The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My teenaged daughter borrowed this historical romance from a friend and pronounced it awesome. I like a good (awesome is even better) historical romance, so I decided to read it myself. This isn’t the genre I generally reach for to quench my word-thirst, but if it’s awesome I can’t pass it up.
Was it awesome? Yes. Yes it was. Imagine, if you will, England in the spring of 1803. Okay, I can’t imagine it either, but you won’t need to. Willig sets the scenes beautifully, but never lets the landscape overtake the plot. Her characters are just as delightful. The main heroine is absolutely delicious. I love her personality. She’s full of strength and weakness, courage and trepidation, purposefulness and utter distraction. Willig’s ability to give the reader such in-depth knowledge of Amy Balcourt is what draws you in. Not to be overshadowed by the heroine, the hero, Lord Richard Selwick, is quite the mixture himself. Strong and confident, but completely confounded by this unexpected woman.
Other characters are just as intriguing and well detailed. I adored Miss Gwen and her fine cane. You’ll love her too when you read this book.
Oh… and there’s another story going on while you read about Richard and Amy. Modern day Eloise is writing her dissertation. She’s in England chasing the Pink Carnation by way of digging into the past of the Purple Gentian. Rummaging through old papers and spending days inside library dungeon-esque basements, her determination to unravel the mystery is contagious.
Even if you don’t usually go for historical romance, I think you’ll find this a rewarding read. Just think of it as a spy novel set in the past with some romance on the side.