The Secret History of the Pink Carnation


Author: Willig, Lauren

Title: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

Genre: Romance, Romantic suspense

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 386

Geographical Setting: England/France

Plot Summary: Elioise Kelly has come to England with the goal of discovering the true identity of the Pink Carnation, a British spy who lived during the era of Napoleonic France, for her Ph.D. dissertation.  When she is given access to private family papers by Arabella Selwick-Anderly, the descendant of another spy, the Purple Gentian, she not only begins to unravel the mystery of the Pink Carnation but also is introduced to Arabella’s handsome nephew, Colin Selwick. The bulk of this story focuses on Amy Balcourt, a woman whose existence Eloise learns of from Arabella’s papers, and her relationship with Lord Richard Selwick. Amy has gone to France to join her brother with the hopes of joining with the Purple Gentian as a spy. She meets Richard, the Purple Gentian himself, and feels drawn to him. The two share interesting encounters but since he can’t reveal his true identity to her, the two have quite a few misunderstandings and mishaps. Amy and Elioise’s stories are intertwined throughout this book; both woman are looking for a hero and find men whose complexities make for a fun read.

Subject Headings: secret identity, women spies, Napoleonic wars, London, France, letter writing, women graduate students, romantic suspense

Appeal: emotional, easy, dramatic, series characters, strong secondary characters, intriguing, steamy, sensual, sexually explicit, character-centered, detailed setting, historical details, accessible, romantic, playful, lighthearted, romp, witty

Similar Fiction Authors & Works: The Spy Wore Silk by Andrea Pickens (intrigue, detailed setting, romantic, character-centered), The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne (romantic, historical details, impending danger, witty), Petals In The Storm by Mary Jo Putney(romantic, intrigue, sensual)

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors & Works: The Man Who Broke Napoleon’s Codes by Mark Urban (An account of the man who broke Napoleon’s codes and aided in British victories. For those readers who want to know more about real spies.), The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Spy by Kenneth R. Johnson (True story of beloved romantic poet who was actually a spy.), Napoleonic War Stories – Tales of Soldiers, Spies, Battles & Sieges from the Peninsular & Waterloo Campaigns by Sir, Arthur Quiller-Couch (more information for those interested in the time period, including information about spies)

Name: Sarah





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