Author: Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation (Book 7)
Publication: NAL; Reprint edition (November 1, 2011)
Description: Despite her dear friend Jane Austen's warning against teaching, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a girls' school in Bath, just before Christmas. She hardly imagines coming face-to-face with French aristocrats and international spies.
Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh - often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation - has blundered into danger before. When Turnip and Arabella find their Christmas pudding yielding a cryptic message, they are launched on a Yuletide adventure. Will they find poinsettias - or peril?
My Thoughts: This seventh book in the Pink Carnation series was a wild Christmas romp featuring puddings with hidden messages. Arabella Dempsey is in Bath looking for a position at a girl's school. After spending a number of years as companion to her aunt, her aunt has married a much younger man who had also raised Arabella's expectations but decided to go where the money was now. This leaves Arabella at loose ends since her expectations of an inheritance from her aunt will no longer happen.
Almost the first person Arabella meets in Bath is Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh who literally sweeps her off her feet. But, being a gentleman, he quickly helps her back up. Turnip's sister is a student at the school where Arabella is now a junior mistress. Also at the school is Lizzy Reid whose brother we met in THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY.
Unlikely as it seems, French spies are also in the picture searching for a list of Crown agents that the father of one of the other students lost at the school. Arabella and Turnip are quickly drawn in on a hunt for spies.
Lots of characters from earlier books in the series make appearances in this one and Turnip, who has been a comedic side character in earlier books, finally gets a chance to show his true heroic self. The dialog in this one was often quite witty. The whole story had a lot of humor but also a very sweet romance.
The only thing I missed from this episode of the Pink Carnation series was a plot featuring Colin and Eloise in the present.
"Splendid!" exclaimed Mr. Fitzhugh, and he sounded as though he really thought it was. "Should be an amusing excursion, even if is it all a mad duck romp."I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.
"You mean a wild-goose chase?"
"That too," said Mr. Fitzhugh airily. "Can't get away from the fowl, it seems."
Sally twisted in her chair, pearl earbobs swinging. "Do not mention the chickens."