Synopses & Reviews
A dangerous ring of spies, a game of mistaken identities, and a heartwarming romance of unlikely pairs.
Lauren Willig's debut The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, appeared on retailer bestseller lists in hardcover and made a big splash in sales in trade paperback. Her second book, The Masque of the Black Tulip, was selected as a BookSense Pick for January 2006, and continue to rack up incredible reviews. Lauren Willig's passion for authentic historical detail coupled with her talent for enthralling love stories make her series the perfect read for lovers of romance, history and adventure.
The year is 1803 and England and France remain at odds. Hoping to
break the English once and for all, Napoleon backs a ring of Irish
rebels in uprisings against England and sends the Black Tulip,
France's most deadly spy, to the Emerald Isle to help. What they
don't know is that also in Ireland is England's top spy,
the Pink Carnation, who is working to shut the rebels down. Meanwhile,
back in England, Letty Alsworthy intercepts a note indicating that her
sister, Mary, is about to make the very grave mistake of eloping with
Geoffrey Pinghingdale-Snipe (second in command of the League of the
Purple Gentian). In an attempt to save the family name, Letty tries to
stop the elopement, but instead finds herself swept away in the
midnight carriage meant for her sister and is accidentally compromised.
Geoff and Letty, to each other's horror, find themselves forced
into matrimony. Then, Geoff receives word that he is to travel to
Ireland to help the Pink Carnation and disappears immediately after
their wedding ceremony. Letty learns of Geoff's disappearance
and, not to be outdone by her husband, steals away on a ship bound for
Ireland, armed and ready to fight for her husband...and to learn a thing or two about spying for England.
As in her previous tales, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque Of the Black Tulip,
our modern-day heroine and hero, Eloise Kelly and Colin Selwick,
continue their budding romance in this captivating third novel in the
"Harvard Ph.D. candidate Eloise Kelly continues her research of early 19th-century spies in the smart third book of the Pink Carnation series, following the well-received The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque of the Black Tulip. This installment focuses on 19-year-old Letty Alsworthy, who, after a comedy of errors, quickly weds Lord Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, her older sister's intended. Geoffrey, an officer in the League of the Purple Gentian, flees to Ireland the night of his elopement. Unbeknownst to Letty, his plan isn't to abandon her; it's to quash the impending Irish Rebellion. When Letty tracks down her prodigal husband in Dublin, not only does she learn of his secret life as a spy, she's sucked into it with hilarious results. Willig like Eloise, a Ph.D. candidate in history draws on her knowledge of the period, filling the fast-paced narrative with mistaken identities, double agents and high stakes espionage. Every few chapters, the reader is brought back to contemporary London, where Eloise gets out of the archives long enough to nurse her continuing crush on Colin Selwick. The Eloise and Colin plot distracts from the main attraction, but the historic action is taut and twisting. Fans of the series will clamor for more." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Willig's latest is riveting, providing a great diversion and lots of fun." Booklist
"[L]ittle more than a sorry chick-lit beach read." Library Journal
"Heaving bodices, embellished history and witty dialogue: What more could you ask for?" Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of the series will enjoy the latest Pink Carnation adventure. A confection of chick lit and historical fiction, it's like a tasty dessert. Consume it quickly for a sweet treat." USA Today
A continuation of the popular series that began with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque of the Black Tulip pits the top spies of England and France against one another in 1803 Ireland, while Letty Alsworthy finds herself forcibly married to her sister's undesirable fianc.
Mistaken identities and surprise romance provide the backdrop to the third novel of Willig's successful Pink Carnation series, "clever, playful tales [that] wrap historical romance inside contemporary chick-lit" (Detroit Free Press).
Eloise Kelly has gotten into quite a bit of trouble since she started spying on the Pink Carnation and the Black Tulip-two of the deadliest spies to saunter the streets of nineteenth-century England and France.
Not only has she unearthed secrets that will rearrange history, she's dallied with Colin Selwick and sought out a romantic adventure all her own. Little does she know that she's about to uncover another fierce heroine running headlong into history.
About the Author
A native of New York City, Lauren Willig has been writing romances ever since she got her hands on her first romance novel at the age of six. She received her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Currently, she is a humble first-year associate in litigation at a New York law firm, where she does her best to keep handsome rogues and heaving bosoms out of her legal memos.
Reading Group Guide
1. What did you think of the author's use of dual settingsmodern-day London and nineteenth-century England and Irelandin The Deception of the Emerald Ring?
2. What was your opinion of Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe at the beginning of the book? How did it change as the novel progressed?
3. How are Eloise Kelly and Letty Alsworthy's stories similar? Does Eloise learn from LettyÕs experiences in any way?
4. "Every instinct he possessed screamed that Letty Alsworthy was lying" (page 39). What evidence led Geoff to his conclusion that Letty was trying to dupe him into marriage? Even though he felt this way, why did he stay with her?
5. "Geoff dragged his mind away from his own difficulties and onto England's" (page 60). What explains Geoff's vocation as a spy? Do you think he made a good one?
6. After Geoff treats her badly at their wedding reception, Letty still follows him as he abruptly leaves for Ireland. Why did she follow him?
7. When Jane's relationship with Lord Vaughn is revealed, did it come as a surprise? Did you believe he was on England's side? Do you think that Vaughn killed the Marquise?
8. Discuss the growing romances between Geoff and Letty, and Eloise and Colin Selwick. Are there any parallels between the two relationships?
9. In Chapter Eight, Eloise muses to herself, "There's nothing so attractive as a blank slate" (page 100). Do you agree with this sentiment?
10. What did you think of Geoff's cousin, Captain Jasper Pinchingdale? Did you consider him a buffoon at first, or a more sinister character? Did you think he would actually try to harm Letty?
11. Are there any similarities between Geoff and Eloise? Between Colin and Letty? If so, what are they?
12. What are some examples of the characters' deception of one another? How does deception serve a purpose in the novel?
13. Almost all the characters in the novel seem to be hiding something, whether it's their true identities, their genders, their real feelings, or something else. Discuss some examples of how different kinds of "disguises" are used throughout the book.
14. Of the many colorful characters in the book, which one or ones stood out for you? Why?
15. What does the book's title mean?