The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig

Title: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
Author: Lauren Willig
Length: 434 pages
Published in: 2013
Genre: historical fiction/romance/mystery
ISBN: 9780451414724
Source: borrowed from library
Reason for Reading: This is the 10th book in a series I’ve been reading since its conception.
Rating: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads):

Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed in an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates.

Having served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England’s most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she’s just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation’s little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl’s disappearance.

Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen’s partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls…

My Thoughts: I found this installment to be quite similar to pretty much all nine of the previous Pink Carnation books. Given that much doesn’t change in the way of the major points in the stories from one book to the next–there’s always the girl, who eventually falls for a guy and ends up with him–I’m kind of at a loss for words as to why I still even enjoy the series. I think it probably has to be more because I enjoy novels set in a distant land and a distant time. I mean, I like all of Jane Austen’s books, too, and they all pretty much have the same plot, even if the problems that arise are different. I’m sure that at some point I will become bored with the series, at least if nothing changes–I know we all like happy endings, but maybe an ending where the heroine and her gallant gentleman DON’T end up together would be just enough to entice me. (As the books are set in the Regency era, it’s obviously quite scandalous when sexual things come into play, and maybe that’s why they always end up together–shocking enough a “lady” in 1805 could even consider being impure out of wedlock, but even moreso if they didn’t end up married!!)

One thing I quite enjoyed happened within the first few pages of the book, in which the author made a reference to one of my favorite films, The Princess Bride. She referred to a person long ago being similar to a “Napoleonic-era Dread Pirate Roberts”. The movie has been a favorite of mine for over 15 years now, so I find it funny that, as it randomly has gained more popularity in the last couple of years, references to it pop up willy nilly.

Blast from the Past: Deception of the Emerald Ring

The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig
February 23-27, 2007–387 pages–fiction (England, Ireland) /mystery/adventure/history/chick-lit

I loved this! I love how Willig can take the same basic plot and use new characters and circumstances to make each of her novels different enough to stay away from redundancy but keep it so you can see why it’s a series! This novel was the most amusing because of all the events happening between Letty and everyone else. I like how the Black Tulip was still in this because it made it more exciting. This was the novel about Letty trying to stop her older sister from eloping with Geoff Pichingdale which “pushes” him to marry her (Letty) instead. They crack me up for fighting all the time, but I definitely liked when they realized their feelings had changed. I can’t wait for the fourth novel to come out!

“Patience is only a virtue when there’s something worth waiting for.” Letty p132


Blast from the Past is a weekly post I write that focuses on a book I read long before I ever had a blog about books. While I didn’t “book blog” until a couple of years ago, I’ve kept a reading journal of sorts for about 6 years. Blast from the Past is essentially just my way of digitalizing my old book journals–and reminding me what I thought of books long since read. I think it will be a fun way to look at how my reading selections have changed and what I like most in the books I read.

Blast from the Past: The Masque of the Black Tulip

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
1/4-18/2007–425 pages–fiction/mystery/adventure/history/chick-lit
Bought December 14, 2006 from Walden’s

December 5, 2007 (thru Ch. 8)—Okay, I wanna make a prediction for who the Black Tulip is. Well, kind of. Lord Vaughn is an obvious suspect because of his servant/enemy’s death and he comes back to London around the same time the BT comes. Too obvious to be him. Then there’s the Marquise de Montval, the one @ Almack’s trying to seduce Miles, as another obvious choice. She’s decked out in black and Willig even describes her as “exotic as a tulip in a field of primroses.” But I think it’s too obvious to be her too. I feel they’re working for the BT, esp. after the letter Jane finds saying for BT to get Miles (the Marquise) and Henrietta (Lord Vaughn) by any methods. I think they’re just in the league of the BT, neither actually him.

Okay, so after about a week of not reading I read the last half in about 5 hours. I was wrong thinking the Black Tulip wasn’t the Marquise, but I was right thinking it wasn’t Vaughn. The way Henrietta and Miles ended up together, practically eloping, did surprise me. The romance was quick and to the point, unlike Richard’s and Amy’s but I would’ve been bored if it was the exact same. (I didn’t like the chapters with Eloise and Colin at all in this book, probably because they haven’t got together and I think they should.) I think it’s a good thing Willig chose different characters to follow in this book because, while I like Amy and Richard, the redundant characters wouldn’t have done good for the book. I do like how the Marquise was stupid and thought Turnip Fitzhugh was the PC. How wrong she was.

PS- Gonna take a break before reading Willig’s 3rd in the series. Can have too much of a good thing, like with Austen.


Blast from the Past is a weekly post I write that focuses on a book I read long before I ever had a blog about books. While I didn’t “book blog” until a couple of years ago, I’ve kept a reading journal of sorts for about 6 years. Blast from the Past is essentially just my way of digitalizing my old book journals–and reminding me what I thought of books long since read. I think it will be a fun way to look at how my reading selections have changed and what I like most in the books I read.

Blast from the Past: Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
1/1/2007-1/3/2007–428 pages–fiction/mystery/adventure/chick-lit/history
Bought from Waldenbooks, December 26, 2006

Well, I’m still reading this and I’ll probably finish it later. But I just wanted to sort of predict who I think is the Pink Carnation. Of course, my first thought was that it’s Amy when Lord Richard finally lets her join the league. But then I thought, maybe it’s Miss Gwen. I don’t really know why I think it could be her, but she is a spinster lady and Richard keeps mentioning how spies really need to be single. Plus, I just read the part when Amy finally figured out that Richard was the Purple Gentian. Miss Gwen had known for awhile I guess, and even Jane figured it out first. But maybe Miss Gwen didn’t figure it out but rather knew it all along. I’m really not sure who the Pink Carnation is, but I’m growing more curious by the page.

I just finished the book about five minutes ago and I love it! It’s not really well written like some books I’ve read, but it was light and entertaining and God knows we all need a book like that once in awhile. I really did love the plot and everything. I was sort of right about my predictions as to who the Pink Carnation was because Amy and Miss Gwen both did start the league of the PC even if it was Jane who ended up keeping the title and pursuing the dream. I can’t believe Eloise thought the PC would be a man. I definitely thought it was a woman the whole time. It think the author should’ve written it all set back in 1803 England/France rather than have Eloise with a frumpy/unrealistic (in my mind) idea for a dissertation. It would’ve been better without those present day parts, but I still love the book. On to the sequel…

“Infatuation is not even a poor cousin of love.” (p264)

“To the male mind, female plus bedroom equals just one thing.” (p269)

“You don’t think she lived happily ever after?
That’s an ending for books, not for people.
What are books about, if not people?” (p289)

“Mother, would you stop flirting with Father for a moment and listen?
“I never stop flirting with your father. That’s why we have such a happy marriage. And I hope that all of you find spouses with home you can happily flirt for the rest of your lives.” (p318)


Blast from the Past is a weekly post I write that focuses on a book I read long before I ever had a blog about books. While I didn’t “book blog” until a couple of years ago, I’ve kept a reading journal of sorts for about 6 years. Blast from the Past is essentially just my way of digitalizing my old book journals–and reminding me what I thought of books long since read. I think it will be a fun way to look at how my reading selections have changed and what I like most in the books I read.

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

Title: The Garden Intrigue
Author: Lauren Willig
Length: 388 pages
Published in: 2012
Genre: historical fiction/romance
ISBN: 9780525952541
personal collection
Reason for Reading: 
Copyright 2012 Resolution
Rating: 3/5

Summary (from book jacket):

Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can’t bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.

New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus’s side. An old school friend of Napoleon’s stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus’s poetry.

As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment.

Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She’ll do anything to postpone the decision-even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte’s house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted- especially Augustus’s feelings for Emma.

My Thoughts: Seeing as neither Emma or Augustus really feature–or are even mentioned–in the previous books, I was mostly uninterested. In the first book there were Amy and Richard. Then next came Henrietta, Richard’s sister, and Miles, Richard’s best friend. Then came Letty and Geoffrey, who works with Richard. But the further along the series goes, the less association there is between characters. Now there is hardly a series, but rather a collection of standalone novels that always have the same plot. That plot being fairy simple–girl and guy who have no interest in each other in the beginning of the story are, by the end, madly in love. I’m all for happy endings, but I feel like after the 9th book in a series, you can’t just change names, dates, and places and have a very interesting story.

But recently Willig has published a book that has nothing to do with the Pink series, Two L, and is currently writing another, The Ashford Affair. So I think I may have to branch out from the Pink books so I don’t begin to dislike the author because of the repetitive plot.

Copyright 2012 Resolution

Ivy and Intrigue–A Very Selwick Christmas by Lauren Willig

TitleIvy and Intrigue–A Very Selwick Christmas
Author: Lauren Willig
Genre: fiction, chick lit
ISBN: 9781466213098
Length: 106 pages
Published: 2011
Source: personal collection
Rating: 4/5
Challenges/Resolutions: Personal Collection Resolution 2012

Reason for Reading: Willig self-published this novella, which supposedly takes place after the first book of the Pink Carnation series. But, because of character marriages–there is basically a marriage per book–I can tell you that it actually happens after the second book, The Masque of the Black Tulip. I read it because it is part of a series I love, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Summary (I’m writing this myself and I’ve never been good at summarizing without spoiling, so I apologize in advance):
It’s Christmas at Uppington Hall, historic seat of the Marquess of Uppington, aka Richard Selwick’s mother. Amy and Richard are newlyweds and still learning about one another. Richard feels Amy wishes she’d had more than a few months of espionage experience in France prior to their marriage–and he’s right. But as soon as he offers to let Amy go across the Channel by herself to live the life of a spy, she changes her mind. She’d rather be with him, not spying, than to be away from him, spying. On the side, Richard’s first love, Dierdre, is at Uppington with her mother for the Christmas festivities. Both Amy and Richard are uncomfortable with Dierdre there, but it just so happens they would not have found out she was in league with French spies.

My Thoughts: I liked this book, which was essentially a shorter version of a regular Pink Carnation novel. The quality of the book was not the best, as it was self-published–there were probably ten missing words throughout the book. But I don’t think that detracted from the quality of the story. There was less excitement in the historic parts of the book because it was so short and there wasn’t really a whole lot of gallivanting around, hunting down foreign spies. Similarly, there was less depth to the story because of its quick pace. These two things are the reason I gave it a 4/5 instead of a 5/5–probably a little harsh, since I compared it to a full length novel. But, on the other hand, I don’t think I would’ve found it all that interesting if I’d not read any of the Pink Carnation books.

more Pink Carnation cover art :o/

This is the cover of Lauren Willig’s next installment of the Pink Carnation series, The Garden Intrigue, due out in February. The past installment had a cover similar to this one, which was a great leap from the first seven books. I have to say that I’m pleased with the new cover, as much as can be possible considering how much I liked the first trend of cover art. But this time around I realize I don’t exactly care for the way the title is presented. The first books were titled thusly: The Secret History OF the Pink Carnation, The Masque OF the Black Tulip, you get it (the “Something OF the Something”). But the last book was The Orchid Affair and this is The Garden Intrigue. But I much prefer The Affair of the Orchid or The Intrigue of the Garden. Regardless of cover or title, I’m sure the book will be excellent. It only looks a little romance novel-y 🙂

Here are a few links to my posts about the previous cover(s) of this series and my feelings about them:


petition for cover change?

i am very unhappy about this cover :o(