Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Brazening Bindweed?

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily was the very first ARC I was approved for once I started my blog, back in the days before NetGalley it wasn't as easy as hitting a button on your computer screen "requesting" a title. My dream of Lauren Willig ARCs had come to fruition. Interestingly, me and The Betrayal of the Blood Lily had a little bit of a history, mainly I entered the competition on Lauren's website to name the book with ferocious zeal. While I will discuss my titular dreams at another time, I stumbled upon my list of title suggestions recently, and well, they are too hilarious not to share, and so not Penelope it's shame-making. I remember I actually researched plants native to India and harassed my friend Matt who knows a lot about flowers, and well, I have to say it, I'm glad none of my titles were ever considered and that book six will forever be The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, and not, say, The Shame of Sweet Orange.

And now I present my titles, with a precise of what this version of Pen's tale might have been:

The Proud Mantle of a Crown of Thorns: Wherein the culture clash of moving to India and a Hindu country leads Penelope to become a religious zealot and convert to Catholicism, martyring herself for her sins and letting Freddy do as he pleases while castigating herself for her feelings for Alex. There is a dramatic scene wherein Penelope applies a cilice to her body for the first time and she cries out in pain and religious ecstasy. She will eventually retire to a nunnery once Freddy dies.

The Sweat-Damped Indian Caper: A jewel heist involving the Jewels of Berar reminiscent of the "Pink Panther" movies, though far more moist as it's during the rainy season. It's zany, it's fun, and Peter Sellers plays the role of Penelope. This is not to be missed.

The Heralding of the Trumpet Vine: Penelope goes on raucous hunts and is the "easy" wife everyone assumes her to be, sinking further into degradation and depravity, but with a rictus grin playing on her lips. The title refers to the fact that she rides astride elephants while blowing a trumpet to announce her arrival, which makes her flamboyant personality well known to all in India, and the center of all gossip in the English set.

The Shame of Sweet Orange: Penelope is so chastened by her hasty marriage to Freddy and the sad divide between her and her dearest friends, Charlotte and Henrietta, that Penelope slowly becomes more and more demure, eventually disappearing to nothing more then a ghost in the house. She dies within the year, just wasting away to nothing. Charlotte and her Duke arrive to find a drunk and debauched Freddy laughing over the whole affair while Alex leads them to Penelope's final resting place, where sweet orange proliferates.

The Brazening Bindweed or the Bindweed Brazens it Out: Penelope realizes that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. She is brazen in a string of love affairs taking most of her husband's friends and colleagues to her bed, sometimes even their wives. She longs for a simpler life and she falls for Alex, but she will never stoop to being the chattel of one man ever again and continues her licentious life, leaving Alex as a sweet memory she could never have had.

The Ruin of Cupid’s Bower: Disillusioned by her marriage to Freddy, Penelope starts to become the sort of romantic that her friend Charlotte is, reading tomes of doomed love. When she discovers that Freddy is cheating on her she kills herself knowing that she was never worthy of love, especially that budding in the heart of Alex. In fact, her death might just have been a courageous act to save Alex.

The Forbearance of the English Daisy: Penelope arrives off the boat in India determined to make the best of a bad situation. She will put up with anything just to keep up appearances, even brushing Freddy's affairs under the rug. She's the perfect wife, throwing the best parties, having the strongest tea, and always having a shoulder to cry on for anyone in need of helpful advice. She eventually has a psychotic break in later years from all the strain of carrying on and not shattering the fragile illusion she has created of her life.

The Atonement of the Adder Mouthed Orchid: Penelope knows that she has to make up for the shame and disgrace that she has brought to her and Freddy's reputations. She tries her best to be the perfect wife but when a snake is found in her room she allows the snake to strike and the venom to work it's way into her body, knowing that this is the only true way she can atone for her sins.

As you can see, a different title totally conjures up a different story in my mind. Also, what was with all the religious imagery with thorns and atonement and shame? Seriously!?! I swear that this has nothing to do with those eight years of a Catholic education. I hope that this has at least entertained you as much as it did me writing it.


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