Thanks so much to everyone who joined in to discuss The Mischief of the Mistletoe last week! And I so apologize for the failure to livestream/record. I’m coming up with a plan to do a make-up Mistletoe event later in the year to make up for it.
But now it’s time to head across the Channel to France! Who’s ready to get right into the heart of the action in the center of Napoleon’s regime with one intrepid governess and none other than the Pink Carnation herself? That’s right: it’s The Orchid Affair! Secret police, traveling theatre troupes, governesses with complicated pasts… what could possibly go wrong?
This book was brought to you by two incongruous things: The Sound of Music and the movie version of Susan Isaac’s Shining Through, which I watched one fateful night back in 2009 and thought, wait! What if you took this idea, the governess undercover, but had her ridiculously attractive employer working for the enemy regime NOT be a Nazi? And then I remembered that I write a series set in Napoleonic France, and, of course, this would absolutely make sense.
Orchid also marked a shift in the series. Partly because of the highly controversial cover change (don’t worry– we can discuss that at length at the Read Along meeting!) and partly because this book and the book that follows saw a shift from the London drawing room atmosphere of the earlier books– and the core cast of the earlier books– to the dangerous interior of Napoleon’s regime, as well as a much more direct look at the activities of the Pink Carnation herself.
Our super special guest host for this month is my very good friend and fellow W, Karen White! Join us at 8pm on Tuesday, September 28th, as we discuss governesses, revolutionaries, commedia del’arte, and all things Orchid!
You can register here. The event is free and open to anyone anywhere.
And now on to the important stuff: snacks!
Orchid snack: Gougères. Because who doesn’t love cheesy circles of pure yum?
Orchid drink: A French 75, of course! To celebrate the series returning to France. You can find the recipe here.
Orchid non-alcoholic drink: sparkling pink lemonade. For the children, of course.
Now that we’ve gotten the food and drink out of the way, here are some background materials for your amusement:
- You can find discussion questions here.
- Want to know what happened with the cover? The Cover Stories Article I did on it isn’t up on the internet anymore, but I found the text, and you can read it here.
- Locate your favorite characters on these Selwick, Balcourt, and Wooliston family trees.
- Want to learn more about Napoleon’s secret police, female artists, or 19th century Paris? Here’s some suggested background reading.
Check back here later this month for discussions about the joy of governess plots, Napoleonic Paris, and the Great Cover Controversy. Please do share lots of photos on Instagram and Facebook! Just tag me and add #pinkcarnationreadalong.
Is there anything else you’d like to see that I’ve forgotten?
Brush off your copies of The Orchid Affair, grab those gougères, and let’s get reading!