All right, I have a new favorite Regency author. Lauren Willig may not be Jane Austen (who is?), but she’s an excellent writer in her own right. The Mischief of the Mistletoe comes in the middle of her Pink Carnation series. Even so, it works very well on its own. I haven’t read any more of the series (it’s on my list now!), but I didn’t feel in the least bit lost or confused. If you like your Regency titles a little on the comical side, you’ll love The Mischief of the Mistletoe. Chapter 11 alone is worth the price of the book.
The Mischief of the Mistletoe is set in the early 1800’s, during the Napoleonic wars. Our heroine, Arabella Dempsey, is a poor relation who is more or less on her own now, thanks to her aunt’s marriage. In spite of the cautions of her childhood friend, Jane Austen, she takes a position as an instructress at a girls’ school in Bath. There she (literally) bumps into Reggie Fitzhugh, also known as Turnip. As you might guess, he’s an easygoing, friendly sort, if a little brainless. He’s also quite wealthy. The attraction between the two is obvious to all except them. After a Christmas season dealing with snippy Society ladies and their cruel husbands and male friends, cold castles, missing manuscripts, French spies, and Christmas puddings, we finally reach the expected end. That was when I knew I had to read more about these wonderful, engaging characters. I think you’ll want to, also.