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The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

By Lauren Willig

   The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is a reader's hot fudge sundae-cool chick-lit topped with warm, sweet historical romance.

   Eloise Kelly is on a mission. For her dissertation, she is determined to unmask the Scarlet Pimpernel's successors: the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation. In order to uncover what Napoleon's government failed, she must elbow her way into the life of the keeper of the archives, Colin Selwick.

    Through diaries and letters, Eloise learns about Amy Balcourt, daughter of French aristocracy, who survived Madame Guillotine by living with English relatives. She plans to avenge her father's death by joining the League of the Purple Gentian, England's most prolific spy since the Scarlet Pimpernel.

     Lord Richard Selwick's work as Napoleon's expert on Egyptian antiquities provides unlimited access to Napoleon's inner circle-and the perfect cover for an English spy. The Purple Gentian has no time for personal entanglements, especially since an earlier affair led to a friend's death, but perhaps Lord Richard does.

    Miscommunications, intrigue and danger follow their every step along the road to love. Will Amy fulfill her aspirations to become the Pink Carnation? Will the Purple Gentian thwart France's plan to invade England? Will Richard and Amy survive long enough to declare their love? Only readers of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation will know for certain.

    Ms. Willig has penned an exquisite blend of contemporary and historical romance. The author has used point of view to her advantage; Eloise and Colin's story is written in first person and Amy and Richard's is written in third, though the transitions could be smoother. Her excellent storytelling might leave readers wondering where fact ends and fantasy begins. Superior characterizations compel a gamut of emotions; pulse-quickening adventure, heart-wrenching tenderness and laugh out loud comedy--don't miss the scene in which Richard is jealous--over himself! Miss Gwen, Amy's chaperone, is a pip, too! The author loses a few points for leaving Eloise and Colin in the lurch, but if she writes a sequel, I'll be the first in line to buy it. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation definitely deserves an "A".

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, No 1  [review 1] [review 2]
The Masque of the Black Tulip, No 2    [review]
Seduction of the Crimson Rose, No 4    [review]
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, No 5  [review]
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, No 6  [review]
The Mischief of the Mistletoe, No 7  [Audio]   [Book]
The Orchid Affair, No 8   [review]
The Garden Intrigue, No 9   [review]

The Book

February 3, 2005
Historical / Mystery / Romance
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The Reviewer

Lynda E. Lukow
Reviewed 2005
© 2005