Pink Carnation Read Along Month 12: THE LURE OF THE MOONFLOWER

After eleven books (and one Christmas novella), it’s time to hit the road with none other than the Pink Carnation herself.  Can the Pink Carnation find the missing Portuguese monarch before the French do?  And can Eloise make it to the altar without something going catastrophically wrong?

That’s right!  It’s time for the final Pink Carnation novel, The Lure of the Moonflower!

Come join me and especially special guest co-host, my sister Brooke, at 8pm ET on Tuesday, March 29th, as we discuss all things Moonflower!

You can register here.

Way back when, in the mists of time, circa 2005, when I was still trying to set Jane up with first Geoff and then Lord Vaughn (and we all know what happened there!), I had a sudden image of a man by a campfire.  He looked a bit like Harrison Ford being either Indiana Jones or Han Solo.  He also looked distinctly annoyed as a woman, incongruously dressed in the sort of clothes one might wear to get ices at Gunter’s, stepped up to him and introduced herself as the Pink Carnation.  The woman was obviously Jane.  The man?  I hadn’t a clue, other than that he was Jane’s true love and her book was clearly going to have to take place in Portugal.  It wasn’t until several books later, in the autumn of 2008, that I bumped into a character and thought, oh my goodness, that’s the man by the campfire!

It wasn’t until six and a half years after that, in spring of 2015, that I finally sat down to write that story.

Three Fun Facts about The Lure of the Moonflower:

Moonflower was written in a mad six week chapter a day rush because I’d gotten behind on my deadlines with the stand alone The Other Daughter and the first Team W book, The Forgotten Room, and wound up starting this book on February 1 (the day after we handed in Forgotten Room) with a hard deadline of March 15th.

— I got through that mad writing crunch with a combination of extra baby sitter hours, six hours a day at Starbucks, and half an hour a night of the musical spoof Galavant.

— Originally, there was meant to be a novella between Manzanilla and Moonflower, called The Pink Carnation in Love, set in Venice in 1806, revolving around the Carnation’s doomed love affair with the French spy, the Gardener.  It was even officially announced and assigned a pub date.  There are still scraps of it floating around in my files, but, at the time, I was under contract for a novella (“The Record Set Right” in Fall of Poppies), a short story for a German Christmas anthology, a stand alone novel (The Other Daughter), and the first Team W collaboration (The Forgotten Room)– and I had a not quite one year old who didn’t believe in sleep.  There was a brief discussion about my writing the novella and pushing the novel off a year, but in the end we wound up going with the novel on schedule (by the skin of my teeth!) and scrapping the novella.  I’m still a little sorry it had to be sacrificed, but having plotted it did make Jane’s backstory in Moonflower a lot richer.

You can hear more about the Novella That Wasn’t– and read one of the lost fragments– here.

Extras!  Here are some bits and pieces I found as I was scrabbling around in my Pink XII archives:

— You can find a recipe for Portuguese biscoitos from Christine’s wonderful Pink Carnation cookery series, here.

— Eloise’s wedding!  To celebrate the launch of Moonflower, I did a full week of posts about Eloise’s wedding preparations.  You can find the dress (with commentary from her mother and sister), the presents from their various friends and relations (totally in character, of course), the cake, and the honeymoon.

— The “lost” opening of Lure of the Moonflower, which I scrapped because it was madly out of character for both Jane and Jack– but had such fun dialogue.  You can read it here.

Want to know more?  Join us next week!  And be sure to post lots of pictures with the hashtag #pinkcarnationreadalong for our Read Along last hurrah!


  1. Rachel Adrianna on March 24, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    I’d completely forgotten about the Pink Cookery series! Thanks for reposting and Very Big Thanks to Christine for doing all of that work 🙂

  2. Elizabeth (AKA Miss Eliza) on March 24, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    Dammit, now I want to rewatch Galavant!

  3. Just Anne on March 27, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    I also adored Galavant! Our Flag Means Death reminds me of Galavant + Princess Bride. Looking forward to Moonflower read-along!

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