Pink Carnation Read Along Month 10: THE PASSION OF THE PURPLE PLUMERIA

Dust off your purple parasols!  Miss Gwen is here to shake away the January blues– or skewer away the January blues, as the case may be.  It’s time for Pink X, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, with special guest co-host Andrea Penrose!

Join us on Thursday, January 27th, at 8pm ET, to discuss spies, skullduggery, missing jewels, missing schoolgirls, Gothic novels, and love at all ages.

You can register here.

I’ve always been a firm believer that side characters are the heroes of their own stories.  Sometimes they demand those stories.  Loudly.  At parasol point.  After nine books playing the role of eccentric chaperone, it was more than time for Miss Gwendolyn Meadows to emerge from her place as a souped-up stock character to take center stage in an adventure and romance of her own.  If I didn’t write it for her, she’d write it for herself– and did, with her ongoing Gothic novel, The Convent of Orsino.

Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid are both older than the usual run of hero and heroine one finds in Romancelandia; they’re both well into middle age, they’ve lived, they’ve made mistakes, and they find themselves confronting both their futures and their pasts as the disappearance of the Pink Carnation’s sister and Colonel Reid’s daughter from a Bath boarding school throws them ever closer together.  It always bothered me that on the rare occasions one saw older romances, they tended to be side characters, supplementary romances rather than the central story.  Miss Gwen, of course, would never accept anything other than the main storyline.

Our super special guest host for this month is my dear friend Andrea Penrose, author of the Wrexford and Sloane mysteries– whom some of you may also know as Regency romance novelist Cara Elliott.  Back in her Cara days, Andrea and I co-taught a class at Yale on the origin and development of the modern Regency romance novel.

Okay, I couldn’t resist sharing: that’s us below with our class– and a large cardboard cut-out of Fabio that our students brought us as a surprise for our final session!

You can find the syllabus for our Reading the Romance class here.

You’ll notice there aren’t the usual supplementary materials this month.  Purple Plumeria was the point where the series transitioned into paperback– and where I stopped posting outtakes and bibliographies.  The reason for the latter?  This was when I started writing two books a year instead of one, got married, and began producing small people, so suddenly my discretionary time shrunk to, well, nothing.  The Passion of the Purple Plumeria came out when my daughter was one week old.  I vividly remember holding her and trying to sign bookplates and address envelopes one-handed over her head.  I’d just turned in the edits for my second stand alone, That Summer, and the eleventh book in the Pink series, Sally’s book (which I hadn’t started yet), was due in two months.  But that’s a whole other story….

I will try to scrounge in the files this month and see if I can find any outtakes or extras to post!

Any ideas for Plumeria-themed drinks or snacks?  Let me know!

In the meantime, dust off your purple parasol, and let’s get reading!


  1. Lauren on January 6, 2022 at 8:12 am

    Can’t wait!

    • Alice Kappes on January 19, 2022 at 5:27 pm

      Please sign me up for the book discussion. This was such a fun read.

      • Alice on January 19, 2022 at 5:30 pm

        Disregard. I see the link. Duh!

  2. LynnS on January 8, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I would have loved that class!

Leave a Comment