If You Like….

Since this is Pink Anniversary month, if you like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, you’ll probably like….

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy: the original flower-named spy. His exploits are a generation earlier than those of the Carnation, during the Terror, but the same spirit prevails.

Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini. Like the Pimpernel, this is set a decade or so before the Pink books, during the height of the Revolution, and has one of the best opening lines ever: “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” A true, old-fashioned, swashbuckling adventure.

The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne. Moving into the realm of historical romance, Joanna Bourne writes the best Napoleonic spy novels out there, going deeply into what it really means to live in the shadows.

To Catch an Heiress, by Julia Quinn and The Accidental Duchess, by Jessica Benson. For sheer, madcap comedy– with spies– you can’t beat these two Regency romances. Never was spy more beset. Or dialogue funnier.

— Speaking of clever dialogue… we can’t leave out Georgette Heyer. Among others, try Sprig Muslin, my inspiration for what I call “mob scenes” (i.e. comic scenes involving a lot of people talking at once). Or pretty much any Georgette Heyer, really.

With This Ring, by Amanda Quick. This book provided the inspiration for Miss Gwen’s literary ambitions, as the heroine is a writer of horrid novels. It’s also very similar in tone to the first Pink book.

— Tracy Grant’s novels, starting with either Secrets of a Lady or Vienna Waltz. Tracy’s beautifully written mysteries feature a husband and wife spy team, a wonderfully different spin on the world of Napoleonic espionage.

— Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave and Tasha Alexander’s And Only to Deceive. While these are both Victorian rather than Napoleonic, Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia books and Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books tend to be bundled with the Pink books as historical mysteries featuring strong heroines and tongue in cheek humor– and I’m so flattered to be in such amazing company!

— And while we’re talking historical mystery… Kate Ross’s four Julian Kestrel mysteries, featuring a Regency dandy (or perhaps something more?) turned sleuth, starting with Cut to the Quick.

— Moving back to the madcap, Gail Carriger’s steampunk Parasol Protectorate series, starting with Soulless. There’s a lot of Miss Gwen in there. Plus werewolves.

— On to the big (and little) screen, I can’t leave out: The Scarlet Pimpernel movie with Anthony Andrews, Scarlet Pimpernel movie with Leslie Howard, and “Nob and Nobility”, Blackadder, Season III.

What would you recommend for fans of Pink I?


  1. Christine on February 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Along the same lines as the Lady Emily and Lady Julia books, Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby books are also historical mysteries and I’ve really enjoyed them. Also, the Juliana Gray have a lot more romance, some element of mystery and a ton of great humor.

  2. Algae on February 9, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    So many of these are favorites of mine! I might recommend the Richard and Rose series – they’re more erotica, set in Georgian Period, but lots of suspense and mystery-solving.

    I always get sad when I consider Kate Ross. The Julian Kestrel books were so wonderful and there was so much more to discover about Kestrel.

  3. Cate on February 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    So many of the above are already on my keeper shelves ! But I would include Mary Jo Putney’s Fallen Angel series, Elizabeth Thornton,Liz Carlyle and Anne Gracie to that list of Regency-ista’ s. And also Celeste Bradley … now I know her Recency’s bear absolutely no resemblance to reality… but sometimes I just want to read the literary equivalent of a box of Belgian chocolates ..& she always leaves me smiling.

  4. Am7 on February 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series has always felt like if you put the Eloise parts and the Historical parts in a blender and it would come out like the Royal Spyness series. Set in the 30’s the heroine reminds of Eloise (and her friends Darcy and Belinda remind me of Colin and Pammy.) There are historical details that remind me of the historical details in pink and it has mystery and comedy.

    I agree with Lauren Joanna Bourne writes the best Napoleonic spy novels out there. Hers are not particularly funny however.

  5. Pat D on February 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    You covered a lot of my favorites, including the wonderful Gail Carriger. For interesting perspectives of the French Revolution read Scaramouche, Scarlet Pimpernel, and A Tale of Two Cities. I did that years ago and enjoyed it. More serious than Pink but equally exciting would be the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell and the Captain Lacey Regency series by Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley. The first is military, the second is mystery with a war veteran.

  6. Miss Eliza on February 9, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Now all I want to do is watch Blackadder…

  7. Betty S. on February 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Lisa Kleypas’s Bow Street series is really good.

  8. Lynne on February 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

    You hit all the best and only forgot C H Harris’ Sebastian St Cyr series. So many books and so little time…:)

  9. Dianna on February 10, 2015 at 4:39 am

    M. C. Beaton who writes the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series wrote several Regency series under her real name of Marion Chesney…they are now being redone as e-books through Amazon.

  10. Bev Fontaine on February 17, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I would include some of Jane Aiken Hodge’s historicals, particularly “The Winding Stair” and “Greek Wedding.” She was outstanding re: Napoleonic period spy history.

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