It’s time for the RITA-winning, root vegetable-starring, Christmas pudding-centric Mischief of the Mistletoe!
Who: Arabella Dempsey and Turnip Fitzhugh
When: Christmas, 1803
What: When a mysterious Christmas pudding with a message shows up at an all girls’ school in Bath, neither Arabella nor Turnip have any idea that it will lead them on the path to adventure—and romance.
Historical Cameos: Jane Austen
Honestly, I’m never sure where to place this book. In my files, it’s the only Pink book to be listed without a number. It’s simply Pink Christmas.
On the other hand, chronologically, Mistletoe fits in between The Seduction of the Crimson Rose and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, so, for those who are reading the series from scratch, I generally recommend reading this between Crimson Rose and Night Jasmine.
It’s also the only Pink book that doesn’t include the modern Colin and Eloise frame story, which means that, for anyone wanting to read one of the Pinks as a one off, this one works better than any of the others as a stand alone.
In other words, rather like Turnip, The Mischief of the Mistletoe fits in everywhere and nowhere.
Fun facts about The Mischief of the Mistletoe:
— Like Crimson Rose, this was an accidental book. In the spring of 2009, I’d started writing The Orchid Affair— but I was feeling emotionally burned out after Blood Lily, which had been much darker than the earlier books. Orchid Affair was also shaping up to be a darker book. I needed something light and fun as a sort of sorbet between the two more intense installments. It was while I was giving a talk to a writers’ group in New York, talking about crafting a series arc, that it hit me: I needed to write Turnip’s book before I could move on to Orchid Affair.
— Turnip’s book was always going to be set in Bath, but when I first stumbled home from that writers’ group and started scribbling plot ideas, the original plan was to set it in June, around a smuggling ring based out of a tailor shop. But there was just something about Turnip and Christmas that went together like holly and ivy….
— The ending of The Mischief of the Mistletoe and the beginning of The Temptation of the Night Jasmine overlap. It’s the same house party seen from different viewpoints. So, if you read Night Jasmine and were wondering why Turnip was trying to chop down a tree with the wrong side of an ax… now you know.
— There are no love scenes in Mistletoe (making it acceptably PG for those who don’t approve of that sort of thing), but there’s an extra bonus add on chapter, Away in a Manger: A Very Turnip Wedding Night. For this, you have to thank Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. At RWA’s annual conference, when Mischief of the Mistletoe won the RITA for Best Regency, she made a bet with me: if her readers could come up with a suitable illustration, I had to write Turnip’s wedding night. You can find the result of both over on the Diversions page….
My favorite scene? The failed Christmas pageant at Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary. I had far too much fun writing that scene.
What’s your favorite scene from The Mischief of the Mistletoe?