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The Garden Intrigue
Pink Carnation Series, No 9
Lauren Willig

February 16, 2012 / ISBN: 0525952543
Historical Romance / France 1804 / Contemporary flash-forwards to 2004

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

The Garden Intrigue begins in Sussex, England (2004) with contemporary characters, Eloise and Colin. Eloise continues to research the Pink Carnation, who is actually rumored to be Colin's relative. The twist in this storyline is Colin's sister has disappeared, but the sister's hated ex-boyfriend has reappeared. He is employed by a company shooting movie scenes at the Selwick Manor. In the brief flashes to 2004 Eloise is usually reading the historical accounts of scenes the readers are actually reading. Readers are also able to catch up on Colin and Eloise's relationship.

France 1804. During this chapter of the Pink Carnation, Bonaparte is crowned Emperor and a message is received concerning a mechanical device and invading England. Readers are introduced to Augustus Whittlesby, seasoned spy trapped in the persona of a terrible poet. Augustus, the spy, is sent to observe and relay. He's in love with the cold and aloof Jane Wooliston. Jane introduces Augustus, the poet, to Emma Delagardie, an American widow with a past. Augustus discovers Emma knows the Bonaparts. She was recently invited to Malmaison, to write a Masque for Josephine. His strategy is to approach Emma as a fellow writer and go with her to Malmaison. The problem is Emma dislikes Augustus -- and his awful poetry. The two make it to Malmaison, along with some historical figures and a variety of spies. The stage is set and the garden is the scene of interest….

The Garden Intrigue is written with a variety of readers in mind. Humor is at the forefront, followed by romance and a bit of spying… The characters are delightful; my favorite being Augustus, the spy. The Bonapartes as well as Robert Livingston, Robert Fulton, make an appearance. It's an entertaining read but if you really want to get to know the main characters, it's best to start at beginning of this series.

I've noticed The Pink Carnation series has been multi-listed over the years - historical fiction, historical romance and historical mystery. The author refers to herself as an historical romance author. I've read some of this series and found romance leads even in the spying scenes. There is plenty of historical intrigue, true, but with the constant return of the 2004 couple it can't be considered a true historical mystery. But no matter the label The Pink Carnation series has something for everyone.

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]

Reviewed 2012
© 2012