Discussion Forums - Love & Romance Love & Romance

Topic: Virtual Book Club - The Secret History of the Pink Carnation Discussion

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Virtual Book Club - The Secret History of the Pink Carnation Discussion
Date Posted: 2/15/2010 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 249
Back To Top

I  would like to add a blanket Spoiler alert for this thread - in order to allow for free flowing discussions, we will be exploring all parts of the book, most likely giving away the entire story line.  Please do not read this thread if you wish to read the book without any preconceived notions.

Lucky for me, my copy of the book came with discussion questions which is quite helpful as my first nephew was born on Friday and I just finished the book now. :)

1.  Meg Cabot called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation "a genre-bending read."  The book contains elements of chick lit, mystery, comedy, adventure stories, and historical romance.  Discuss how the story uses and subverts these various traditions.  How would you classify the book, and why?

2. Discuss the effect of the book.  Are there parallels between the modern and historical stories?  

3. If you were Amy, would you find Richard forgivable for keeping his identity a secret?

4.  Richard's family plays a decent size part in the story.  How does his interaction with them tell us about his character?

5. Do you take Richard's role as a spy seriously or is he more of a parody of the a long tradition of fictional spies?

6.  In what ways are Jane and Amy alike?  Is Jane really the sensible cousin?

7. By the end of the book do you think Amy considers herself English or French?

8.  Although much of the story revolves around Amy and Richard, much of their tale takes place in the company of others.  Do you feel the presence of secondary characters adds or detracts from Amy and Richard's love story?  Does the ensemble cast steal the show?

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 249
Back To Top

1.  Meg Cabot called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation "a genre-bending read."  The book contains elements of chick lit, mystery, comedy, adventure stories, and historical romance.  Discuss how the story uses and subverts these various traditions.  How would you classify the book, and why?

I would classify this book as historical romance due to the time period that the majority of the story takes place in and to me, the storyline revolves around the growing love of Richard and Amy.  I believe that the other storylines were all secondary to this one. 

I don't see how Meg Cabot could call it chick lit, but I also think there is a fine line between romance and chick lit.  I see the mystery in trying to figure out who the Pink Carnation is and why Colin doesn't want Eloise to read the documents (which has me going to the library and getting the next in the series).  Adventure and historical romance I think go without saying, but comedy, again, not sure how that genre plays out in this book.  I thought it was a fun, lighthearted read, but I don't know if I would classify it as a comedy.


2. Discuss the effect of the book.  Are there parallels between the modern and historical stories?  
I loved how she had the modern story line going back to the historical one.  I think that is what gave the book the lightness that I described in the first answer.  I do see parallels between the two stories with Eloise not really understanding Colin like Amy didn't really understand Richard.  As I was reading it I felt like the two story lines were growing together.  I felt the parallel with Miss Gwen and Mrs. Selwick-Adlerly were quite similar in the roles they had in sharing info with Amy/Eloise.  I would also say that Amy and Eloise were on a parallel track to find the information that sought to fulfill their higher goals.  The mystery surrounding Richard and Colin seemed parallel too, although you discovered Richard's must sooner than Colin's.


3. If you were Amy, would you find Richard forgivable for keeping his identity a secret?
This particular story line - secret identities revealed - has been done both ways - forgivable and unforgivable.  I am not sure how I would react to it.  Its also easy to sit on the outside and say yes I would or no I won't but completely different once you are in the moment with all the subsequent emotions churning around inside of you.


4.  Richard's family plays a decent size part in the story.  How does his interaction with them tell us about his character?
He is definitely a man full of love and good character.  He was raised with support and trust and caring and he displays all those emotions for his family, proving to me he is one of the good guys that all women search out in a prospective mate.  It also shows that he knows when to fight and when to put others first.  It reminded me a lot of my family and how much I want to find a man like that too.


5. Do you take Richard's role as a spy seriously or is he more of a parody of the a long tradition of fictional spies?
I took his role seriously.  His role being a parody didn't even cross my mind until I read this question. 


6.  In what ways are Jane and Amy alike?  Is Jane really the sensible cousin?
Jane is definitely more sensible than Amy because she thinks before she reacts but she is definitely not the quiet, demure, girl of the early 19th century either.  She is definitely an adventurous woman.  She just thinks before she jumps were Amy didn't think she just ran first and got lucky that she didn't make more mistakes than she did.


7. By the end of the book do you think Amy considers herself English or French?
I think Amy thought of herself as English.  All her actions were against the french, she even denied her ability to speak french.  At the end she was going home with her family - home being England and her family Richard's family. 


8.  Although much of the story revolves around Amy and Richard, much of their tale takes place in the company of others.  Do you feel the presence of secondary characters adds or detracts from Amy and Richard's love story?  Does the ensemble cast steal the show?
I think the secondary characters add to the love story as they help give us a clue to who Richard and Amy are and how they do fit well together and that their love is realistic.  I loved the ensemble cast and I don't think they stole the show at all.  I think it was a well rounded story giving the correct attention to the characters as needed.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I plan on going over this-it's just been so long since I read the book-I have to remember it.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 249
Back To Top

What a great book.  I really enjoyed it.