July 2024
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Review: The Mischief of the Mistletoe, Lauren Willig

Fans of the Pink Carnation series will recognize Turnip Fitzhugh, the well-meaning but very dim – and very rich – member of society. Miss Arabella Dempsey, however, is a wallflower, so much so that I barely remembered her appearances in earlier books. In this installment, she’s taken up a job as a schoolteacher, intent on making life a little easier for her sisters. But her plans go awry when the elder brother of one of her charges, Turnip, gets involved in her life, with the very clever intervention of a Christmas pudding. Arabella never imagined she’d earn the attentions of such a man, much less that she’d get involved in a spy plot like something out of a novel, but she’s about to find that her teaching career will not be the plain sailing she’d planned on.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that the Pink Carnation series is one of my shameless pleasures. I can’t at all resist a great historical cross between romance and mystery, mixed in with an ongoing contemporary story, topped off with Willig’s witty and light style. They’re just perfect for winter evenings, which is when I read this particular book. It’s actually missing the contemporary story, but this one by itself was so enchanting that I genuinely didn’t notice. Turnip has been a recurring character throughout the books. I never managed him as a romantic hero, but his bumbling sweetness just made the entire book that much more delightful. He’s so well-meaning and well-intentioned that his lack of intelligence doesn’t make a difference. In fact, he reminded me most of Bertie Wooster here, and I did wonder if Willig used that character as inspiration.

The book itself is something of a flip flop from The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, which I reviewed back when it came out two years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long). As such, a lot of the events are somewhat repeated, but in reverse, when it comes to a Christmas party Arabella and Turnip, along with some other Pink Carnation veterans, attend. We know what’s going on with Charlotte and Henrietta, but the focus is solely on Arabella and Turnip. It’s very light-hearted, like much of the series, but the Christmas theme has really been taken to heart here. The mystery takes very, very little priority and the focus is solely on the romance. Without the frame story, it’s clear that a romance is exactly what this book is; while some of the previous ones have felt heavier on the historical fiction, this is certainly not one of them. So if you’re going in with that frame of mind, you may not enjoy this quite as much as I did. It feels like a treat for me, because I do enjoy the series very much, but I would recommend reading the others before getting to this one.

If you’re looking for a light, frothy fun read, especially in the winter, The Mischief of the Mistletoe is definitely it. Highly recommended – especially to other fans of the series!

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.


7 comments to Review: The Mischief of the Mistletoe, Lauren Willig

  • Pam

    I haven’t read any in the series (honestly haven’t heard about it until, right now) but it sounds fun! The cover is adorable, too…

  • I have been interested in this series, but have heard varying things about it. I do think that it might be something worth investing some time in though, and I am glad to hear that this book didn’t disappoint. Very thoughtful review.
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  • I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while. This book sounds like so much fun!

  • I’m glad to see this is a light, fun read. I won it last year, but didn’t get it until after Christmas. I’m saving it for the holidays.

  • While I acquired this book last December I ran out of steam when I was a quarter through. I have only read the first book in the series but that did not hamper me in the least with The Mischief Of The Mistletoe, which to me felt like a standalone. Will try again toward the end of this year, in the hope that snow and hot chocolate will help the story grab me more than it did the first time around. It seemed a bit too much on the silly side then, but I did like Willig’s voice and loved that she gave us a kind, beta romance hero.
    Danielle´s last post …France- Liszts Kiss by Susanne Dunlap

  • I have this one!! I was going to save it for next year, but maybe I’ll just go for it now.
    Beth F´s last post …Weekend Cooking- Focaccia with Greens from Lora Brody

  • Kim

    Just wanted to say that I stumbled on this blog by accident – I can’t even remember how now – and now I am reading the fifth book in this series, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. I started these books about a week ago and simply cannot put them down. Thank you very much for leading me to this series!