Title That Book!

Once again, I find myself at a botanical loss. Yes, folks, it’s time for a title for Pink VII. As a good friend of mine would say, I got nothin’.

I fling myself on your ingenuity. Below, I’ve attached the first chapter of the as-yet-untitled Pink VII.

From now until Monday the 22nd, I’ll be accepting any and all suggestions for titles, based on the excerpt below. Once the potential titles are in, I’m going to throw it open to a vote (with the caveat that my editor has the ultimate choice).

The contributor(s) of the winning title will receive an advance copy of Pink VII and a credit in the acknowledgments.

Let the naming begin!

Chapter One

“Around the back,” said the gatekeeper.

Laura scrambled backwards as a moving wall of iron careened towards her face. From the distance, the gate was a grand thing, a towering edifice of black metal with heraldic symbols outlined in flaking gilt. From up close, it was decidedly less attractive. Especially when it was on a collision course with one’s nose. Her nose might not be a thing of beauty, but she liked it where it was.

“But—” Laura began to protest, grabbing at the bars with her gloved hands. The leather skidded against the bars, leaving long, rusty streaks across her palms. So much for her last pair of gloves.
Laura bit down on a sharp exclamation of frustration. She reminded herself of Rule #10 of the Guide to Better Governessing: Never Let Them See You Suffer. Weakness bred contempt. If there was one thing she had learnt, it was that the meek never inherited anything—except maybe a gate to the nose.

“I am expected,” Laura announced, with all the dignity she could muster.

It was hard to be dignified with raindrops dripping off one’s nose. She could feel wet strands of hair scraggling down her back, under the back of her collar. Errant strands tickled her back, making her want to squirm. Oh, heavens, that itched.

She looked down her nose through the grille of ironwork. “Kindly let me in.”

Ahead of her, just a stretch of courtyard away, across gardens grown unkempt with neglect, lay warmth and shelter. Or at least shelter. From the look of the unlit windows, there was precious little warmth. But even a roof looked good to her right now. Roofs served an important purpose. They kept off rain. Blasted rain. This was France, not England. What was it doing mizzling like this?

The gatekeeper shrugged, and started to turn away.

Laura resisted the urge to reach through the bars, grab him by the collar, and shake.

“The governess,” she called after him, trying to keep any touch of desperation from her voice. She refused to believe her mission could end like this, this ignomiously, this early. This moistly. “I am the governess.”

“Around the back,” the gatekeeper repeated and spat for good measure.

Around the back? The house was a good mile around. Would it really have been so much bother to have let her in through the front? What had happened to liberte, egalite and fraternite? Apparently, those sentiments didn’t extend to governesses.

Fine. If she had to go around the back, she would go around the back. She hoped his next baguette was soggy and his frogs’ legs tasted of elderberry.

Laura took a step back, landing in a puddle that went clear up to her ankle. She could feel the icy water soaking through the worn leather of her sensible kid boot. At least, it would have been sensible, if it hadn’t had a hole the size of Notre Dame in the sole. Laura took a deep breath in and out through her nose. Right. If he wanted her around the back, around the back it was. There was no point in starting off on the wrong foot by fighting with the gatekeeper. Even if the man was a petty cretin who shouldn’t be trusted with a latch key.

Temper, she reminded herself. Temper. She had been a semi-servant for years enough now that one would think she was immune to such petty slights.

Gathering up the sodden folds of her pelisse (dark brown wool, sensible, warm, didn’t show the dirt, largely because it had already been designed to look like dirt), Laura trudged the length of the street, skidding a bit as her sodden shoes slipped and slid on the rounded cobbles. The Hotel de Bac was in the heart of the Marais, among a twisted welter of ancient streets, most without sidewalks. During her long years in England, Laura had never thought she would miss London, but she did miss the sidewalks. And the tea.

Mmm, tea. Hot, amber liquid with curls of steam rising from the top, the curved sides of the cup warm against one’s palms on a cold day….

This has been her choice, she reminded herself. No one had placed a sword to her side and demanded she go. She could very well have stayed in England and done exactly as she had done for the past sixteen years. She could have walked primly down the sidewalked streets, herding her charges in front of her, yanking them back from horse’s hooves and mud puddles and bits of interesting masonry; she could have poured her tea from the nursery teapot, watching the steam curl from the cup and knowing that she was seeing in those endless curls a lifetime of the same streets, the same tea, the same high pitched voices whining, “Miss Grey! Miss Grey!”

She didn’t want to be Miss Grey anymore. Miss Grey might have warm hands and dry feet, but she wanted to be Laura again, before it was too late and the stony edifice that was Miss Grey closed entirely around her. Perhaps it was time to get her feet wet.

The corner of Laura’s mouth twisted as she looked down at the soaking mess of her shoes. It was a pity Fate had to take her quite so literally.

When she got to the side entrance, the gatekeeper was waiting for her. He had an umbrella—which he held over his own head. Unlike the main gate, this one was designed for use rather than show, two thick slabs of dark wood leading onto a square stone courtyard. He opened them just wide enough for her wiggle through, in an undignified sideways shuffle. That was, she was sure, quite intentional.

Rain oozed down the gray stone of the building, seeping through the cracks in the masonry, puddling in the crevices in the paving. Tucked away in a corner, a stone angel wept over the round mouth of a well, raindrops dripping down her face like tears. The long windows were the same unforgiving gray as the stone.

After the bright, modern townhouses of Mayfair, the great bulk of the seventeenth century mansion looked archaic and more than a little threatening.

From very long ago, a whisper of memory presented itself, of the fairy stories so in vogue in the fashionable salons of her youth, of castles under curses, their ruined halls echoing to the fearsome tread of the ogre, as a captive princess shivered in her tower.

Laura didn’t believe in fairy stories. Any ogres here would be of the human variety.

One ogre, to be precise. Andre Jaouen. Thirty-six years old. Formerly an avocat of Nantes. Now employed at the Prefecture de Paris under the ostensible supervision of Louis-Nicolas Dubois. Commonly known to be a protégé of Bonaparte’s Chief of Police, Joseph Fouche, to whom he bore a distant relation. It was his department through which any word of suspicious personages in Paris would come. It was his job to hunt down and secure these threats to the Republic.

Which meant that it was Laura’s job to get the information to the Pink Carnation before he could get to them.

Just a simple little task. Nothing to write home about. She had nothing to do but outwit a man whose very business was the outwitting of others with no training but sixteen years of governessing and a six month course in a spy school in Sussex executed in a way that could only be called cheerfully haphazard. The Selwicks had taught her to blacken her teeth with soot and gum (just in case she wanted to play a demented old hag); to ask the way to Rouen in a thick Norman accent; and to swing on a rope through a window without breaking the glass or herself. None of these skills seemed entirely applicable to her current situation.

Laura wasn’t under any illusions as to her qualifications. The Pink Carnation would have been happier inserting a maid into Jaouen’s household, or a groom, someone with more experience in the field, someone less conspicuous, someone with a proven record, but Jaouen hadn’t needed a maid or a groom. He had needed a governess and governess she was.

If there was one role she could play convincingly, it was the one she had lived for the past sixteen years. She just had to remember that.

Laura looked levelly at the gatekeeper, trying not to wince at the rain that blew below her bonnet rim, plastering wet strands of hair against her face.

“Hello,” she said, as if she hadn’t been forced to walk half a mile in the rain when there had been a perfectly good gate right there. “I am the governess. Your master is expecting me.”

The gatekeeper jerked his head brusquely to the side. “This way.”

There had been a formal entrance on the other side, equipped with a grand porte-cochere designed to keep the rain off more privileged heads than hers. No such luxuries for a potential governess. Shivering, Laura picked her way along behind the gatekeeper across the uncovered courtyard, trying to avoid the slicks of mud where the stone had cracked and crumbled, ruinous with neglect. Whatever equality the revolution had preached, it didn’t extend to domestic staff.

Laura squelched her way down an uncarpeted corridor after the gatekeeper, her sodden shoes leaving damp prints on the floor. If possible, it felt even colder inside than out. Despite the frost on the windows, there were no fires in any of the grates. The Hotel de Bac was as cold as the grave.

Pushing open a door, the gatekeeper managed to force two full syllables through his lips. “Wait here.”

With that edifying communication, he stalked off the way he had come.

So much for insinuating herself with the servants. Perhaps the gatekeeper had a rule against fraternizing with governesses. Heaven only knew what might rub off on him. He might catch himself speaking in words of multiple syllables.

Shaking out her damp skirts, Laura turned in a slow circle. Here was a once grand salon, entirely bare of furniture. Smoke had dulled the once elegant silk hangings on the walls and filmed the ornate plasterwork of the ceiling. Darker patches on the wall revealed places where paintings had once hung, but did no longer. The gold leaf that had once picked out the frame of a painting set into the ceiling had flaked off in large chips, giving the whole a derelict air. The painting was still in its rightful place, but dirt and wear had given the king of the gods a decidedly down at the mouth look.

Most of the decay was due to neglect, but not all. The coat of arms above the fireplace had been hacked into oblivion. Deep gashes scored the shield, obliterating both the symbols of rank and the ceremonial border around them. Beneath a now lopsided border of plumes, the gashes gaped like open wounds, oozing pure malice and mindless hate.

Laura felt a chill run down her spine that had nothing to do with the January cold. So much for the old family de Bac. She wondered what this new regime did to spies. That particular information had not been part of her training course, and probably for good reason.

Laura caught herself digging her nails into her palms and made herself stop. The gloves were her only pair; she couldn’t afford to claw out the palms.

Stupid, Laura told herself. Stupid, stupid, not to have expected this. Stupid to have believed that the Paris to which she returned would be the Paris of her childhood. It had been seventeen years since she had last been in Paris. There had been a little event called a revolution in the between. That was why she was here, after all.

During her training in Sussex, Laura had memorized the new revolutionary calendar, with its odd ten day weeks and re-named months. She had learned which place names had been changed and which had changed back again. But what was a name more or less? Nothing had prepared her for the scars the city bore, the bloodstains which never quite came out, the damaged buildings, the air of anxiety in the streets, where any man might be an agent of the Minister of Police, any soldier on his way to foment yet another coup, where the blood might run from the Place de la Revolution once again as it had before. The charming, urbane, decadent city of her youth had become anxious and gray.

Laura gave herself a good shake. Of course, it felt gray. It was raining. She wasn’t going to let herself throw away a heaven-sent opportunity all for the sake of a little fall of rain. This was her chance. Her chance to do something more, to be something more, to throw off the yoke of governessing forever, even if the only way to do it was to pretend to be the governess she had once been in truth. She only had to prove to the Pink Carnation that she could spy as well as she could teach.

Only, Laura mocked herself. As simple as that.

The door of the salon creaked open, the hinges giving way with a strident squawk that made Laura half-trip over the hem of her own dress.

Through the doorway strode a man in a caped coat. Raindrops sparkled in his close-cropped brown hair and created dark patches on the wool of his coat. The fabric made a brisk swooshing sound as he walked, as if it were hurrying to get out of his way.

Laura couldn’t blame it. Jaouen walked with the purposeful stride of a man who knew exactly where he was going and woe betide anything that stood in his way.

His clothes were simple, serviceable, of the sort of fabric that lasted for years and didn’t show dirt. Whatever he was in this game for, it wasn’t for the pecuniary pay-off. There was nothing of the dandy about him. His black boots were flecked with fresh mud and old wear. His medium brown hair had been cut short, in what might have been an approximation of the Roman style currently in vogue, but which Laura suspected was simply for convenience. Her new employer—her potential employer, she corrected herself—didn’t seem the sort to waste unnecessary time preening in front of a mirror. He looked like what he had been, a lawyer from the provinces, still wearing the clothes he had worn then.

Laura was standing, as she always stood, in a corner of the room, her drab dress blending neatly into the shadows. She was an adept at that. It was the reason the Pink Carnation had recruited her, her ability to be neither seen nor heard, to be as gray in character as she was in name. But Andre Jaouen seemed to have no trouble finding her, even in the gloom of the room. Without wasting a moment, he made directly for her.

“Mlle Griscogne.” It was a statement, not a question.

He wore spectacles, small ones, rimmed in dark metal. His dossier had not specified that. Perhaps whoever had compiled it hadn’t thought it important. Laura disagreed. The glint of the glass sharpened an already sharp gaze, sizing her up and filleting her into neat pieces all in the space of a moment’s inspection.

“Sir.” Laura forced herself not to flinch away.

Beneath the twin circles of glass, Jaouen’s eyes were a bright, unexpected aquamarine. In contrast to his drab brown cloak and weather-browned skin, there was something almost frivolous about the color, as if it had been an oversight on the part of nature.

There was nothing frivolous about the way the Assistant Prefect of Police was looking her up and down.

There was nothing about her appearance to give her away, Laura reassured herself, fighting to keep the prickles of fear at bay. They had been very careful of that. Her attire was all French-made, from the scuffed half-boots on her feet to the hairpins driving into her scalp. Her real wardrobe, the wardrobe she had worn in her past life as Laura Grey, governess, as well as her small cache of books and personal keepsakes, had been left in Sussex, in a trunk in a box room in a house called Selwick Hall, sixteen years of her life boxed away and reduced to three square feet of storage space. There was no more Laura Grey, governess. Only Laure Griscogne.


Ah, well.

Whatever Andre Jaouen saw passed muster. Well, it should, shouldn’t it? French or English, she looked like the governess she was. “Apologies for keeping you waiting. I can only spare you a few moments.”

As apologies went, it wasn’t much of one. Still, the fact that he had offered one at all was something. Laura inclined her head in acknowledgment. Servility had come hard to her, but she had had many years in which to learn it. “I am at your convenience, Monsieur Jaouen.”

“Not mine,” he said, with a sudden, unexpected glint of humor. Or perhaps it was only a trick of the watery light, reflected through rain streaked-windows. “My children’s. The agency told me that you have been a governess for… how many years was it?”

She would have wagered her French-made hairpins that he knew exactly how many, but she supplied the number all the same. “Sixteen.”

That much was true. Sixteen excruciating years. She had been sixteen herself when she began, stranded and friendless in a foreign country. She had lied with all the efficiency of desperation, convincing the woman at the agency that she was twenty. She had scraped back her hair to make herself look older and ruthlessly scowled down anyone who dared to question it. Mostly, they hadn’t. Hunger and worry did their work quickly. By the end of that first, desperate month, she could easily have passed for older than she claimed. Her upbringing might have been unconventional, but it had left her unprepared for the shock of true poverty.

“Sixteen years,” her prospective employer repeated. Through the spectacles, he submitted her to the sort of scrutiny he must have given dodgy witnesses in the courtroom, as though he could fright out lies by the force of his look alone. “Think again, Mlle Griscogne.”

Laura pinched her lips together. Sixteen years ago, she had learned that the expression made her look older, more reliable. People expected their governess to look like a prune who had just been sucking on a lemon.

By now it came naturally.

She had to succeed in this mission. Had to, had to. Anything rather than face being a governess forever, feeling her face freeze a little more every year into a caricature of herself until there was no Laura left beneath it.

For the next few months, she would be the very best governess she could be if only it meant, please God, that she never had to be a governess again.

Laura squared her shoulders beneath her sodden pelisse, steeling herself against the urge to shiver. “I assure you, M. Jaouen,” she said frostily, “my experience as a governess is quite as extensive as the agency has claimed. I provide elementary instruction in composition, literature, Scripture, history, geography, botany, and arithmetic. I am proficient in Italian, German, English, and the classical languages. I teach music, drawing, and needlework.”

Andre Jaouen’s eyebrows lifted. “All that in the same day?”

Laura’s brows drew together. Was he joking? It was hard to tell. Either way, it was always better to ignore such lapses in one’s employers. If they weren’t joking, they tended to take offense at the assumption of levity. If they were, it was dangerous to encourage them.

The reflection helped settle her nervous stomach. She felt on firmer ground here, putting a prospective employer in his place. She had played this game before.

“I tailor the curriculum to fit the specific needs and interests of the children in my care,” she said loftily. “Not all subjects are appropriate in every situation.”

Andre Jaouen made an impatient gesture. “No, of course not. I doubt my son would appreciate your tutelage on needlework. You are free to start immediately?” At her look of surprise, he said, briskly, “I wish to have this business dealt with as quickly of possible. Your references were excellent.”

Of course, they had been. The Pink Carnation employed only the best forgers.

Was it just her nerves acting up again, or had that been too easy? Shouldn’t he question her about her references? Ask her more about her teaching methods? Tell her about the children?

“Mlle Griscogne?”

“Yes,” she said hastily. “I can begin whenever you like.”

Andre Jaouen motioned her forward, already in motion himself, making short work of the distance to the double doors through which Laura had entered. “I have two children, Gabrielle and Pierre-Andre. Gabrielle is nine. Pierre-Andre is five. Until now, they have been with their grandparents in Nantes. This is their first time in Paris.” He spoke as he walked; direct, economical, no effort wasted.

“And their prior education?” Laura lengthened her stride to keep up, her wet skirts tangling in her legs as she followed him past a wide staircase, the marble balustrade gone a dull gray with grime. An empty pedestal stood on the landing, marking the place where a statue must once have stood. Tapestries still lined the walls, but they hung crookedly, and several bore poorly mended gashes.

“Their grandfather taught them at home.”

Laura did her best to suppress a grimace. Fairy stories. Basic reading. Arithmetic. If she were lucky. She would have to start from the very beginning with them. The boy, Pierre-Andre, was nearly of an age to be sent off to school. She would have to bring him up to the level of other boys his age.

No, she wouldn’t. The thought brought Laura up short. If she did her job well, she wouldn’t be around long enough for it to matter. She had been thinking like a governess again, falling back into the old patterns.

Jaouen was still talking, words marshalling themselves into neat, economical sentences. Behind the measured cadences, Laura could detect just a hint of a Breton burr. There was no faux-aristocratic ostentation there, no pretense. “Your wages will be paid quarterly. Room and board will be provided to you. Ah, Jean.” That last had been directed to the gatekeeper. “Tell Jeannette to find Mlle Griscogne a room. Something near the children.”

Jean and Jeannette? His servants couldn’t be named Jean and Jeannette. It was too much like something out of the Comedia del’Arte. Did the still unseen Jeannette run around in a parti-colored costume smacking Jean over the head with a big stick, like Pierrot and Pierrette? Perhaps they were spies, too. If so, one would have thought they could have come up with better aliases.

“Jeannette is the nursery maid,” Jaouen said, in an aside to her. Without waiting for them to be handed to him, he scooped up his own hat and cane off a marble-topped table by the door. “Jeannette will see you settled and make you known to Gabrielle and Pierre-Andre. If you need anything, either Jean or Jeannette will see to it.”

With a nonchalant push, Jean the gatekeeper shoved open the door, letting in a blast of damp air. The rain looked as though it were contemplating turning to snow. The icy pellets stung Laura’s cheeks as she followed Jaouen to the door. She was still wearing her pelisse, and her pelisse was still just as wet as it had been when she had entered; the entire interview, such as it was, had taken all of ten minutes. Ten minutes to embark on the most dangerous gamble of her life.

A carriage was waiting in the courtyard, plain and black like the cloak draped over Jaouen’s shoulders, the horses pawing impatiently at the cobbles.

She had clearly been dismissed. And hired. She had been hired, hadn’t she?

Jean-the-gatekeeper gave her a disapproving look as she followed her new employer out under the porte cochere. Or perhaps that was just his normal expression. “I will need to fetch my things,” Laura said desperately. “And settle my account at my current lodgings.”

Reaching into his waistcoat pocket, Andre Jaouen took out a purse and shook several coins out into his palm. He thrust what looked to her untutored eyes like a substantial sum in her direction.

“An advance,” he said impatiently, when Laura looked at him uncomprehending. “On your wages.”

Laura’s back stiffened. “My own funds are more than adequate to settle my current obligations.”

He looked at her curiously, then shrugged, returning the coins to his pocket. “Will you bite my head off if I offer you the use of the carriage?”

He cocked an eyebrow, waiting for her reply. There it was again, that glimmer of what might be humor. Laura saw nothing to laugh about.

“There is no need, sir,” she said coolly. “My lodgings are not far and I am more than accustomed to managing for myself.”

Jaouen eyed her speculatively, his glasses glinting in the light of the carriage lamps. “I can see that.” And then he ruined it by adding, “I wouldn’t hire you if I thought it were otherwise. My occupation is a demanding one. I have no time for domestic squabbles.”

That had put her in her place. Between fear and relief, she felt almost giddy. “Squelching squabbles is one of my particular specialities.”

Jaouen forbore to comment. With the air of someone getting done with a bad job, he continued, “You may be troubled from time to time by my wife’s cousin, who persists under the unfortunate delusion that my home is his own. Ignore him.”

Ah, one of those, was he? Once, she might have claimed that she wasn’t the sort of governess to inflame a young man’s lusts. But she had learned the hard way that, after a certain degree of inebriation, all it took was being female, and sometimes not even that. She had also learned that employers seldom took kindly to their elder sons, nephews, or houseguests being hit over the head with a warming pan, candlestick, or chamber pot. Laura appreciated both the warning, and the implicit authorization to do whatever she needed to do.

It was comforting to know that the intimidating Monsieur Jaouen had an Achilles heel, even if that Achilles heel was only a cousin by marriage. It made him more human, somehow. And human meant fallible. Fallible was good, especially for her purposes.

“I will. Sir.”

Jaouen nodded brusquely, her message received and accepted. Hat in one hand, cane in the other, he started for the carriage. At the last moment, just beyond the protective cover of the awning, Jaouen jerked his head back over his shoulder.
Laura shot to attention.

“Why did you leave your last position?” he asked abruptly.

“My pupil married.” If he had hoped to shock her into an admission, he would be disappointed. Her pupil had married in June, leaving her once more without a situation. The family had been kind; they had kept her on through the wedding, but there was a limit to the charity she was willing to accept. “She had no need for a governess anymore.”

But the Pink Carnation had had need of an agent.

Rain pocked Jaouen’s glasses as he treated her to another long, thoughtful look. He held his hat in one hand but didn’t bother to put it on, despite the rivulets of rain that silvered his hair and dampened his coat. “An occupational hazard?”

Laura permitted herself a grim smile. “One of the most hazardous.”

She had never thought much of matrimony herself—her parents had set no favorable example—but it had been distinctly unsettling to make a place for oneself only to be flung out into the world again. And again and again. Some of them, the sentimental ones, sent letters for a time, but those generally tailed off within the first year, as the daily demands of the domestic state outweighed sentimental recollections of the schoolroom.

“You shan’t have to worry about that with Gabrielle. Yet.”

She wouldn’t be around long enough to worry about that.

“Indeed,” she agreed. Noncommittal replies were always best in dealing with employers. Yes, sir; no, sir; indeed, sir. It came out by rote.

Jaouen clapped his hat onto his head. “Tomorrow morning,” he said. “The children will be expecting you.”

Jean, the gatekeeper, slammed the door shut behind him as he swung up into the carriage. The horses’ nostrils flared, their breath steaming in the cold air, as the coachman clucked to them, setting them into motion. Through the rapidly misting glass of the window, Jaouen was nothing more than a silhouette, a blurred image in tans and browns.

That was it. She had done it. She had really done it. Blood surged to Laura’s cheeks and fingertips, sending a rush of warmth tingling through her despite the freezing wind gluing her soaking skirts to her legs. Whatever else came of it, the first step was accomplished; she was a member of Jaouen’s household. She was in.

Between the rain and the sound of hooves against the cobbles, Laura could just barely hear her new employer call out his instructions to the coachman.

“To the Abbaye Prison. As fast as you can.”

Laura swallowed hard, turning her face away from a sudden gust of wind that tore at her bonnet strings and snatched away the very breath from her throat.

Oh, she was in all right. Way over her head.


  1. Daniel Ezra Johnson on March 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I still say “The Cage of the Bird of Paradise”.

    With optional adjective before “Cage”.

  2. Michelle on March 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    The gate..the survival element…the possible re-birth from a dormant state all bring the clematis to mind. How about “The Ascension of the Clematis”?

  3. Lori McNelly on March 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    “The Redemption of the Red Rose” (or any other color!)

  4. Allison on March 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    The Blossoming of the Wild Orchid


    The Blooming of the Golden Daffodil


    Unfurling the Scarlet Peony

  5. Katie Stuart on March 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    “The Edification of the Violet Helleborine” – Violet helleborines are an uncommon English orchid that looks very uninteresting from afar, but when you look up close they are beautiful and perfect: http://www.english-country-garden.com/flowers/violet-hellborine.htm

  6. Marian Berthoud on March 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    “The Illusion of the Suppressed Gardenia”.

  7. Britt L. on March 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    “The Education of the Violet Iris”

    Education, because she is both educating and being educated. Iris, because it means faith, wisdom, and valor. All things that this particular Pink heroine appears to embody (on the outside anyway). And violet simply because it’s my favorite color! 😀

  8. Jessica S. on March 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    OK…there is a famous Botanical Garden in Nantes, but the current garden was established in 1806, so that’s too late to be meaningful. The original dates back to 1688, though. It is famous for magnolias and camellias. So, how about “The ____ of the Careful Camellia”?

    Or, since this is in the Marais, which includes Place des Vosges, which is planted with linden trees (lime trees in Britain) (and I like a tree for Laura already),

    “The Transformation of the Sweet Lime” or something like that?

  9. Ashley B. on March 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    The Pretense of the Waning Lilac.

    “Pretense” because of the obvious. “Waning” because Laura feels like she’s losing herself and who she is. And I just like lilacs AND they grow in France!

  10. Michelle K on March 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I’m not entirely sold on any titles of mine, but I keep coming up with daisies. They’re sensible, sturdy, and have healing properties, which sounds a bit like our governess.

    Oh, different varieties are even used in teas!

  11. Lauren T. on March 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    The Trepidation of the Alabaster Trillium

  12. Michelle K on March 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Perhaps, The Cabal of the Reticent Daisy.

  13. Susan on March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    The Discovery of the English Rose

  14. Heather Bond on March 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Dangerous Lillyaisons

  15. Christine on March 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I went with orchid on the last contest and I’m sticking with it. From the blurb the heroine seems strong (of course) but that she’s just learning and getting to the core of who she is. I’m going with The Essence of the Scarlet Orchid.

  16. Lora on March 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    The Beguilment of the Silver Dandelion

    (i like that her name is “gray” so i used “silver” and dandelion in French is diente de leon–tooth of the lion–so delicacy disguising sharpness…but if i have to explain it…oh well i tried)

  17. Susan on March 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The Discovery of the English Poplar
    The Duplicity of the Innocent Iris

    It’s a little difficult without knowing more details of what the ‘bad guys’ are up to.
    Iris means ‘message’, which seemed appropriate.
    Poplar can mean ‘courage’ or ‘time’ depending on whether it’s a black or white one.

  18. Alex on March 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    The Duplicity of the Elegant Iris

    The iris is a popular flower of France, and since shes two people, I wanted something smart and saying that shes quiet and brilliant, but all I could think of was Elegant.

  19. Susan on March 12, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I think I might have to change that to

    ‘The Treachery of the Innocent Iris’

    (I’m having fun with the thesaurus)

  20. lAUra on March 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I’ll keep thinking about it, but I’m all for Laura being a Laurel.
    here’s the description i found on google: http://www.arenaflowers.com/facts/flowers/flower_meanings/laurels_flowers

    idk if it’s native to England but that sounds like a heroine to me!


  21. Celia on March 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    The Rise of the Morning Glory

    (or The Dawn of the Morning Glory)

  22. lAUra on March 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    The Triumph of the Golden Laurel

  23. Sara on March 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I’m still mulling on a title, but who is the hero in this book?

  24. Maggie Kearney on March 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    The Rebirth of the Enchanter’s Nightshade.

    Here’s the description of the flower:

    Enchanter’s Nightshade thrives in moist shady woodland where other plants may struggle.

    The leaves are large, dull and pointed. The tiny flowers, only 4 to 8 mm across, grow along long thin stems

    The flowers are followed by small seeds covered with hooked bristles which catch on the fur of small animals.

    I was struck throughout the excerpt that Laura is a character who has been making & remaking herself for the last 16 years, and now here she goes again. I love that the flowers has ‘hooked bristles to catch on the fur of small animals’ just as Laura is meant the catch the information of the French Police from the inside.

    The more I think about the snapshot we have of Laura & read the description of the flower – the more I like it.

  25. Wende on March 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    The Strength of the Stone Camilla

    (Silver would work, like Lora-above-suggested. I was thinking the same thing she was, Laura kept mentioning being “gray”, her last name is Grey so either description would work)

    The flower name could change too, that’s just one I pulled out of nowhere

    I like the alliteration and rhythm of “the strength of Stone/Silver _______”

    good luck! the beginning reminds me of Jane Eyre 🙂 that’s a good thing

  26. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on March 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Loving it! So moody and atmospheric, with a lovely Monty Python reference. So to titlage…

    The Cultivation of the Silvered Lords and Ladies.

    (Cultivation being plant and governess related, and Lords and Ladies being double meaninged… death of the Aristos, and a British Wildflower!)

    The Education of the Smoky Heather.

    The Guardian of the Angel’s Tears.
    (Angel’s Tears being in the Narcissus Family and they sprang to mind with the wet stone angel, well, so did that scary episode of Doctor Who as well.)

    So, some of these do get a little silly, but the plants were all my friend who is a plant expert being told, what makes you think English Governess:

    The Rearing of the British Begonia.

    The Persuading of the Pearly Petunia.

    The Meddling the Servile Heliotrope.

    The Waiting of the Obedient Gorse.

  27. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on March 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Also I agree, stone anything would work.


    The Emancipation of the Somber/Stone Mignonette. (Which means something of worth in the language of flowers).

    Cherry Blossom could also be used (references a good education).

    The Longing of the Iron Lichen.

    Nasturtium for Patriotism.

    And I was thinking something to do with Lime, but after reading it means fornication in the language of flowers… I think that might be right out.

  28. Heather on March 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    the determination of the violet dahlia
    or any other color dahlia… there are not very many colors that start with d…….

  29. Cathy Brown on March 12, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I like the silver/grey theme:

    The Guise of the Silver Rose

    Too many roses? How about:

    The Delusion of the Silver Pearl

  30. Magdalena on March 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    The Concealment of the Calla Lily

  31. Devan on March 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    The Illusions of the Ivory Magnolia

    The Resilience of the Royal Iris

    Magnolia’s are tough and strong flowers and Laura seems to have those characteristics. She also seems resilient.

  32. Devan on March 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    The Secrets of the Silver Snapdragon

    I love alliteration 🙂

  33. Rachel on March 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I’m thinking Ivy …

    Ivy is both English and French. It’s sturdy. It’s common-place, yet many of the varieties have some unique or distinguishing touch or feature to the leaves.

    What about … The Infiltration of the Ivy …

  34. Lois M. on March 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    How about …

    The Secrecy of the White Rose
    The Humility of the Blue Blues

    and oh well, that’s all I got. 🙂


  35. Julie A. on March 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Just throwing these out there:

    The Tasks of the Valiant Bluebell

    The Profession of a Gallant Gardenia

    The Array of the Red Camellia

    I also like the Yellow Iris, Dahlia, Laurel, Oleander, and Primrose.

  36. Kate P on March 12, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    The Trials of the Silver Laurel

  37. Kit on March 12, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    The _______ Victory of the False Rosemary

    Victory is a play on Laura (Derived from laurels–>ancient ceremony, winning, etc.).

    The blank is for the adjective that best encapsulates the tone of the novel. (Hopefully a “successful” or “resounding” victory, not a “costly” one or something along those lines).

    There actually is a plant called “False Rosemary.” (It belongs to the mint family of plant.) False rather speakes for itself since these are spy novels
    ;-), and rosemary is related to memory, which is fitting both for a spy and governess.

  38. amanda b on March 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    i kept reading grey over and over, which immediatley brought me to silver.

    the perils of the silver orchid


    the surmise of the silver orchid

    i am stuck on orchid, since owning one, they do almost appear a silvery-grey in certain lighting. obviously i love the silver orchid part.

  39. Hannah T on March 12, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    The Courage of the White Amaryllis
    The Suspicion of the Violet Ivy
    The Silence of the Water-lily

    I think the last one is my favorite…that’s all for now

  40. Jessica C on March 12, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    The Vengeance of the ____ Violet. (Blue Violet? Sweet Violet?)

    Violets mean humility; blue violets mean alert, faithful, always around. I think both meanings apply to Laura, and her dual ‘job’ as humble governess and sneaky spy.

  41. Devan on March 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    The Deadly Nights of the Belladonna

  42. Erica D on March 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    The Trial of the Lotus Flower


    The Test of the Lotus Flower

    I like the idea of a trial or test as this is Laura’s first attempt or trial at espionage.

    I like the Lotus flower for Laura because they have thick sturdy stems and grow through and above water. They also symbolize purity. This is the impression I get of Laura. She seems pure and straightforward. She also seems brave and sturdy, and although she’s afraid, she’s brave and has more courage than one would expect. It’s also raining and awful out, and despite her drab surroundings, Laura succeeds in obtaining her post. Similarly, the Lotus flower blooms in beauty after growing past the mud and water in which it is immersed. I hope Laura does the same as the book progresses!

  43. Alicia on March 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I have a great flower, but don’t know how to get it into a title…hmmm…

  44. Devan on March 12, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    The Shadows of the Silver Moonflower

    The Mystifying Mishap of the Moonflower

    Just finished Blood Lily and started thinking of names for Jack’s book already.

  45. Kaytee Holcombe on March 13, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Book Title:

    The Charade of the Calla Lily

  46. Kaytee Holcombe on March 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

    The Enchantment of the White Violet

  47. Devan on March 13, 2010 at 12:27 am

    The Persuasions of the Golden Evening Primrose

  48. Deanna on March 13, 2010 at 12:34 am

    The deceit of the Daffodil.

  49. Alicia on March 13, 2010 at 12:36 am

    The Perseverance of the Protea
    The Retribution of the Cunning Protea

    Protea: “presents itself in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes and hues…(represents) change and transformation, daring and resourcefulness, diversity and courage.”

    Okay, I’ve never looked at flower meanings before, let alone for THAT long!

  50. Sara on March 13, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I can’t think of a title but the flower snapdragon aka antirrhinum majus, which in this case could be used as a villian cause it rivals the carnation?
    The_____of the Tiger Lily sounds pretty 😀

  51. Lauren on March 13, 2010 at 1:25 am

    The Wisdom Within the Gray Gate

    The Luck of the Silver Lotus

    The Rising of the Silver Lotus

    The Persuasion of the Silver Lotus

    *lotus flowers emerge (“rise”) from muddy waters every day in order to bloom, appear silver in color, and represent luck in several cultures.

    I also thought, as persuade is a synonym of the verb “to teach,” it would fit with Laura nicely.

  52. Miki on March 13, 2010 at 2:11 am

    The Predicament of the White Oleander… The Shadows of the Blue Violet… The Cloak of the Golden Iris…

    Or really a mix up of any of them.

    Fun Facts:
    Oleanders are a symbol for caution; blue violets are a symbol of watchfulness while white violets mean to take a chance; and irises are associated with France in the fleur-de-lis which started with Louis VII who adopted it as his symbol in the 12th century.

    Those are my donations to the title search!

  53. Melanie on March 13, 2010 at 2:37 am

    How about “The Training of the Green Gladiolus”

  54. Cait on March 13, 2010 at 2:47 am

    The Education of the {something… maybe yellow?} Daisy.

    I like Daisy for her, just because it seems so fresh and unassuming. But there are definately some other cool titles here too!

  55. Melanie on March 13, 2010 at 2:56 am

    What about something using the Mont Blanc Amaryllis….

  56. Jane L. on March 13, 2010 at 3:12 am

    The Ruse of the Indigo Iris.

    The Iris was chosen as the symbol of France, the “fleur-de-lis”. The Iris can also be found in England. It has already been brought to our attention that the color of Jaouen’s eyes is a startling blue shade, and what shade is brighter and more startling in post-Revolutionary France than indigo? The word to best describe Laura’s actions in this first chapter is none other than “ruse,” for she is both a governess honestly, and not a true governess at all. The Pink Carnation has chosen a good spy…I can’t wait to see how this all plays out!

  57. Meg on March 13, 2010 at 4:35 am

    The Discovery of the Veiled Myrtle

    To me, the Myrtle has always sounded a simple name, but its flowers are stunningly white, and beautiful in a clean cut, sensible way with no ostentation. From reading about Laura, this is what I felt suited her. And veiled, because it seems like she is hidden from most if not all of the world. 🙂

  58. anna on March 13, 2010 at 6:02 am

    The Greenhouse Gardener’s Handbook: The Jonquil

  59. Zoe J on March 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I’m getting ‘visions’ of White bluebells, Narcissus and Gypsophila, I have no idea why, haha! Perhaps it’s the fact the white on a cold day can look more grey/white?! I guess with spring about to come to us I’m thinking spring like delicate but hardy flowers.

    How about nurture? Along the lines of teaching and being taught? Would be very ‘flowery’ sounding, the nurturing of the Narcissus?! Educating Gypsophila (also known as baby’s breath, again along the lines of children/governess?!)

  60. Karen on March 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

    A few I came up with:

    The Cultivation of the ___ Coriander – I think there needs to be some adjective in there, but I’m not sure what, maybe Cryptic, Curious, Clever? Coriander is often thought to symbolize “hidden worth” in the meanings of flowers/plants so that seemed quite appropriate.

    The Novitiate of the White Narcissus – playing on the white/gray/silver.

    I also liked The Novitiate of the Silver Nightshade, though at least Silver Nightshade in particular wouldn’t be native to the area.

  61. Sonia on March 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

    The Hypocrisy of the Daisy

    Laura Grey’s position as a governess is akin to being a teacher right now. As teachers, we are supposedly models of truth and good lessons. Because teachers are supposed to be good role models for students, they are often thought of as “innocent” or having “innocent thoughts” or something along that line. According to various reference books, daisies during the Regency period meant “innocence”. Laura by no means appears to be merely innocent, but her position of governess–a teacher of “innocent” children–implies it. I believe that women were also supposed to be perceived as “innocent” during this period of time as well, and pretty much taught other women to be the same.

    Hypocrisy because it is pretty hypocritical for a governess to be teaching lessons, good manners,and supposedly be a good role model for children (especially the girls) when she herself is spying for an enemy country? I think that most people (Laura Grey herself included) would consider snooping/spying to be in poor taste.

  62. Sheila on March 13, 2010 at 8:55 am

    The Blossoming of the Silver Magnolia

    wikipedia has laurels in the magnolia family…It looks like Laura is really going to bloom in this story.

  63. AngelB on March 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Renaissance of a Shaded Camellia
    Awakening of a Solitary Tulip
    Treacherous Education of a Wallflower
    Budding of a Savvy Orchid

  64. Devan on March 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

    The Heist of the Hydrangea

    The Valiance of the Violet Verbena

  65. Hollidae on March 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    The Enchantment of the Moonlit Iris

    enchantment because of the references to fairy tales in the first chapter

    iris just seems right since this one is taking place in France

  66. Ivy on March 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    The Education of the Lucid Lavender Lavenders have silvery foliage and there are both French and English varietals. Not to mention that they are often given prim (governess like) associations.

  67. Lauren Smith on March 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    The Redemption of the Laurel Crown
    The Drowning of the Water Lily
    The Passion of the Periwinkle
    The Fall of the Foxglove

  68. Katelin on March 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Th Report from the Orderly Lotus.

    I like the idea of the lotus because it grows in mud.

  69. Devan on March 13, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    The Labyrinth of the Lavender Lilac

    *I really like the word labyrinth.

    The Lust of the Lavish Lotus

  70. Amanda B. on March 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    The transformation of the repressed ranunculus.

  71. Ambriel on March 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I loooooveeee this first chapter. I’m especially enjoying how exciting and fun it feels that Laura is embedded with the enemy! To that end, I suggest:

    The Deceit of the Dark Dahlia

    The Concealment of the Fatal Nightshade

    The Façade of the Alabaster Lotus

    The Guise of the Ebony Iris

  72. Kimmie on March 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    The Dilemma of the Dog Rose

    The Escape of the English Rose

    The Ordeal of the Wild Orchid

    The Conspiracy of the Cowslip

  73. Carole on March 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Let’s see…..
    The Perseverance of the White Iris


    The Perseverance of the Lavandin

  74. Carole on March 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Or! Sorry, to add another post, I just thought of it when I clicked ‘submit’

    The Diligence of the Dogwood


    The Perseverance of the Camellia or the Diligence of the Camellia.

  75. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on March 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Hiding Heliotrope.

  76. Katelin on March 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The Revolution of the Lotus.

  77. Stephanie on March 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I also like the silver thing. and Orchid works well but how about

    The Illusion of the Silver Lilac

    The Repose of the Blushing lilac

    The Concealment of the Silver Iris

    the Mist of the Hidden Gardenia

    The Ruse of the Ghost Orchid

    The masquerade Silver Gardenia

    The Enchantment of the Silver Thorn

    or any such combo of theses 🙂

    good luck Lauren i love that you ask us for help. really does make it fun to be involved.

  78. Elizabeth P. on March 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    the Premier of the Primrose

  79. sarah on March 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Just to be nitpicky:
    would a girl who has lived in England for this long a time really call them ‘sidewalks’?
    Surely she would say pavement or the equivalent terminology of the time, unless this is more for the benefit of American readers?

  80. Tracy Grant on March 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    *Love* the excerpt! I’ve been so excite to read this book ever since you first told me about it!

    Lots of great title possibilities already.

    Because Laura’s a governess, I’d be inclined to go with a fairly common, innocuous flower, like daisy, lilac, lavender, violet, rose.

    The Intrigue of the White Violet

    The Intrigue of the White Iris

    The Masquerade of the Moss Rose

    The Return of the Red Geranium

    The Lies of the [Wayside/Silver/Spring] Lavender

    The Web of the Sweet Woodbine

    The Escape of the [Yellow/Golden] Eglantine

  81. Tracy Grant on March 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    A couple more (this is so much more fun than trying to plot my new book!):

    The Web of the Winter Rose
    The Duplicity of the Dog Rose

  82. Liza Lester on March 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    The Gambit of the Moon Thistle

  83. Stephanie on March 13, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    the guise of the morning glory

    the intrigue of the blossoming violet

    the pretense of the veiled bluebell

  84. Cassie on March 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    The Fruition of the Apple Blossom

    The Transformation of the Wild Violet

    The Resilience of the Scarlet Dahlia

    The Fabrication of the Belladonna

    🙂 🙂

  85. Rebecca W. on March 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Here are my suggestions:

    The Bloom of the Indigo Iris


    The Bloom of the Golden Daffodil

    Obviously, I have this thing for “bloom.” It suggests a renewal, a rebirth, which is just what Laura is seeking (at least, that’s what I could tell from this chapter!). Here’s what I read about Irises:

    “As a springtime flower, the gorgeous iris has come to represent the eternal promise of renewal, rebirth, and the transformation of monotony into delight.”

    That screams Laura to me! 😀

  86. Linda D on March 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Guile of the Forget-Me-Not
    (Laura has taken this mission because she is afraid that she has almost forgotten who she really is)

    Quest of the English Primrose

    The Thorn and the Thistle
    Thorn (French spies are a thorn in the side of the English) and the Thistle referring to the prettier part of the plant. Also thistles are a symbol of nobility in character.

  87. Anne Burner on March 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    The Role (with the little pyramid-like symbol over the o…I can never remember what its called) of the English Rose


    The Concealment of the Clinging Ivy

  88. WendyW on March 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    The Secret of the Blazing Star
    The Fortune of the Foxglove
    The Fortitude of the Shrinking Violet
    The Guile of the Purple Aster

  89. anna on March 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I like the prison/cage aspect, but I think the word ‘imprisonment’ would be considered too long by marketers. (To whom I would like to say, “Big words are good things, really!) I’m thinking at some point Laura/Laure would get caught and need to escape and/or have to leave…and for some reason I’m partial to the idea of a jonquil.
    so, following the pattern,

    The Escape of the Jonquil or
    The Flight of the Jonquil

  90. Devan on March 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    The Captivity of the Cunning Clover

    In honor of St. Patty’s day coming soon. 🙂

  91. Anna on March 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    The Infallible Heather.

    I like Heather because of its meaning: Heather’s scientific name, “Calluna vulgaris,” comes from the Greek “Kallune,” meaning “to clean or brush,” and the Latin “vulgaris,” meaning “common,” Heather is believed to have protective powers.

  92. Kate W on March 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    The Puzzle of the Silver Snap-dragon.

  93. Michelle on March 13, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    “The Entrapment of the Burgeoning Bluebell”

  94. Michelle on March 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    One more: “The Clandestine Courage of the Tea Rose”

  95. Michelle on March 14, 2010 at 12:13 am

    “The Cultivation of the Foxglove”
    “The Extortion of the Honeysuckle”
    “The Trailing of the Dahlia”
    “The Beguilement of the Buttercup”

  96. Veronica on March 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

    To me, Laura’s character does not equate with bright vibrant colors such as green, blue, or red. Because of her position as governess and down-to-earth personality, Laura seems more like an unassuming flower gilded in silver (that hint of mystery which shrouds her).

    The Silhouette (or Shadow) of the Silver Lily

    The Guise of the Fleur de Lis

    (it seems that the fleur de lis would be appropriate for its literal translation of “flower of the lily” [perfect!], the fact that the setting is in France, and because of Laura’s childhood which is rooted in Paris.)

    The Illusion of the Audacious Ivy

    (Although it is not a flower, ivy seems to possess mysterious and beautiful yet unassuming qualities—the makings of a great spy)

  97. Kristy on March 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

    “The Illusion of a Shrinking Violet”
    “The Unwavering Strength of the Passion Flower”
    “Mirage of the Sapphire Hyacinth”
    “Mirage of the Azure Canterbury Bells”
    “Mirage of the Azure Hyacinth”

  98. Tizzie Barron on March 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

    “The Resignation of the Hybrid Hollyhock”

  99. Tizzie Barron on March 14, 2010 at 3:36 am

    “The Acquiescence of the Sterling Rose”

  100. Castille on March 14, 2010 at 3:10 am

    The Corruption of the Last Peony

    Corruption because it suggests misuse and would belie Laura’s fear of losing herself. Peony because it’s actually a rather common flower, so the Last Peony would be something of a paradox, but it could suggest that she is one among many, yet different in her own right. Just a thought. 🙂

    Perhaps another consideration, although it’s far less pretty, is Anconitum (Monkshood, African Boxwood, Myrsine, Wolfsbane), because the flower means “Chivalry, beware, a deadly foe is near.”

  101. Aleksandra on March 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

    The Enigma of the Midnight Hyacinth
    The Mischief of the Purple Hyacinth
    The Mischief of the Midnight Orchid

  102. Linda D on March 14, 2010 at 7:23 am

    How about a generic name?

    The Ruse of the Belle Fleur

  103. Devan on March 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

    The Pursuit of the Poisonous Poppy.

  104. Cho on March 14, 2010 at 10:10 am

    The Illumination of the Garden Ivy
    The Intrigue of the Creeping Jenny
    The Silence of the Laurel Tree
    The Cipher of the Lesser Celandine
    The Artifice of the Dog Rose
    The Enigma of the Reticent Jonquil
    The Guise of the Delicate Primrose
    The Concealment of the Common Daisy

  105. Carrie on March 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

    The Hidden Depths of the Lavender Flower.

    Lavender is commonly associated with English culture and France (Provence) and it’s a rather humble looking little plant but the true strength comes from it’s smell which is better when crushed.

  106. Cyd on March 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

    There are great names for many stories in the future.

    The Promise of the Peony

  107. Gina on March 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    The Shadow of the Smoky Heather?

  108. Gina on March 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    (Thanks to Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza of comment #26 for that inspiration…I just rearranged it a bit. Hope thats ok!)

  109. Chris B. on March 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Turns out that carnations are part of the English family of “gillyflowers”, so I thought that might work for a protege of Amy and Co. They’re also referred to by Chaucer, Spenser and Shakespeare. So, my suggestions are:
    “The Enlightenment of the Silver Gillyflower”
    “The Renaissance of the Silver Gillyflower” or
    “The Blossoming of the Silver Gillyflower”

  110. Megan Hirst on March 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    The Rise of the Indistinct Daisy.

    I, like a lot of posters, agree that she seems like a common flower, better to blend in with.


    The Beguiling of the Baby’s Breath

    With her being a governess the reference to ‘baby’ could be interesting, and also baby’s breath is generally a filler, which Laura thinks that she is…

  111. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on March 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Yes Gina, that does work better. I had shadow down as one of me “key words” and I think smoky heather really works well for Laura… emboding both grey aspects.

  112. Ashleigh on March 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    “The Duplicity of the Scarlet Dogwood”

    “The Intrigue of the English Ivy”

  113. Sarah Preston on March 14, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    The Deception of the Thorn-Apple
    The Disguise of the Red Daisy
    The Defiance of the Nasturtium
    The Silence of the Morning glory

    Red Daisy:Beauty unknown to possessor
    Morning glory:Love In Vain

    I looked at an article on the meaning oof flowers.

  114. Magdalena on March 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    The Pursuit of the Peony

  115. Lisa on March 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    French Lavender came to mind.
    The Intrigue of the French Lavender
    Revealing Lavender’s Passion
    The Discovery of Lavender’s Passion

  116. Heather on March 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    the desire of the scarlet dahlia

  117. Dayana on March 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    The Facade of the White Ginger


    The Guise of the Grey Gypsophila

  118. Chartreuse on March 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Chapter One is so gray, and gray flowers are so rare, that I suspect that the winner will be among the silver, violet, and heather entries. But I have it on good authority that there are some gray roses, so how about “The Peril of the Pearl Gray Rose”?

  119. Sara Lindsey on March 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    This is way too much fun…

    The Folly of the Spotted Foxglove
    The Subterfuge the Spring Snowdrop
    The Passion of the Wild Primrose
    (or English Primrose)
    The Revenge of the Ruby Azalea
    The Surprising Adventures of the Scarlet Aster
    The Beguilement of the Red Begonia
    The Perseverance of the Persimmon Poppy
    The Predicament of the Violet Pansy
    The Disguise of the Yellow Dahlia
    The Compromise of the Silver Crocus
    The Longing of the French Lilac
    The Victory of the White Violet
    The Promise of the Forbidden Peony
    The Possession of the Periwinkle Petunia
    The Ensnaring of the English Daisy

  120. Claudine on March 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    How about “The Transformation of the Grey Dove”. It’s a play on Laura’s former last name and represents her transformation into a new woman. She has to find her wings and take flight under a new identity and soar to new heights as a spy for the Pink Carnation. Doves are peaceful and romantic. And this novel could have a title other than a flower, like the Deception of The Emerald Ring.

  121. Bonny on March 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    The Daring Adventures of the Blue Iris

    The Clandestine Affairs of the Lavender Lilac

    The Secret Affairs of the Lavender Larkspur

    The Misadventures of the Artful Violet

  122. Susan on March 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    The Triumph of the English Ivy

    Maybe that one was here already. I’ll admit I read them rather quickly.

  123. Susan on March 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    The Ruse of the Grey Iris

    Using a bit of Laura’s name. I keep going back to the Iris, as it means ‘message’, since it appears she’ll be sending messages to the Pink Carnation

  124. Kiley on March 14, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Deception of the Mayflower

    Trouble in the Rhododendron

    Beginning Adventures of a Wildflower

  125. Katelin on March 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The Tale of the Forget-me-not

  126. Susan on March 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    The Threat of the Golden Laurel

  127. Christina T on March 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    What about the Amethyst Adversary?

    Or perhaps the Ruse of the Amethyst Adversary?

    I like the Amethyst because its meaning is admirable. The flowers are a pretty purple color.

  128. Stephanie on March 15, 2010 at 1:26 am

    The Shadow of the Fleur de lis

    or the temperance of the fleur de lis

  129. Shannon M on March 15, 2010 at 1:26 am

    The Devotion of the Violet Nightshade

    The Grace of the Silver Nightshade

    Nightshade seems to fit because it can symbolize truth and also because it sounds slightly dangerous (but still appealing).

    What about thistle flower? Prickly but still beautiful.

  130. Jen on March 15, 2010 at 1:50 am

    “The Intrigue of the White Heather”

    I like the white heather, since it is common (in the chapter she talks about how she was chosen because she can easily blend in) and it means protection or wishes may come true. She wants to help protect the English agents from the French and may find that on the way her wishes do come true.

  131. am7 on March 15, 2010 at 3:04 am

    okay I am slow. Will Sleep, but it just occured to me who Miss Grey is!! I checked the more recent books for mention. Forgot to check older ones.
    Finally remembered Miss Grey was a student in the spy school in Black Tulip. I am going to search for ideas to tomorrow. Right now I need sleep.
    PS I partly blame Hen and Miles. Their wedding was too distracting.

  132. Kristen on March 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I just don’t see Laura as a flower heorine. Like Letty, I think she needs something more solid for her title.

    And I really don’t mean to be rude, but the average person isn’t going to understand the meaning of some of these flowers and how they relate.

    I am sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, but I just felt that this second iteam needed to be said.

  133. Liz on March 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I didnt realize how many people liked nightshade as the flower too lol. I was looking up flower meanings and nightshade means truth so my title is ..

    The Ordeal of the Clandestine Nightshade.

  134. Abigail on March 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Ummm…The Beguilement of the Evening Primrose?? Maybe?

    That’s the best I can do… 🙂

  135. Bridget on March 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I kind of agree with Kristen, Letty, and Claudine that Laura isn’t necessarily a flower heroine. I do, however, think that some flowers that have been mentioned do fit her well. I really like the idea of the dove, because birds have been used as messengers.

    How about…
    The Shadows of the Silver Dove
    The Flight of the Silver Dove

  136. Pam on March 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    How about The Education of the Elderflower or The Education of the Black Elder? (Or The Education of the White Elder, if Black sounds too sinister or makes you think of tulips.)

    (Black Elder is a subspecies of Elderflower and the one most commonly found in Europe. White Elders are found in Australia, oh well.)

    Elderflower is sweet and their berries are used often to make cordial or syrup. But the leaves, twigs, seeds, and roots contain cyanide which can poison you. So I thought the Elderflower might be a good metaphor for a spy, especially one masquerading as a meek and mild governess.

  137. Erin on March 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    The Conspiracy of the Blue Orchid…or something along those lines!

  138. Stephanie on March 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    note to above post, something other than a flower works well here, however Letty was never really trained or meant to be a spy. Miss Grey has been trying to do so. However i think something like my title

    the Enchantment of the Silver Thorn, or
    The Temperance of the Silver Thorn
    The Stealth of the Silver Thorn..

    not quite a flower, but still a thorn in the side of France. You forget its there and go to smell the flower (pink carnation and get pricked) i think its accurate and very perfect as she is a hidden threat and not quite the dashing spy that the flowery counterparts are.

    She is not flashy flower she is hidden and quiet. and a rare or unknown flower seems a bit to flashy for an undercover spy, I would say something flower like. If she is a flower maybe a daisy. shes quite and pretty but you forget about her. But that is the point.

    The Temperance of the Silent Daisy.

  139. Emily S on March 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    The Ingenuity of the English Ivy or something to that effect…

  140. Stephanie on March 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Also i agree with “debbie downer” A lot of these flowers are too obscure for the common reader. Angel’s tears is a pretty flower but someone would read that and thing actual angel and be like ugg lame. Lilly, heather, orchid, Camilla all good because people can recognize them as a flower. So i would stick with strait forward flowers.

    and note the ones picked already, jasmine, rose, tulip, carnation, Lilly. all well known and pretty. if your going along that line, orchid, daisy, Daffodil, most are i think a bit to flashy. so better go with something subtle and pretty like a daisy or lilac, heather, lavender.

    just my thoughts if you go with flower. But again i think she is something else. Cough.. silver thorn.. Cough

  141. Yvette on March 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    OK, I’ve read through everything (& that was fun!) & I’m pretty sure that no one else had these, but some came close…

    The Intrigue of the English Violet (as opposed to everyone’s favorite office plant, the african violet), because the English violet is actually very tough, and spreads by sending out trailers along & under the ground & coming up in unexpected places sometimes.

    The Cipher of the Silver Laurel (because of the similarity in names, & because I think it sounds cool).

    The Secret of the Sterling Rose (my mother had one – the flowers are a soft, lovely, greyish lavender)

  142. jamie on March 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    The Intrigue of the Breton Magnolia

    because wasn’t Brittany a hotspot of Catholic/Artistos revolt? I seem to vaguely recall that from my school day, but it’s not my field. 🙂 and the Magnolia is a tree, and there was a magnificant speciman of such in the public garden in Nantes. (ok, that came from wikipedia.)I think Andre has some surprises for us.

  143. J on March 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    The Intrigue of the Delphinium.

    Delphinium means boldness which seems to fit Laura. Can’t wait to read it!

  144. Katie on March 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I agree with Veronica and Stephanie, I think this one should have Fleur de Lis in the title.

  145. Leyla Kyria on March 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    “The Treacherous Journey of the Sweet Alyssums Keeper”
    Ok, I’ll probably come up with others but the feeling I got after reading your chapter (so excited to read more – by the way)made me feel that Laura’s choice to change her course by leaping into a potentially dangerous job was a serious jouney to take on. Then there’s the beautful sweet alyssum flowers that are found in France, and are simply precious, delicate flowers to care for and watch over just as her cover as governess is to do over the children. Like I said, I’ll probably come up with more but I couldn’t resist to jump in!!

  146. Leyla Kyria on March 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “The Precarious Journey of the Sweet Alyssums Keeper”

    Although “treacherous” is right in the sense of being “dishonest” as a new spy, the more I think about it, I would probably put “precarious” instead. Not knowing any more of her character then a pinch of circumstances, precarious seems to suit the Carnations theme so to speak.

  147. Leyla Kyria on March 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    ” The Precarious Journey of the Sweet Alyssums Keeper ”
    sorry…that last post looked funny!

  148. Karen on March 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    The Revival of the English Lavender.. because she’s supposed to find something worth for her to start living again, and talk about her life as something lively and exciting, not dull and sad.

  149. Elissa on March 16, 2010 at 12:57 am

    The Education of the Mountain Laurel
    The Education of the Silver Magnolia

  150. Erika Jones on March 16, 2010 at 2:06 am

    “The Cultivation or Enlightenment of the Aspiring Aster”

    Because she is learning and aspiring to be a spy to escape her normal life and the Aster flower is a late blooming fall flower like Laura.

  151. Nicola Wells on March 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    The Blossoming of the Silver Freesia

  152. Nicola Wells on March 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

    The Discovery of the Silver Iris

  153. Leyla Kyria on March 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

    “The Guise of the Sweet Alyssums Keeper”

    Oh I like this one better than my previous entry!

    Love love love your work – I listen to the collection almost every day at work on my ipod. I drown out everyone and just go along with my tasks for the day to Eloise,Richard, Amy, Henrietta, Miles – well, the entire lot of them! Your stories are my happy place! I hope you get Kate Reading to read the next captivating installment – awesome, awesome awesome work!!!

  154. Leyla Kyria on March 16, 2010 at 9:57 am

    “The Opalescent Guise of the Keeper”

    I read the excerpt again this morning and all of the new entries, and somthing crossed my mind…what if the Lauren is changing things up by having Andre Jaouen a key component – SO, my the “Opalecscent” being multifaceted or colorful could cover many things in the new story; and with my title having “Keeper”, this could be a twist and cover the “governess” character OR could cover the “protégé of Bonaparte’s Chief of Police”. Who knows to whom the title is for?…tricky tricky tricky – LOVE IT!

  155. Leyla Kyria on March 16, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I’m such a goof – I meant…”what if Lauren is changing things up” Lauren Willig, not in reference to her new character Laura.

  156. Alicia on March 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

    The Persuasion of the Silver Dahlia
    The (some great adj) of the Stargazer

    and Thorn-Apple means “disguise,” so maybe this can get into a title somehow?…

  157. Robyn on March 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    The ruse of the silver thistle

    The Ivy’s trickery

    These are the ones I thought of on the spot. Can’t wait for more!!!

  158. Ayesha on March 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I read so many new flowers. I’ll have to google them to learn more about them.
    This is fun and educational!

    The title I came up with…..

    “The Renascence of the White Lily”

    Renascence because Laura is shedding her old self
    Lily because of fleur-de-lis
    And white enables fresh beginnings.

  159. Amy on March 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I have two!

    The Duplicity of the Silver Whortleberry…mainly because whortleberry made me giggle and means treachery 🙂

    The Education of the Purple/Silver Iris..an Iris is meant to represent wisdom, valor, faith, and hope…so much for one little flower, but very Laura

  160. Alethea White-Previs on March 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm


    Pursuit for the inevitable chases sure to occur, and night-shade meaning truth, and what else are spies after but someone else’s?? 🙂

  161. Karen T R on March 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    “The Exploits of the English Laurel”

    “Quiet Whispers of the Dove Orchid”

    “Enlighten Journey of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid”

  162. Georgia on March 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Here are my two suggestions:

    The folly of the silver camellia

    The encore of the argentea iris

    I like folly because of the dual meaning (foolish undertaking and the architectural use – whimsical or extravagant structure). Encore sounds french and refers to her return. Camellias and Irises are very traditional French flowers. And the Silver/Argentea (cinereal?)in reference to her name.

  163. Robin on March 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I looked up the meaning of Laura for inspiration and got Laurel Crowned. I looked up Laurel and got Success and Renown. Although Laurel is good I’m thinking its too close to her actual name and after what happened to Richard (who chose the flower from his family crest) you’d think they Amy and Henrietta would teach people not to do things like that. I have used the meaning of the two for parts of the title though. My next thought was she’s not what she seems to be so I looked for Flowers that mean that and came up with Snapdragon. Thinking of how she seems to change and become something new but is still essentially her I looked up Daylily and its not the meaning that struck me its the fact that each Lily only lasts for one day but there are enough of them that there is at least one in bloom each day so they are the same but at the same time different. They could also fall under the deception the not what it seems idea because it looks like what you saw yesterday but its not. If the title needs to refer to Jaouen instead of Laura then either of these flowers could apply to him for the same reason, not what he seems. All that being said here are my title suggestions:

    The Crowning of The Snapdragon
    The Renown of The Daylily

    The words Crowning and Renown can be swapped. I also looked up Cactus which means Bravery and Endurance. We all know what a Cactus is like but some of them have really beautiful flowers so here’s one more title:

    The Budding of The Cactus
    The Blooming of The Cactus

    Not sure I like the action words with Cactus but I want to indicate the flower part without saying Cactus Flower

  164. Diya and Elisabeth on March 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Out of my suggestions my favorite’s are

    The Persuasion of the Magnolia Blossom
    or White Magnolia.
    and The Persuasion of the Moon Orchid

    Magnolias are quite simply structured flowers but are very beautiful and have a great scent.

    The persuasion of the blue aster
    or french lavender
    or blue iris
    are also great flowers. Asters are a very English flower but the french used to use them to place of french soldiers graves to commend their bravery. I agree with “debbie downer” thatmore common flowers should be used =)
    for the beginning part I like Persuasion best because it has a double meaning like a lot of Lauren’s titles. it can mean personal inclination or to be persuaded which i think fit really well. Other good beginnings are “the illusion of” “the temperence of” and “the intrigue of.” but intrigue might not work because Lauren has already used it in “Ivy and Intrigue: A Very Selwick Christmas”

  165. Leyla Kyria on March 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    How about
    “The Guise Beneath the Laurel Leaf Brooche”

    Leads one to enquire the mystery from the “Guise beneath” and the Laurel Leaf was a huge fashion inspiration at the time due to the gold leaf laurel crown worn by Napoleon during his coronation at Notre Dame on 2 December 1804; and, well with Laura being a bit older, a brooche seems to fit. Maybe it could be the one thing she holds onto from her past that she just couldn’t part with by putting into the box with the rest of her life when she decided to take this first spy job. Or, it could simply come about later in the story as a gift or tale-tell item from Napoleans riches, sothing to give away some important sign of deceit….hmmm
    “The Guise Beneath the Laurel Leaf Brooche”

  166. Leyla Kyria on March 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    “The Guise Beneath the Aquamarine Brooche”

    To switch things up go along with Jaouen’s eyes…should his part be a little trickier than at first glance.
    Or it could tie in another way down the road, only Lauren knows…. 🙂

  167. Diya and Elisabeth on March 16, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    whoops forgot a flower!

    how about Honeysuckle?
    or the liason of the white lilac?

  168. Lora on March 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    The Shadow of the Moonflower

  169. Helen on March 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Flowers that make tea- Chrysanthemum
    “Hot, amber liquid with curls of steam rising from the top”
    She hiding herself in the household

    The Concealment of the Amber Chrysanthemum

    In the Shroud of the Silver Lavender

    The Esoteric Order of Efflorescent Laurel

  170. Debra Callaway on March 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

    The Contract of the White Columbine
    The Contract of the White Hydrangea
    The Contract of the Discerning Daisy
    The Contract of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Contract of the Grey Dove

    The Enterprise of the White Columbine
    The Enterprise of the White Hydrangea
    The Enterprise of the Discerning Daisy
    The Enterprise of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Enterprise of the Grey Dove

    The Ruse of the White Columbine
    The Ruse of the White Hydrangea
    The Ruse of the Discerning Daisy
    The Ruse of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Ruse of the Grey Dove

    The Exertions of the White Columbine
    The Exertions of the White Hydrangea
    The Exertions of the Discerning Daisy
    The Exertions of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Exertions of the Grey Dove

    The Trials of the White Columbine
    The Trials of the White Hydrangea
    The Trials of the Discerning Daisy
    The Trials of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Trials of the Grey Dove

    The Investigation of the White Columbine
    The Investigation of the White Hydrangea
    The Investigation of the Discerning Daisy
    The Investigation of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Investigation of the Grey Dove

    The Enchantment of the White Columbine
    The Enchantment of the White Hydrangea
    The Enchantment of the Discerning Daisy
    The Enchantment of the Lavendar Lilac
    The Enchantment of the Grey Dove

    The Ruse of the Grey Pearl
    The Trials of the Grey Pearl
    The Enterprise ofthe Grey Pearl
    The Exertions of the Grey Pearl
    The Contract of the Grey Pearl
    The Investigation of the Grey Pearl
    The Enchantment of the Grey Pearl

    The Ruse of the Moonstone Earring
    The Trials of the Moonstone Earring
    The Enterprise of the Moonstone Earring
    The Exertions of the Moonstone Earring
    The Contract of the Moonstone Earring
    The Investigation of the Moonstone Earring
    The Enchantment of the Moonstone Earring

    The Ruse of the Ruby Necklace
    The Enchantment of the Ruby Necklace
    The Trial of the Ruby Necklace
    The Enterprise of the Ruby Necklace
    The Exertions of the Ruby Necklace
    The Contract of the Ruby Necklace
    The Investigation of the Ruby Necklace

    The Ruse of the French Lilac Sachet
    The Enchantment of the French Lilac Sachet
    The Trial of the French Lilac Sachet
    The Enterprise of the French Lilac Sachet
    The Exertions of the French Lilac Sachet
    The Contract of the French Lilac SachetThe Investigation of the French Lilac Sachet

    I guess that’s it for now, lol

  171. Debra Callaway on March 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Or maybe something, something, White Honeysuckle?

  172. Raela on March 17, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I have a couple…

    The Victory of the Silver Valerian

    And then I have all Dahlia suggestions, I just really like the idea of a Dahlia for this book. I looked up all the types of Dahlias for some good names…

    The Destiny of the Snow Queen Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Imperial Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Sunrise Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Rosebud Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Lavender Dahlia
    The Destiny of the White Swan Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Pompon Dahlia
    The Destiny of the Collarette Dahlia

  173. Alena on March 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I love the thought of using Lavender… someone earlier mentioned that it’s strongly associated w/ France, but my favorite thing about it is that it has gray-silver leaves (appropriate since Laura’s last name is Gray, and she seems very gray right now) but beautiful, fragrant purple flowers.

    The Blossoming of the Lovely Lavender?

  174. Rebecca on March 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    The Evolution of the Iron Orchid
    The Revival of the Iron Orchid
    The Rediscovery of the Wayward Wildflower
    (Or Redemption)

  175. jeanine on March 17, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    the vexation of the winter wisteria

  176. RandHrShipper1 on March 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    The Education of the Marble Violet.

    The meaning of the violet, the stone imagery, the governess aspect, and the consideration of your other titles all led me to the above! I can’t wait to read this when it’s published!

  177. Christine on March 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    The Intrigues of the Iridescent Ivy

    Because Laura changes her colors/roles?

  178. Jennifer on March 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    There are so many great ideas, but I cannot help adding my own to the mix. Though it has almost been touched upon no one has said anything about gilded lilies. To gild a lily is to over embellish something or make it unnecessarily ornamental.

    My thesis is on governesses and their place in Victorian England. It is a bit after Jane and company are adventuring, but the gilded lily is a modern way of describing genteel women of this time period. They are forced to be ridiculously accomplished and have ornamental educations. Governesses were, for one reason or the other, forced to lower themselves socially and pass on this education.

    My title idea is The Flaking/Peeling/Tarnishing/Wilting/Some Other Form of Destruction of the Gilded Lily.

    I hope my explanation makes sense. A painted lily would also work seeing as that is the original form of the saying.

  179. Meredith on March 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    First off, I can’t wait to read the rest of this! It will be interesting to get a non-aristocratic heroine.

    The Education of the Thorny Thistle – I couldn’t shake an image of Laura teaching botany and tramping around outdoors, hitting the children with a thistle (and I love alliteration).

    The Blush of the Yellow Primrose – I like having a coloured flower, because it links her to the spy names used throughout the book. And a primrose is just as English as Laura.

    The Ascent of the Evergreen Ivy – Laura seeks to rise above her situation, just like ivy crawls up English houses. I like ivy for her because it’s not thought of as a ‘pretty’ plant; yet it can be a gorgeous home adornment.

  180. Stephanie on March 17, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Just a thought. there are so many lily names. but honestly Lauren used lily for her last book i highly doubt she will use it again. I am guessing also rose, carnation or jasmine, tulip are also on the not to be chosen list.

  181. Erin C on March 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    The Duplicity of the _____ Viola.

  182. Kiley on March 17, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Transformation of the Shy Violet (i feel like this one might have been used already if so woops)

  183. Rachel on March 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Okay, I give up for now – if my last 3 posts happen to appear at some point, I apologize sincerely for the triple posting 🙂

  184. Rachel on March 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    7th try!… keeping it short 🙂
    The Pursuit of the Burgundy Orchid- here’s the explanation: the Burgundy Orchid is the french spy for whom laura has come to France. Burgundy is for the red of the French revolution and the region in France. Red orchids because they can be pretty poisonous looking and pursuit… there’s got to be a pursuit, right? 🙂

  185. Diya on March 18, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I agree with Stephanie som flowers just cant be chosen because they have already been used. Calla lily, Marigold, Daisy, and Moonflower have already been used.

  186. Diya on March 18, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I agree with Stephanie some flowers just cant be chosen because they have already been used. Calla lily, Marigold, Daisy, and Moonflower have already been used.

  187. Perla on March 18, 2010 at 1:25 am

    The Adventure of the Blossoming Peony

  188. Bess on March 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I like the iris for this. I have always thought of it as a french flower for some reason. “The Instruction of the Purple Iris” would also refer to our heroine being undercover, as it were, as a governess

  189. Jessica S. on March 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I’m revising my second one:

    The Transformation of the Silver Lime (or Linden, but since Laura, et al, are British, they would say lime tree).

  190. Amy on March 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    The Gilding of the Lavender Lilac

    The Initiation of the Silver Iris

    The Trial of the Wilting Iris

  191. Diya on March 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    To supplement my suggestion of magnolias i looked up a few kinds. Magnolias symbolize nobility perseverence sweetness of nature and of course tenacity! What qualitys for a governess, also it has medicinal value (much like a spoon full of sugar)And magnolias are named after a frenchman! the ones i like are
    Blue Magnolia
    Pale Magnolia Shining Magnolia
    Laurel Magnolia (yes there actually is one!)
    Star Magnolia
    Butterfly Magnolia

  192. Kallen on March 19, 2010 at 1:56 am

    I guess I would have to go with “The Education of the White Lilac”

  193. Elizabeth on March 19, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Since Laura is a governess, but also learning to spy, I like titles to the effect of “The Education of the…” However, there is a book called “The Education of Little Tree” that is very different than this one. So I’m trying to avoid an “Education + [botanical reference]” title exactly.

    Quiet flowers come to mind for Laura, for me. Beautiful, but not showy things that go in Valentine’s Day bouquets.

    The Tutelage of the True Lavender

    True lavender is the same as common or English lavender. It is not, however, native to England (though it is to the Pyrenées). Lavender is a very useful, sensible plant. It can be cooked in foods or used to keep clothes fresh and free of moths. The color lavender is decorous, suitable for a woman in half-mourning. But lavender is also lovely and smells divine. In the language of flowers, lavender means both devotion and distrust.

    The word “true” can also have several meanings– “loyal” (as Laura is to the Pink Carnation) or “honest” (as a spy is not). And it can mean “fully realized”, which Laura certainly has not been as a governess.

    The Edification of the Daring Chamomile

    Chamomile is another common, useful plant. It makes a soothing tea. The flowers are small, daisy-like, and white– pretty but unobtrusive. The meaning of the flower, however, is energy in adversity.

    (I know that most readers won’t realize the hidden meanings of flowers, but it’s a fun bonus.)

  194. Elizabeth on March 19, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Ahem. My accent mark appears to no longer be feeling quite itself. That’s the Pyrenees in my comment above.

  195. Marian on March 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    The Concealment of the Blue Star Dahlia

  196. D. J. La Haie on March 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    The Enticement of the White Violet

  197. Shannon M on March 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    How about:

    The Lost Dossier of the Shadow Orchid
    The Lost Dossier of the Shadow Aster

    The Hidden Dossier of the Shadow Orchid/Aster

    I wanted to pair the word shadow with a flower that needs sun to thrive, kind of playing with the idea that Laura is living a life where she can’t thrive and be herself.

  198. Chelsey on March 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    The Emergence of the Monkshood.

  199. Hannah T on March 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    The Ensnarement of the Water Lily

  200. Hannah T on March 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Or how about The Tangled Web of a Frost Flower

  201. Francie on March 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Somehow, I find that flowers don’t seem to fit Laura. And there is a hint that the man she’s set to spy upon has characteristics that make him more than a mere employer. Otherwise, why describe him so well? I notice that Laura retreats to the shadows, and is relying upon her nondescript appearance as disguise. But she has spirit…and she has that “still waters run deep” element to her.

    I say skip the flowery sobriquets altogether. I think Laura is different, and, like Letty, needs something different. You want something that will intrigue without giving too much away…all your other titles are like that.

    After reading (or skimming) most of this thread, I do like some of the ideas people are coming up with, like the gray/silver color, and ones that infer disguise/mystery. I liked “Trials of the Silver Laurel”, “Guise of the Silver Lily”, “Education of the Silver Iris”, and “Cipher of the Silver Laurel.”

    With the exception of Pink I and II, your titles have involved infinitive verbs. And as Laura is a teacher, Education works for her. But I’m not sure if an education is the direction her story will go. I think she may be more complex than the other ladies, too, being older and having had more life experience.

    My offering is

    The Shadow of the Silver Moonstone

    Moonstones are mysterious and have interesting shadows, subtle depths. It is often called “poor man’s pearl”, and is a secondary birthstone for June (which is usually Pearl); since Laura is bereft of worldly goods, a semi-precious stone has an appropriately unprepossessing quality. But beautiful in its own way. And because Laura is shifting around the edges of light, the shadow element works nicely, especially as a spy.

    I was inspired by others’ ideas, so I feel like mine is a collaborative submission!! 🙂

  202. Diya on March 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    more flowers yay!
    Bell orchid
    Coral orchid
    Dagger orchid
    Dove orchid
    Fire orchid
    Ghost orchid
    Golden orchid
    Jewel orchid
    Leopard orchid
    Mirror orchid
    Musk orchid
    Phantom orchid
    Snake orchid
    Snow orchid
    Sun orchid
    Swan orchid
    Tiger orchid

    And just for fun!
    Coconut pie orchid

  203. Stephanie on March 19, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    The Disguise of the English Ivy

    (because she is literally pretending not to be English)

  204. Michelle C on March 20, 2010 at 12:54 am

    The key to the dusk violet

  205. Jackie Varner on March 20, 2010 at 3:53 am

    A taste of the white Anemone

    Evidently the anemone was used to relieve headaches and had a terrible bitterness when chewed. European peasants avoided it and in Egypt they were a symbol of sickness.Her previous life left that “bad taste” and who knows what this adventure may bring.

    The Daring Dance of the Ladyslipper

    No particular meaning other than I like the romance of the dance between the two that is bound to arise.

  206. Tracy Dooley on March 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    The Blooming of Jasmine Tea.

    The Beauty of the Double Freesia.

    The Ecplise of the Dahlia.

  207. Leylakyrie on March 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I have to say that I love, love, love doing research, and doing so on this subject was SO much fun! I wanted it to be true as possible to your historical fiction so here goes, my first thought was of the fact that the Pink installment VII has lead us back to France, I wanted to focus on Napolean and his wife Josephine, that of which was obviously an important backdrop since Laura is to spy on a man, to whom is employed by Napoleans main security De La Rouche. So, pulling from this I have found that at that time Napolean gave his wife Josephine some land to have a beautiful garden(Malmaison); a garden (not specifically Malmaison), that of which is mentioned in the first installment of The Pink Carnation by finding out how Amy’s mother helped to get the beautiful roses started I of course didn’t want to suggest any of Laurens previous botanical titles so I thought, what was another predominant flower in her garden and a true representation of France? This would be the Lily, with staying true in mind, I found that the voilet was a important flower and color to Naploean & Josephine. With this, one of my suggestions will be

    “The Facade of the Violet Lily” or

    “The Labyrinth of the Violet Garden (with labyrinth meaning a maza or complicated arrangment and the garden being a perfect place for many under-handed things to happen – not to mention our new spy could observe this while tutoring her children one afternoon in the garden)just a thought*

    “The Guise of the Violet Lily” or

    Leaning out of the botanical field, ha ha no pun, and following suite to Letty’s Jewel, I thought of:

    “The Reverie of the Cendree Pearl”

    “Reverie” being more in mind of a fool’s paradise for Laura thinking “what has she gotten herself into” and the fact that Cendree derives from the French meaning “ash coloured”

    Now really stepping out of the box, that of which I do a lot, I was intrigued by

    “The Avant-Garde of the Violet Garden”

    For all we know Laura could be one of the best, if not the best, spies for the Pink Carnation – the avant-garde.

    In my breif research, that of which I will do more later, I found some mention animals of Josephines garden and on Napoleans grounds. In particular their gardens having black swans. With Pink V having unicorns apart of Charlotte’s story, tigers within the story line of Penelope’s adventures in Pink VI, and of course not wanting to duplicate the “black” from Henrietta’s title of Pink II, I thought of something could represent a little mischievous behavior, having a title like:
    “The Masquerade of the Sable Swans” or
    “The Misgivings of the Sable Swans”

    Although I consentrated on Napolean and Josephine mostly for these ideas, it was strictly to be used more for triggering the mysterious sense or feel that this first chapter has invoked. I am sure some maladroit calamity will ensue for our pleasure, and I can not wait!

    Sorry I had so much to say, and I could go on, but I will spare you any more of my rambling 🙂 Good luck with find one that fits Lauren & Publisher!!

  208. Karlene Barger on March 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    The Deception of the Lemon Geranium

  209. Karlene Barger on March 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    The Rebellion of the Rose Honeysuckle

  210. Leylakyrie on March 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Sorry – I just read what I put in and saw a huge error that I wanted to clear up – I didn’t mean to put that Laura was to spy on someone working for De La Rouche…it was supposed to be “protégé of Fouche.” I was listening to Pink I and Richard said De La Rouche and well my wires crossed with what I was typing…oops! Well since I’m here tee hee “The Deceit within the Blackberry Tea”. Just for something different.:)

  211. Elissa on March 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    The Education of the Silverbell
    The Scholarship of the Morning Glory
    The Cultivation of Silver Nightshade
    The Schooling of the Snapdragon
    The Guidance of the White Oleander
    The Tutelage of the Silver Peony

    I must admit i prefer the title Snapdragon for Miss Gwen. Richard describes her as a dragon in Carnation.

  212. Lauren Willig - News on March 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    […] Hi, all! Just a reminder that today is the last day to submit a potential flower/title for Pink VII, currently known as The Something of the Something Something. You can find the first chapter of Pink VII– and all the current submissions– here. […]

  213. Kayla S. on March 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    The Blossoming of the Purple Iris

    As other women have mentioned, the Iris represents not only a messenger (which is appropriate because of the mission) but faith, wisdom, and valor. The iris is also the inspiration for the Fleur-de-lis, which is appropriate given the setting of this book — French, but not too French.

    I chose the word Blossoming because I feel that Laura is going to come into her own during this book. She felt like she wass constantly overlooked and treated poorly as a governess. She accepted this mission because she wants to prove something to herself. She’s growing into the passionate, strong, beautiful lady that characterizes all the heroines of this series.

    I chose Purple because it represents wisdom, dignity, independence and mystery, which are all qualities Laura has. It is also an equal mix of a warm (red) and cool (blue) color, which shows how her passion and level-headedness will come together.

  214. Angie M. on March 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I too think a jewel would be more suiting for Laura than a flower name. I was thinking a ordinary yet beautiful one…

    The Scheming of the Silver Pearl
    The Initiation of the Silver Pearl
    The Shadow of the Silver Pearl
    The Shadow of the Silver Opal
    The Emancipation of the Silver Pearl/Opal

    or maybe
    The Ruse of the Scarlet Ruby

  215. Rosie O on March 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    The Surrender of the Sweet Pea.
    The Struggle of the Sweet Pea.
    The Strife of the Sweet Pea.
    The Stipulation of the Sweet Pea.

    A possible flower could be Sweet William Old world Pink, white, deep red, or purple flowers.

  216. Stephanie W on March 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I’m not very good with titles but these are some wild flowers I’ve come across.

    Yellow Corydalis (I like this one best)
    Great Yellowcress
    Sun Spurge

  217. Erin on March 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    The hope of Grey lavender
    The ambition of Grey Lilac
    The devotion of baby’s breath

  218. Suzanne on March 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    The Illusion of the Ivory Iris

  219. Ann F on March 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    The Shadow of the Silver Snapdragon

    Shadow standing for concealment, silver is a play on gray, and snapdragon standing for strength and graciousness.

  220. Erin L on March 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    The Dream of the White Alyssum
    The Treasure of the Blue Viola
    The Return of the White Iris
    all interchangeable

  221. Diya on March 22, 2010 at 12:18 am

    last minute suggestions yay!

    a few more flowers: Blue Iris, Yellow Iris, Water Iris, and Mourning Iris.

    The Entrapment
    The Enticement
    The Duplicity
    The Ambition
    The Treachery

  222. Erin c on March 22, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I would like to edit mine to The Duplicity of the Viola in Bloom

  223. Tracy Grant on March 22, 2010 at 1:59 am

    A couple of more –

    The Lies of the French Lilac
    The Secrets of the French Lilac
    The Secrets of the Hidden Violet

  224. am7 on March 22, 2010 at 3:08 am

    The Photosynthesis of
    Silver Daisy
    The Photosynthesis of th Silver Laurel
    The Education of Silver Laurel
    The Synthesis of Silver Laurel
    The Synthesis of Silver Daisy
    The Photosynthesis of Platinum Laurel
    The Cultivation of the French Rose

    The arrival of the Silver climbing Rose

    The formation of the silver daisies
    the Developing of Silver Hydrangea
    The Latice of Silver Laurel
    The Transplanting of the Silver Laurels

    The Nestling of Silver Laurel

    The Family of Silver Laurel

    The Estate of the French Dahlia

    The France of the pink Carnation
    The orders of the pink carnation
    The Arbor of the Pink Carnation

  225. Lauren Willig - News on March 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

    […] the second round of “Title that Book!” With so many great ideas (you can find them all here), I could use all the assistance I can get in weeding them down to a few front-runners. Between now […]

  226. Robin on March 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    #19 The Treachery of the Innocent Iris

  227. Francie on March 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    My three:

    1. The Initiation of the Silver Iris
    2. The Lost/Hidden Dossier of the Shadow Orchid (I like the idea of Laura’s experiences being a challenge for Eloise to find…like a hard-won treasure)
    3. The Shadow of the Silver Moonstone (yes, it’s not a flower, but I still like it!)

  228. Tiffany on March 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    The Liberation of the Dusky Heather

  229. Bridget on March 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    How about the Guise of the Gilded Magnolia.

  230. maggie Kearney on March 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    My three votes in order of preference:

    The Rebirth of the Enchanter’s Nightshade.
    The Secrets of the Hidden Violet
    The Secret of the Sterling Rose

  231. Camellia on March 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Please let it be the Camellia.

    Thats my name and I’ve been dreaming ever since i read the first book to have my name in the title.

  232. Jenna on March 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I like the Dahlia theme

    The illusion of the silver Dahlia


    The illusion of the gray daisy

    Daisyies are on one hand sturdy no nonsense flowers but on the other very whimsicle. But the flower can be substituted for just about anything and now that I thnk abaout it petunias are good too, you can’t kill em!

  233. Francie on March 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I am a teacher, and in class this week, I gave a powerpoint lecture on symbolism. At one point, we talked about plant, tree, and flower symbolism, and I tried to explain to them about the Victorian Language of Flowers. Since there are a lot of you on here who enjoyed doing research, you might find this website fun to explore: http://www.languageofflowers.com/flowermeaning.htm#anchord All kinds of flowers and their meanings! 🙂

    Just a little fun to share.

  234. Mary on April 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    The Spirit of the Scarlet Amaryllis!

  235. Lauren Willig - News on May 26, 2010 at 10:07 am

    […] For those who missed it the first time around, you can find the first chapter of The Orchid Affair here. […]

  236. Lauren Willig - News on June 26, 2010 at 1:31 am

    […] You can find the first chapter of The Orchid Affair here…. […]

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