Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: The Betrayal of the Blood Lily - 6th in the Pink Carnation series
Author: Lauren Willig
Release Date: January 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Fiction
Year/Setting: February 2004, England and 19th Century India
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal (swords/muskets/etc.)
Lauren's Website/Blog: www.laurenwillig.com
I have had the honor of reading all the books in this wonderful series, so I was absolutely ecstatic to see this sixth book from Lauren Willig’s historical "brain" come to my mailbox.
We have two heroines in this wonderful book. On the first page we meet Eloise. Eloise is a grad student who is working on her dissertation at the British Library. She is dating Colin, a man whose family had a mysterious past that involved the world of spies. Eloise is studying all about spies in various wars – currently working on the era of the Napoleonic War. Not only is she trying to finish her paper, but she’s also attempting to figure out if the relationship between she and Colin is "forever," and, at the same time, set up Colin’s sister Serena with a man. Serena, who looks like one of those magazine-thin models, needs a boyfriend so she won’t be such an albatross around her brother’s neck. As we meet Eloise and watch her try to set up Serena with a man she has no interest in, the conversation turns to the subject that dominates Eloise's life. While working on trying to track down spy networks in England and France throughout history, she comes across a French spy network that was based in India – a spy ring that, oddly enough, is somehow tied to her boyfriend’s family. And the story begins….
We are brought on board ship with Penelope Deveraux, and we meet up with her her charm and wit on the very first page. She is what the English call a "ruined" woman, who was "found" in an unsupervised, private room with Frederick Staines. Because of the never-ending - and completely untrue - gossip, Penelope is now the Lady Frederick Staines and she is headed to India; literally she has become a cast-off so that her "wild" ways needn’t embarrass her family anymore.
Now, Freddy Staines is a semi-nice man, but a complete oaf to the extreme. He has been appointed by Lord Wellesley to spy on a man who is running English interests in India. There is something fishy afoot and Freddy has been commissioned to find out exactly what that "fishy: thing is. However, Freddy is not really cut out for "spy-dom." All he seems to care about are cards and how to lose as much of Penelope’s dowry as possible.
Along their journey, they are met with a Captain by the name of Alex Reid; he has been assigned to cart Lord and Lady Staines through the gator-filled Calcutta jungle to their destination. But Alex, of course, has secrets of his own.
This wonderful author throws us into a world that will unveil a mysterious spy who uses the name Marigold; a villain who is promising pieces of the treasure of Berar to anyone who is willing to rise up and bring down the English. I was enthralled by Captain Alex, whose family is completely immersed in this secret world. And I absolutely loved our heroine, Penelope. This is a "lady to the manor born" who is able to throw herself into muddy water to save a stranger; and, shoot a cobra point-blank between the eyes – without losing her sense of humor or breaking a sweat.
I applaud Ms. Willig (again!) Her series of books would cause any reader to beg for a quiet house so that they could go to the amazing places she creates. To use the author’s own words, this book has, "dash, swash, and buckle," to the nines. Enjoy!
Until next time, Amy
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