Of Friendship & Carnations
My fellow Hoyden and good friend Lauren Willig recently celebrated a milestone with the publication of the final book in her Pink Carnation Series, The Lure of the Moonflower. Despite multiple deadlines, I devoured this book which finally tells the story of the Pink Carnation herself, Jane Wooliston, a British spy in the Napoleonic Wars who could give the Scarlet Pimpernel a run for his money.
Reveling in this book (and also feeling a bitter sweet nostalgia because it is the last in the series) I reflected on history. The history of this wonderful series filled with intrigue and adventure that has swept from London to Paris to India to the Peninsula and other wonderful settings and involved real historical characters from Hortense Bonaparte to Jane Austen. But I was also thinking about personal history. Lauren stared writing these books when she was in law school. I first met her when she came to the Bay Area on a book tour. We've always shared a special bond writing about Napoleonic spies and both being influenced, in different ways, by the Scarlet Pimpernel (not to mention writing characters inclined to swap Shakespeare quotes). We’ve discussed the finer points of early 19th century espionage over dinner and drinks in Manhattan in the days when we were both single and pre-children. Over lattes n a café while my three month old dozed in her stroller, when Lauren was planning her wedding. On Lauren’s sofa with our babies asleep in our laps. And most recently while our toddlers cooked pretend meals and discovered a mutual love of The Pirates of Penzance.
It’s been a treat watching Lauren take the journey of writing this series, talking about the history behind it, and sharing a bit of the history of her writing such fabulous stories with such a wonderful cast of characters. I’m feeling a bit sad that it’s done, but I can’t to see what she writes next.