Pink Carnation Recap: CRIMSON ROSE

We’re up to Pink IV, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose!

Who: Mary Alsworthy and Lord Vaughn
Where: England
When: Autumn, 1803
What: Lord Vaughn recruits socialite Mary Alsworthy for an unlikely task: infiltrating the League of the Black Tulip.
Historical Cameos: None. Lord Vaughn isn’t letting anyone steal his thunder.

Fun facts about Crimson Rose:

— This is the book that wasn’t supposed to be. Originally, Pink IV was meant to be about Charlotte Lansdowne. I was about three-quarters of the way through writing The Deception of the Emerald Ring and had already begun researching Charlotte’s book when Mary Alsworthy began clamoring for a book of her own. That seemed like a terrible idea, so I tried to ignore her. But Mary Alsworthy is not to be ignored… so I called up my editor and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but what do you think about this for the next book?”

— I hadn’t intended Lord Vaughn for Mary Alsworthy. I’d played around with– and discarded– the idea of Lord Vaughn and Charlotte (he’d eat her alive), Lord Vaughn and Penelope (she’d bore him), and even Lord Vaughn and Jane (complete mutual incomprehension) before the light bulb clicked on about Mary and Vaughn.

Crimson Rose was written while I was working full time as a litigator at a large New York law firm. I was a little low on sleep that year– but the crankiness seemed to work for Vaughn and Mary.

My favorite scene? This one is hard for me. It’s a toss up between the scene where Vaughn first approaches Mary with his strange proposition (no, not THAT kind of proposition) and, much later, Mary’s internal monologue in Vaughn’s wife’s room.

What’s your favorite scene from The Seduction of the Crimson Rose?


  1. Sue G on July 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I enjoyed the word play between Mary and Lord Vaughn. I found myself reading slowly and enjoying their conversations. I liked Mary, she’s not my favorite type, but I was able to gain insight to her as the book progressed. Vaughn is described as a rake but he is really a complex character with many layers, I was not thrilled with everything he said or did. I didn’t have a favorite scene or chapter — enjoyed each piece of the book.

  2. Meredith A on July 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    The thing I liked most about this novel was not a scene in particular, but how much I ended up LIKING both Vaughn and Mary. I didn’t expect to enjoy them, let alone for them to become one of my favorite couples of the entire series, but it happened! The best part of the novel for me was a complete alteration in my perception of “Hero” and “Heroine”; Mary is mean-spirited, but also has a heart (even though it is a bit withered and took the right person to find it), and Vaughn was not the sinister malefactor I thought he was, and turned out to be, in fact, someone I would enjoy meeting (gasp!). They went against everything I thought a good hero or heroine should be, and I loved them for it. To this day and many, many novels later, the Seduction of the Crimson Rose is still one of the best representations of anti-hero/heroines I have read, and the only one that has made me really, truly adore the characters.

  3. Jessica S. on July 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Hands down, the Chinese chamber scene. I hold my breath every time, waiting for him to kiss her.

  4. Chartreuse on July 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    “Crimson Rose” is my favorite of the series. I suppose that the “proposition scene” is my favorite, but part of me is yammering for the Vaughn’s Turnip-bashing scene in “Mistletoe”.

    • Chartreuse on July 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Make that “Vaughns'”. Mea culpa.

  5. DJ La Haie on July 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    This is my favorite of the series so far, and actually the first Pink book I read. I love that the hero and heroine are both so strong–with everyone–and yet so vulnerable–but only with each other. Favorite scene: definitely the proposition scene at the beginning!

  6. Alexa J on July 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    This is one of my favorite books in the series, which is quite a feat since I found her to be so unpleasant in the previous books. Who knew that she would be delightfully self-interested and that Vaughn would be the perfect match? 🙂

    The Chinese chamber scene stands out for me.

  7. Betty S. on July 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    As others have said, I too was thrilled at the change in both Mary and Vaughan. I really liked them both in this book which proves how characters and feelings can change. Love the proposition scene.

  8. Alice on July 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Also my favorite book in the series. Who would have thought? I love the scene where Vaughn and Mary are talking and Vaughn is about to declare himself. Then his wife appears –very much alive.

  9. Paige B. on July 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    It is really hard to pick favorite scenes, but I thoroughly enjoyed how Geoffrey had a part in the final betrothal scene.

  10. Yvette R on July 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I think my favorite scenes are the ones where Vaughn is shot & Mary just dropps all artifice and does what is needed … and pushes everyone around her into doing what she needs them to do to save him.

  11. The Lit Bitch on December 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t know if I can single out just one scene that I loved in this book….if I had to I guess I would say the proposition scene was pretty good. I can also say that I love the chemistry between Lord Vaughn and Mary. For me they were the most real characters….so unapologetic-ally themselves. I loved that they were both strong and yet vulnerable. Great chemistry and characters 🙂

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