Name those root vegetables! Or: A Very Mistletoe Contest

It just dawned on me that this is an anniversary of sorts for The Mischief of the Mistletoe.

Mistletoe_cvr Mistletoe Paperback

As much as it boggles my brain to think of it, it’s been a whole five years since The Mischief of the Mistletoe first appeared on shelves in the winter of 2010. That’s five whole years of Turnip… in which he won a RITA Award, acquired an epilogue, and all sorts of other fun stuff. He’s even been rendered in Peep form. (Which is really pretty Peeptastic.)


Turnip and Arabella have popped up again from time to time since their star turn. In 2014’s The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, we met their toddler, Parsnip (née Jane, but no-one calls her by her real name). And in the Readers’ Guide to the final Pink book, The Lure of the Moonflower, we discover that Turnip and Arabella evenutally have not just Parsnip, but four younger children as well.

So here is your Mistletoe challenge: name those Fitzhughs!

Do you have any ideas for names for Turnip’s other children? Real names, nicknames, what they get up to later in life… the more you want to share, the merrier!

Two people will be chosen at random to receive your choice of either a signed copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe (paperback) or a Lure of the Moonflower audio CD.

Winners will be announced on Monday.

Happy naming!



  1. Jessica S on December 16, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Rutabaga, Carrot (the redhead), Yam, and Beetroot.

    Née Emma, Catherine, Anne, and Beatrice. Anne couldn’t say Beatrice when her little sister was born, it came out Beetroot every time!

    Of course Turnip’s progeny would be all girls!

  2. Jan Siler on December 16, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Casava (nicknamed Cassie)
    and Chestnut (as in Water Chestnut)…..

    And I would love a Mistletoe paperback! One of my favorite Christmas (and any other time) reads!

  3. cate on December 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I’ll go for Carrot, Swede(no rutabagas’ in the UK, at all…ever !) Beetroot & Sprout..because it’s Christmas & we always have Brussels Sprouts at Christmas in the UK. ?

  4. Kelliey Chavez on December 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Romanesco – Yes, it’s a root veggie
    Dulse or Sol in Icelandic

  5. TJ on December 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Pumpkin was the youngest and always different than the rest. She’s quiet and sweet and highly intelligent. The others are merry and giggly while she is thoughtful and introspective. They all worship her as the baby of the family (she was born eight years after the third) and she loves them fiercely in her quiet say, but sometimes wishes she could go live with a quiet aunt somewhere. Her real aunt is not a good candidate for quiet and solitude…

  6. Kristin M on December 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Oh, I miss the Fitzhughes! Fun challenge. How about: Tatty (as in Potato), Carrots (gotta have a Anne of Green Gables reference), Artichoke (Artie?), and Fennel (Fennella or Fenn?).

  7. Debra Fortney on December 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Tater, Radish, Carrot, and Puddin in honor of the Christmas pudding that brought them together. I am listening to the audio book now. It is Wonderful!!!

  8. Kim rettig on December 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Kohlrabi (Kohl for short); Karrot (Kara); Sprout (which is just a great nickname for the youngest James)

  9. Caren on December 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm


  10. Clara Bauer on December 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    With all their Christmas love (and adding in our Thanksgiving) I would submit…..pumpkin (PK), cinnamon (Cini or Manny), nutmeg (Meg also an homage to Little Women) and ginger. Of course, Clove could be another. I’m thinking a couple,of girls open their own ribbon and pastry shop. They could have their own plum pudding recipe featuring a secret ingredient…all spice. I’m certain they would have plenty of taste testers. PK becomes a professor with a love of history and the classics. His father just doesn’t understand why he is so serious. He eventually marries Lord Leaf’s daughter, Holly. And the holidays just keep coming…….more to come!

  11. Susan Gorman on December 16, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Roasted Root veggies are very popular !
    Turnip’s son could be Tate after potatoe.
    Daughters could be Dandelion, Ginger, Lily ( bulb root plant)
    Wouldn’t it be fun if one of the children was a chef?
    A famous chef?

  12. Lauren H on December 16, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I think they need to have a Sweet Potato in there somewhere. Named Mirabella, middle child, a little carbon copy of her mom and her Dad’s secret favorite.

  13. Alessandra on December 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Ginger, Carrot for the red hair and Artichoke

  14. AngelB on December 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Tater is the oldest male child. Who, unlike his siblings, follows in his maternal grandfather’s footsteps and is a scholar. He hates his nickname, but not as much as given name Wenceslaus.

    Beety, a take off of Betty, a take off of Elizabeth, is the quiet middle child. She is neither destructive or instructive. She is usually found following Cook around the kitchen.

    Radish, the youngest male, is the future of the word extreme. Completely oblivious like his father, but instead of falling into accidents, he creates his own accidents, and prefers to be called “Rad”. He is the master of driving to an inch by the age of 14 and can throw a Christmas pudding at a rabbit from 100 feet. Given name is Napoleon, because Turnip and Arabella would have never met if it wasn’t for the short little emperor.

    Our youngest is little Emma (notice girls name all follow Jane’s characters). Emma is Sally 2.0. She has no nickname because she is not a vegetable. She demands to be a part of everything and know everything since birth where she had the audacity of being born immediately after the assignation of the Prime Minister.

  15. Dianne Casey on December 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Acorn (squash)

  16. Lucy on December 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Ginger, Carrot, Taro and Yam.

  17. Jane B. on December 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Middle daughter Barbara gets called Beetroot by her siblings because she blushes so easily.

  18. LynnS on December 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Radish, rutabega, carrot and mangelwurzel. Poor little mangelwurzel, as the youngest he is always getting into scrapes that are really Not His Fault. Things just seem to happen around him. Really.

  19. bn100 on December 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm


  20. Susan I on December 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Beet, Turmeric, Horseradish, and Jicama. (I actually think Jicama is kind of pretty).

  21. Kathleen Thompson on December 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Carrot, Ginger, Radish and Rutabaga of course.

  22. Freya Shipley on December 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    The Fitzhughs’s second daughter is christened Sally, after her doting aunt (who is also her godmother. It was a severe wrench for the elder Sally Fitzhugh to renounce the devil and all his works before the font, but she clenched her teeth and made the sacrifice for the sake of her favorite brother and his offspring.) Young Sally is commonly known as Salad. At the tender age of nine, she has already been judged “overdressed” by the less charitable girls of her set, who snicker about her behind her back. Nothing daunted, Salad continues to adorn herself in ever more elaborate confections of tartan, gold lace, sequins, and embroidered mousseline de soie. By the time of her debut, it’s clear to all that Salad is truly her papa’s daughter, possessed of a larger than life beauty and style, allowing her to shine in fashions that on anyone else would appear merely vulgar. She tends to attract beaux who are stage struck.


Sally’s next younger sister is Elizabeth Arabella, instantly nicknamed (thanks to one of her young male cousins) Lizard. Lizard’s kind-hearted mama and her godmother Miss Austen do all they can to alter the name to Lizzie, but to no avail. Lizard the child remains, even as it becomes obvious that she is growing up to be the most breathtakingly beautiful member of an unusually comely family. Lizard herself seems quite happy with her reptilian sobriquet. To the dismay of many a young buck, she prefers mythology and natural history to fashion papers and the latest on-dits. “She really is quite the most smashing little brain-box,” her father exclaims proudly. When not reading heavy tomes or turning over damp stones at the bottom of the garden, Lizard is secretly preparing for her life’s work. Ever since she can remember, she has been passionately drawn to that most glamorous of professions — that most dangerous and exhilarating of careers, where one lives life balanced on a knife’s edge, seizing the day, never knowing what the next moment may bring: GOVERNESSING. Lizard is the proud possessor of a talisman: a tiny gold locket that once belonged to Marie Louise de Rohan, governess to the young Louis XVI. Within, in tiny, exquisite script, it bears the time-honored motto: “I can’t bear to do any more marking just now — pour me a glass of wine, will you?”

    The next Fitzhugh child is Edmund Flashheart Percy Melchett, commonly called Bob. Bob is a golden child, sunny-tempered and warmhearted, who resembles his papa more every day. He is the founder of a select Mayfair club for young gentlemen known as the Drones — a fraternity that continues to thrive right up to the middle of the twentieth century. Bob’s interest in apiculture is deep and abiding. By the time he is eighteen, he has acquired a large number of hives which he cares for on his country estate in Sussex. He also raises Jersey cows (though they make his mama shudder), and grows a great deal of excellent hothouse fruit. Bob’s happiness is complete when, at the age of twenty-two, he meets and marries Jaquinetta, an intoxicatingly lovely young milkmaid who smells of hay and cream. Together, Bob and Jaquinetta devote themselves to the production of marmalade, raspberry jam, clotted cream, and honey, which they share over many a blissful and lingering breakfast table.

    The youngest Fitzhugh is Gilliflower Emerald Gentian Lily Rose. As of this writing, she is still so very young that only two things have ever happened to her:

    1) Her elder siblings are making a concerted push to nickname her Cauliflower. So far the title has not stuck, possibly owing to the infant Gilliflower’s weary and disdainful glance whenever she hears the name. Observers suspect that as she grows, she may develop a more sophisticated sense of humor — demanding some actual cleverness to make her smile — than that possessed by her merry but easily-impressed siblings.

    2) Gilliflower has just been spirited away from her night-nursery by an infamous French operative known only as the Narcissus Noir. The fiend’s motives are as yet unclear, but appear to involve Lord Elgin, Maximillian I of Wittelsbach, the chemistry of the waters at Tunbridge Wells, and a dachshund named Colin. Lord Richard Selwick assures his friends that rescue is imminent.

    • Lauren on December 16, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Freya, I doff my carnation-embroidered chapeau to you. Blackadder, Wodehouse, and grading jokes all in one? There are no words (only gurgles as one attempts not to snort tea).

      • Freya Shipley on December 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

        Thanks, Lauren! What an honor. Reading your novels, I always regretted not being personal friends with you. 🙂 (Did you notice the Shakespeare reference??)

        • Lauren on December 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm

          You mean the nod to “Love’s Labour’s Lost”? : )

          • Freya Shipley on December 16, 2015 at 11:41 pm

            Indeed! Thank you so much for enjoying my fan letter.

    • Betty Strohecker on December 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Amazing! Lauren #2?

      • Freya Shipley on December 16, 2015 at 11:41 pm

        Gosh, Betty — thanks for suggesting it! I can only dream. 🙂

      • Lynne on December 17, 2015 at 12:38 am

        I’ll second that concept and can only add that if my cup of tea was next to me I’d be snorting (spitting?) my tea along with Lauren.

        • Freya Shipley on December 17, 2015 at 2:05 am

          Thanks, Lynne! [Blush — damn these fair complexions!]

  23. Catie on December 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Rutebega popped into my mind first! Happy holidays and Merry Mistletoe-ing!

  24. Whitney on December 16, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Fufu, Poi, Ginger and Sweety…all nicknames. And maybe they go on an adventure to West Africa. Merry Christmas!!!

  25. Kelly-Lynn on December 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    1. Aloria, nicknamed beet is the youngest Fitzhugh child. She is a beautiful little girl that is extremely inquisitive. She tends to try and covertly follow the other rambunctious children of the clan but tends to turn red when caught spying. This is how she earned her vegetable nickname by the other children. The family trade tends to come natural to Aloria except for the flushing of her cheeks which later in life becomes a problem for the future English spy.

    2. Radella, (meaning advisor) nicknamed rutabaga by her brother just because he thinks it’s funny, lives up to the meaning of her name. She is extremely intelligent not only with books but with her surroundings she is usually the master behind all the escapades the Fitzhugh children get into. Throughout the years the clan has gotten into many scrapes with others in the neighbourhood but due to Radella’s smarts and wits the Fitzhugh’s always tended to be triumphant in their endeavors.

    3. Ember (meaning fire), nickname carrot for her firery red hair is appropriately named. Her firery fierce spirit and witty tongue made even the boys afraid of her. A tomboy in spirit and quite capable of doing anything boys can do did not take away from her femininity. A stunning young woman commands the respect from the boys who fear her. Her older brother and her are thick as thieves and share a bond unlike the other children.

    4. Wren (meaning little bird) nicknamed artichoke after his favorite vegetable by his sisters, is scrawny and small for his age but is actually quite athletic. Underestimated, Wren tends to be picked on by others but there is no battle he will shy away from. Ember is always by her brothers side to lend a hand in any situation. Wren might not be the smartest of the bunch but along with the others, they take after the spies they grew up idolizing. Each child has something different to bring to the table making them an unstoppable bunch.

  26. Kristi Burch on December 16, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Freya, that’s amazingly entertaining. Thank you


    • Freya Shipley on December 17, 2015 at 2:39 am

      Thank you, Kristi! I’m so grateful! -Freya

  27. Diane Sallans on December 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    tho these are not root veggies, they are some of my favorites – let’s nickname them:

    Sprout (short for Brussel Sprout)
    Gus (short for Asparagus)
    Tatie (short for Potato)
    Nipper (short for Turnip Jr.)

  28. Cyndy on December 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Carrot & Ginger – the redheaded twins, Beetie and Sprout. The girls, Beetie and Ginger, take after Arabella and sometimes lose patience with their siblings. Carrot is a lot like her her father Turnip – good natured but somehow finding herself in tricky situations! Sprout is a mixture of his parents with Jane’s sense of adventure. Uh oh!!!!

  29. Alexandra on December 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Courgette? Aubergine?

  30. Aleen on December 16, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    What about named after spices? Because they spice up his life. Turnips need to be seasoned after all!

    Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Basil

    Now I’m hungry.

  31. Deborah Sigel on December 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Little Beet (Beatrice)

  32. Allison on December 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    There’ll be Reginald Jr, the spitting image of his father. Though everyone will call him Rudy (short for Rutabega, naturally).

    Much to Turnip’s delight, another boy followed Rudy. Though Christened Charles, Parsnip seemed dead set on calling him Potato, as she thought he quite resembled one when he was newly born. He grew up to be much more serious than the rest of his family, and greatly disliked the nickname. By his late teens, he begrudgingly answered to Pat (and even secretly liked it).

    Next came Madeleine. Of course, everyone was scandalized when Arabella revealed the name, with the war so fresh in everyone’s memory. But though of French origin, Arabella had craved Madeleine cookies so often during her pregnancy, that the name seemed a perfect fit. And anyway, everyone except her mother called her Maddie.

    Then there’s little Ginny, given name Ginger, because the Fitzhughs have given up trying to provide their progeny with “sensible” names, seeing as they’re never much used.

  33. Patricia on December 16, 2015 at 11:59 pm


  34. Alice Kappes on December 17, 2015 at 1:00 am


  35. Nikki D. on December 17, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Rudy aka Rutabaga (he also has red hair).
    Clara also known as Carrot (her hair is a wee bit more orange).
    Lily who is already planted firmly in a floral title, but who is later nicknamed the Lady of Shallot due to her love of reading. Much later in life, of course.
    Georgina who they lovingly call Ginger, mostly due to her feisty youngest-child nature.

  36. Krishna Puro on December 17, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Yummy veggies with unusual names should fit the bill:
    2) Brinjal (eggplant in Gujurati; related to potatoes and other root veggies…Brin for short)
    3) Rutabega (Rooty for short!)
    4) Dandelion (roots are often used in Asian cooking and fittingly tea)

  37. Yvonne B on December 17, 2015 at 4:29 am

    Hmmm……How about:
    Salsify (Sal, Si, or Fee for shorter nickname)
    Chufa (tigernut)
    Crosne (Chinese artichoke)
    Sunchoke (could be “Sunny”)
    Tannia (form of xanthosome)

    Few more than needed, but……the more the merrier to choose from, right? 🙂

  38. Meredith A on December 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    This is the best ask-the-reader question ever. I love the Fitzhughs. I never miss the Fitzhughs, however, since their story is reread several times a year.

    Arabella, being the practical sort, vetoed the naming of any more children for root vegetables after Parsnip was born. Two root vegetables in one family was quite enough. Turnip, however, could not abide by foisting his children into the world without an appropriate sobriquet (Deuced frenchy word, Sobriq-whats-its). Putting all of his previous training as Assistant to the Assistants of The Pink Carnation (a title of his own devising, which, for a short time, graced the front of his calling card in pink lettering), Turnip set out to outwit his wife into accepting nicknames for their children that would be mutually acceptable. Arabella, who played along with the supposed-outwitting, allowed Turnip to choose the following:

    “Trellis”: Real name Rose Fitzhugh. Turnip has an inordinate fondness for trellises.
    “Mistletoe”: Real name Holly Fitzhugh.
    “Pie”: Real name Ivy Fitzhugh.
    “Pudding”: Real name Farley Fitzhugh.

  39. Courtney on December 18, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Daikon (Japanese white radish)

  40. Beth on December 19, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I like Parsley for one of them. Goes well with Parsnip.

  41. Laura Hartness on December 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Hmmmm… thinking of Christmas scents/flavors/plants…

    Allie (short for Allspice)
    Cinna (short for Cinnamon– no relation to Hunger Games)
    Pepper (short for Peppermint)
    Coco (short for Hot Cocoa)

  42. Katie on December 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I like Tipsin for a boy, it’s another type of turnip. I also like Cassava, Ginger and Carotte (French name for carrot) for the girls. Arabella & Turnip are some of my favorite characters!

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