Saturday, October 23, 2010


I have heard this before about this series, you either love it or hate it and I LOVED it! I cam e to a realization while reading this, my problem with Jane Austen stylized books is the dialect. I dislike it because it just makes me go blank for some reason and not retain a single word of it. Lauren Willig is about as close to Austen style as I can get besides Georgette Heyer.

Lauren’s leading lady this round is the half French half English beauty Amy Balcourt. When Amy was a child her mother and she went to visit her mother side of the family in England. The women left behind her father and her older brother. Sadly Amy would never see her father alive again and her mother would pass not too far after her father from a broken heart. Amy spent her childhood dreaming up spy stories because it all started with her hearing the daring tales of the English spy the “Scarlet Pimpernel”. The scarlet pimpernel’s specialty was infiltrating the French prisons and spiriting away the tragically imprisoned nobility of France during the revolution.

As Amy grew up in her the English countryside with her family she became more elaborate in her plotting and already had determined her sole objective in life was revenge on the new French government for sending her father to Madame Guillotine. Since Amy’s brother had survived the worst of the revolution and as she grew things in France had kind of calmed down. Amy with the help of her loyal cousin Jane Wooliston had finessed themselves a way to visit France but that entailed a chaperon in the form of the parasol heat packing neighbor Miss Gwendolyn Meadows. It was hilarious that Miss Gwendolyn used her parasol as a weapon against all kinds of follies especially out spoken men in her pathway. With chaperon in tow and permission to leave for abroad the girls were off and in France the girls had a few ideas’ on what they were going to do there. The end goal was to find the newest masked spy “The Purple Gentian” and get in league with him to over throw the new government. That was the plan... but like Amy, Eloise who was reading Amy’s journal in present times, nothing ever went as planned.

One aspect of this novel that made me hold back from the beginning was that it is two stories in one. Present day with Eloise Kelly is in England and is absolutely determined to finish her dissertation for school. After sending a barrage of letters to well know families in the area it was Selwick hall that invited her to come and peek at their documents. What secret history lay in the 18Th century chest in Selwick hall?

5/5 I loved this one and I am kind of sad that I did not read this sooner. I want them all now and must have them ASAP. For me it was a hot, action packed austenesque read. My goodness that purple gentian was about as sexy as it gets besides William Marshal. I must recommend this one to all who love the quirky twists that Jane Austen specializes in. I really loved Amy she was so stubborn it really made me laugh. A sexy classy must read for sure.

FTC-this book was sent to me by the publisher.
R-Rating Sexual references done in humor and good taste.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
The Masque of the Black Tulip 
The Deception of the Emerald Ring
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily
The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas 
The Orchid Affair

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  1. I loved this one too!! I'm glad you got a chance to read it :)

  2. Thank you for the review and a very many thanks for the links to the other books by the same author.

  3. So glad you loved this book! I fell in love with the series years ago and am now so excited to read them all again :)

  4. Carrie, I LOVED it too! By far best regency era read I have read to date, even if it was mostly in France.

    Mystica, you are going to love me then after the first of the year. I have got a big Lauren Willig surprise for everyone. I can not wait to tell you all about it but I am still working out all the details. Soon I promise. I love her other covers they are so so pretty. I must have them all.

    Svea, hehe a book well worth reading over again. Great minds think alike and this one was such a pleasure. I really need to read the other ones.


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