The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

Eloise Kelly is a Harvard graduate student working on her history dissertation. Her biggest desire is to discover the identity of The Pink Carnation, an English spy during the 19th century Napoleanic wars. Eloise gets her wish as she is given the opportunity to study a family’s collection of letters kept secret.

The letters feature Amy Balcourt, exiled to rural England as a young girl, she’s always dreamed of going back to France to help The Scarlet Pimpernel and Purple Gentian to avenge her father’s death.

Leading us, along with Eloise, Amy takes us from England across the channel to France on the adventure and love of a lifetime.

Historical fiction has never before been this fun and entertaining! A book within a book, Eloise guides us on her journey to discover who The Pink Carnation was through Amy. Just when the pouf of the Napoleanic grows wearisome, Eloise takes over for a while.

The physical humor had me giggling out loud. The characters do ludicrous things, make silly mistakes and say ridiculous things. Not what I expected, but was so pleased at the book being so unexpectedly funny.

The character of Amy Balcourt is a firecracker. Her tenaciousness, intelligence and wrecklessness made her charming and unforgettable. I’ve never enjoyed 19th century France before Amy. Her romance with Richard and the Purple Gentian was frought with humor and unpredictability.

Richard was the perfect dashing hero. Unadulterated, but tarnished just enough to make him loveable and sigh-worthy. I cheered for him all the way as he did his best to win Amy over.

Even the supporting characters are complex and nearly as interesting as Amy and Richard and become even more so as the story progresses.

More than just historical fiction, more than romance, more than espionage and suspense, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION shakes up the genres for a fantastic blend that has something for everyone.

The first in a series by Lauren Willig, I look forward to the next installment! I highly recommend THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION.

Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques


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