to the part on the boat I literately almost fell off my lab stool! =)

  17. Ivy on February 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I read Pink in March 2005 after finding at B& N while browsing.

  18. Veronica on February 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I first saw pink at the studio where I work/dance/live where my friend was reading it. I got it the next day, fell head over heels in love with the Purple Gentian, Amy and Jane. I’ve followed the series it ever since…

  19. Jennie on February 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    The first book I read was actually the first book in the series, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I didn’t actually pick the book out for myself, my older sister picked it out for me. I had just got into my historical fiction funk, and i have yet to get out of it, and she saw the book at a used book store. It reminded her of me, so she had my mom buy it for me. I remember that when she gave it to me, I was just finishing up the book I was currently reading in the living room. I was sitting on the floor, leaning up against the chest of photo albums when she gave it to me. I started reading it then and there and had the book finished by the time I went to bed…. The next day I went online to see if there were any other books by the author and found that there was one more… The Masque of the Black Tulip. From then on, I have bought every book the day it has come out, read it in less than three days, and waited impatiently for the next one 🙂

  20. Kirstin on February 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I used to live near Borders, so I would regularly go there. I always cruised the new releases table first, and there, amidst the glaring graphics of modern looking reality literature, sat a lovely lady. Intrigued, I picked Pink up and once I read the back, my swash was buckled! The Scarlet Pimpernel was one of my favorites growing up, so a mention of him sealed the deal. I wandered the rest of Borders but nothing else compared. I went home and read the whole thing that night. The next day I went back to Borders for the next installment. Now, I write upcoming releases in my calendar.

  21. Molly on February 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I was in Wellesley, MA at the Wellesley Booksmith (one of the best independent book stores still around that hasn’t been taken over by a big chain). I was waiting for my mom, and didn’t have much cash on me. I saw Pink I on the shelf and was intrigued, but I didn’t have enough money. On a whim, I went downstairs to their Used Books basement, and sure enough, there it was – a practically new copy marked down enough that I could scrape together the change to buy it. The next day I went back and bought the second and third, and I haven’t looked back since =).

  22. Lois M. on February 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I, ah, well, really don’t remember. LOL Somehow I caught a mention of the story somewhere online and, being really big on all things Regency, and Regency spy related as a runner up, I liked the sound of it. Whenever this occurred though, it was after the hardcover, because I got the paperback. The next year I lucked out tremendously because I got the second as a paperback, but also was able to get the hardcover for the third. And etc. 🙂 I have the newest in my possession, but still haven’t been able to get to it, having gone back to school for the semester and all. 🙂 But for right this second, it’s just good to know I have it waiting for when I can. 🙂


  23. Erica D on February 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I actually listened to the audio book of Amy’s book in fall of 2007. I had been putting it off and putting it off, and my mother finally wore me down. I took her audio book with the intention to listen to it so she would leave me alone. After listening to book 1, I immediately bought all the remaining audiobooks and actual books. I listened to Amy’s book first but Letty’s was the first book I read in text. I alternate reading them and listening to them =)

  24. Katelin on February 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I found the book after Black Tulip came out. I saw the cover and was intrigued and began flipping through it. I realized that it wasn’t the first book so I went in search of the first one and read them in order. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

  25. Abigail on February 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I’m a new fan—I just discovered the series this past fall. I was in a Borders looking at another book on the same shelf and noticed the title on the spine. I was intrigued, pulled it out, and started reading. I’ve not had the time I’ve wanted to just immerse myself, but I’ll get there—I finished Crimson Rose yesterday…

  26. Nikki M on February 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I think I’d seen someone recommend Pink Carnation on a website so I googled it and liked the look of it so had it imported from Amazon to take to Italy my first year there in 2006. Needless to say, I hardly saw any of Italy for the first few days 😀

  27. Jody on February 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I was in Second Story Books in Rockville, MD, browsing the special used mystery/sf room that used to be attached to it (November 2008). I saw an ARC of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, picked it up, thought it looked interesting. I was only a few pages in when I realized (a) that obviously it wasn’t the first book of the series, and (b) I wanted to go out and get the first books Right Now. So I did.

    And it’s very cool knowing that I share a birthday with the Pink Carnation!

  28. Kate P on February 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    The Masque of the Black Tulip was in the bargain section of MacNally Robinson (the best book store in Winnipeg, Canada) and I loved it. It was my lucky day when I went back the following week they had Pink Carnation and Emerald Ring in Stock. I love discovering a series of books and knowing there are many more to read. I discovered Pink Carnation in the fall of 2007. I was delighted to learn Crimson Rose was coming out that winter.

  29. Susan on February 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I think I discovered the Pink book by accident in the You Might Enjoy section of Barnes & Noble’s website. I got it from the library and decided it was worth buying as I’d be reading them all again and again!

  30. Teje on February 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Having been a Pimpernel fan since childhood, I was intrigued with Pink 1. The cover sold me, but I started with the trade paperback edition, as that format is my favorite. In the case of Tulip, I prefer the paperback cover to the hard cover. I have not been as diligent with the later books, and have bought the hardbacks, because the wait for the softbounds is too long. The whole series is ever so fun, and I am eagerly awaiting the latest additions.

  31. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on February 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Winter 2007, should say first winter, because in Wisconsin, you have that nice cold January till May, then road construction, then more winter. My cat was really sick so I was home nursing him and I had picked up the 1st book, because you have to read them in order! It made what might have been a miserable time nursing a little kitty into a wonderful memory of me and my Spot hanging out on the kitchen floor reading first Pink Caranation, then Masque, then Deception. My kitty lived with me for two more years and died last spring at age 22. I will always have this wonderful memory of this time we had together.

  32. Cassie on February 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I was at the library. And I think I was looking for Jane Austen in large print(that’s all our library had at that time.) And I was just standing there, and turned around, and saw The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I thought it looked interesting, so I pulled it out. But I didn’t actually read it that time, it was one of many of the books that I check out and never read. It wasn’t until a couple months later that I remembered there was a book that I had rented that sounded really good that had the words Pink Carnation in it. So I looked it up, cheked it out again, and read it in just a few days. After that I kept going back to the library and checking out your other books until I got to The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. Now I own them all, have read them many times, and my friends could probably recite the whole first two books, without ever reading them, because they’re all I talked about for months!!

  33. Kayse on February 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I found the Pink Carnation in the spring of my senior year of high school while wandering in my local bookstore. While it’s never good to judge a book by its cover, I am always attracted to novels with pretty, historical fronts. I bought the book, and I remember I stayed up half the night reading it, despite the fact that I had a field trip to New York the next day and had to wake up extra-early for it. I was exhausted the next day, but reading the Pink Carnation for the first time was well-worth it.

  34. Chartreuse on February 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    In early 2006 Black Tulip appeared in the new books section of the local library. It was second in the series. so a trip into the stacks produced Pink Carnation. Read PC; got hooked. Read BT; got even further hooked. Further stories, yet further hooked. Looking forward to the next, even if it is about the White Turnip.

    Keep up the good work, Lauren.

  35. Renee on February 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    It was a few years ago for me…maybe 2007? Emerald was just about to come out…so whenever that was. I was browsing my local library, as I frequently do. I think I noticed Pink Carnation one time but didn’t check it out right then. The next time I went to the library, I remembered seeing something interesting on that shelf, so I went back to look for it. It was checked out, but I saw Black Masque so read that one instead. I LOVED it! I was so glad I had randomly picked it up! I quickly gobbled up Pink Carnation and have been reading them as they come out ever since. I own the whole series. Black Masques actually remains my favorite one to this day. Thanks for the hours of fun reading!

  36. Jeannie Luntz on February 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Read the Mask of the Black Tulip First and then went back for Carnation. I was already hooked. Happy Birthday and congratulations on five productive years– here’s toasting to five more 🙂
    many hugs

  37. am7 on February 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Its funny. I saw the books in the front of the Barnes & Noble closest to where I live. I had seen them for years. This was Summer, I believe June 2008. There were three softbacks, Pink Carnation, Black Tulip, although I am unsure if that was there, and Emerald Ring, and then Crimson Rose in hardcover. I figured out The Secret History of the Pink Carnation was first and bought it. I didn’t realise it was a romance novel. I remember being shocked by the graphic nature of certain scenes in boats. I decided to buy the next one, and googled Lauren to see which one was next. Between the website, and the Black Tulip playing hard to get, (I went to atleast six bookstores over the course of a month to find the Masque of Black Tulip) I was hooked. I didn’t read the others until last summer. I love the books!

  38. Alyson on February 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I had seen Pink Carnation at Barnes & Noble in the summer of 2005, but didn’t get it because I had to pace myself with book buying. It wasn’t until a few months later in October that I bought it with a gift card for my birthday, along with a few other books. But out of the five I bought at that time, it was by far my favorite book. And I’ve been hooked ever since and have well worn out a few of the bindings.

  39. Diana on February 8, 2010 at 12:49 am

    My husband bought me Pink Carnation for Christmas 2006. Someone who worker at Borders recommended it for him. I quickly read it, bought Black Tulip, then a few days later bought Emerald Ring. I now read every book on a pretty regular basis (I feel like Charlotte with Evelina) and absolutely love them. Congratulations on 5 years! You have done a fantastic job!

  40. Zoe J on February 8, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I first Pink Carnation in Borders in Dearborn, Michigan, in January 2007, I was about to move back to England after having lived in Michigan for 9.5 years. I thought it might be good reading on the plane and while we ‘set up’ in England with our 3 boys. HOWEVER, it took me a few more months before I got to read it though, but I LOVED it and have since bought and read all the series as they’ve come out or I’ve found them online! FYI, you cannot seem to buy your books in the shops in England, I go in the big name ones here and never see them, so I have to rely on buying them online! Keep them coming, love them and congratulations on 5 years of Pink 🙂

  41. alicia on February 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    It was spring of ’07 and almost the end of the semester. I needed a way to break the $50 bill I had and decided to look in my school’s practically empty bookstore at the discount bin of books. I was a total sucker for the cover and bought it without really reading the back. It turned out to be one of the best discoveries I have ever made. Each new book usually coincides with the end of a hellish semester and is the best way to unwind after! Happy Birthday!

  42. Beena Shah on February 10, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I was at the Borders in Phoenix,AZ waiting for my husband right around the release of the Masque of the Black Tulip. I was just browsing and the Pink Carnation title caught my attention. I sat down at the lounge chair and started reading and could not put it down. I ended up buying the book and stayed awake all night to finish it. I went back to Borders and bought the Masque of the Black Tulip which remains as one of my most favorite books in the series and of all time!

  43. Yvette on February 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I found Pink Carnation on the new-books display in Barnes & Noble (the San Jose, CA store, I think) in February or March of 2005. I saw the cover-art and thought that it had one of the best-rendered dresses that I had ever seen on a book-cover. So, I figured that it was probably an actual portrait, and I wondered if it would be correct for the period in which the book was set (so few cover-pictures are). So I looked inside … and was hooked. I didn’t read another Pink book until I found an audiobook copy of Black Tulip at the pubic library a few years later. I was very happy to find that Pink had become a series! I have very little time to actually sit & read, so I have all of them on Audio, but I recently went out and got Pinks 2-5 in trade paperback & Blood Lily in hardback.

    …and, unless it was a court-dress (which would have been designed to match the powdered-wig & knee-breaches period), Pink’s cover is not correct for the Regency period … but then several of the other covers aren’t either. I think that all the covers have lovely pictures, and the Pinks are all great books. They sit next to my Georgette Heyer collection, and my Jane Austen books.

  44. Ashley J on February 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I discovered the Pink Carnation series in 2008 when Crimson came out in paperback. I had just graduated from college, and was taking five months off before going to grad school (coincidentally for Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management). Since I actually had some free time on my hands to read for pleasure (after double majoring and graduating a semester early, this was a first!), I went to B&N and picked up Pink on my mother’s recommendation. My mom, who is always right, as most mothers are, told me I had to read it because it had a connection to archives (and because I love historical fiction with a healthy dose of romance). Needless to say, I purchased Pink in the afternoon and was back at B&N the next evening to buy Black Tulip and Crimson.

    Thank you Lauren for creating a wonderful series with such entertaining and marvelously written characters!

    PS – Thanks for putting Amy’s manuscripts in acid-free cardboard folios, but can’t Mrs. Selwick-Alderly have taken Penelope’s papers out of those metal ringed notebooks. Think of the horrid possibilities of rust and acid from the old notebook paper! =)

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