Monday, March 12

Book Review: The Garden Intrigue

Author:  Lauren Willig
Title: The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation series #9)
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Romance 

Pages: 388

First Published: February 16th, 2012
Where I Got It: Bought from 

"In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig's bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon's invasion of England.

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."
This is the 9th book of the Pink Carnation series and I feel like a I could read 100 more! I simply love Lauren Willig's world of espionage, drama, romance, and action. I would not recommend reading this if you haven't read at least the first book, there are lot of points that require back story (mostly Eloise's story). 
When I first heard Augustus's name mentioned in an earlier novel and winced at his attempt at poetry, I hoped Augustus would get his own book. When Lauren Willig released that the poet/spy would be getting his own book I "huzzahed" and threw my hands in the air. Lucky for one seen me, because I was at the safety of my own home. I'm smiling from ear to ear, because this 9th book has kept up my expectations. 
I really loved how slowly Augustus and Emma fell in love. It didn't occur right away and I loved it. Emma and Augustus teamed up to make a masque for the French court for selfish reasons. Augustus, being a spy, wanted access to Malmaison so he could get close to the top-secret device that was going to be demonstrated there; whilst Madame Emma needs this "silly" poet to help delay the decision to stay in France or move back home with her cousin. Slowly, but surely (it is a romance, duh) feel in love. However, at points near the end their love did seem a little rushed. The transition between "crushing" to "deeply in love" was a little sloppy and forced. Not all love stories are organized, so I'm pretty okay with how Lauren Willig made that last transition. 
Emma, the American, was a wonderful character. I could really relate to her! Lauren Willig made Emma one complex character. I feel like Emma is one of the most complex of Lauren's characters (besides for Lord Vaughn).  
Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Eloise and Collin story (the modern part of the book), but this chunk of their story was entertaining. At the slow points of the Emma/Augustus story, I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen with Eloise and Collin. I'm VERY interested to see what will be coming up next, because Ms. Willig left a pretty big cliff-hanger at the end of there story. Oooooh darn you! ^.^
Anyways, like I mentioned I found that there were a lot of dry spots in Emma's and Augustus's story. Unlike the other novels, there was a huge lack of drama and action in this one. This took me the longest to read out of all the over Pink books. Perhaps it was meant to be a little slow, buuuut I don't know. 
Besides for the very slow and dull parts I really liked this book! I even highly enjoyed the Eloise/Collin story! I'm even beginning to like Collin. Lauren Willig continues to write fantastic novels and I'm pretending that the series will never end. She could write 100 more of these and I would probably still be able to read more. I would recommend this to those who love historical fiction novels and for those that love having a little bit of spy/espionage in their reading. Out of five starts, I must give this 4 stars.
PS - I miss the old covers! I hate these new ones! Bring back the good ol' classic ones! That is all. 

Favorite Character(s): Emma, Augustus, Miss Gwen (oooooh, she's a hoot), and Jane 
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Marston (I just wanted him to be eaten by the wave machine)


Blodeuedd said...

I really want to try a book by her one day..well book 1 ;)

Carole Rae said...

^.^ You'll love her. The first one isn't my favorite, but it's good. The second one is what got me addicted.