Saturday, October 18

Book Review: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

Author: Lauren Willig
Title: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation series #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Action, and drama
Pages: 428
First Published: 2004
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Amazon)

"Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard's Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon's invasion.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation's identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?"
This is my third time reading this book and I feel like I can read it a million times over again. Why did I decide to read this again? Well, one it had been a couple years and I had to choose something for my turn in the book club I am in. The one book I wanted to read is a hard book to find, so I decided to pick this one. :)
I just simply love Lauren Willig's writing style. She does use 3rd POV, but she uses it splendidly and I feel so connected to the characters. She brings both the late 1990s and the 1800s to life. She also does a good job weaving the two different timelines together. It never seems choppy or out of place. 

I shall be honest....I'm not the biggest fan of Eloise's story, but I am biased because I love Historical Fiction WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more then contemporary/modern. Plus I'm not a big fan of Collin in this book, he gets better by the second book. This one though...ugh...he is a big ol' British snotball. At least Eloise doesn't let him scare her, because dammit she has a paper to do! 

Ugh Amy. Okay....she's not baaaaaaaaaad, but she does get frustrating at times. Her head is too far in the clouds to be a good spy. It's not her fault that she is a dreamer, because she was pulled from the busy city of Paris to sheepville when she was a child, so her mind wondered. Another frustrating thing is that she is thick...very thick. How on Earth did you NOT realize that Richard is the Purple Gentian? Honestly. I get after the first meeting you're not going to realize it, but after the third...maybe fourth? Really? Honestly? Sighs and see? She would make a horrid spy. 

I love Jane and Miss Gwen. :3 I can't wait for Jane's book! Her's is the finale of the series and I'm giddy as all heck for that book - even though I shall weep since it is the last book.

Okay, I could honestly ramble on and on about how much I enjoy this book and this series, so I shall stop now. The first book is really good, but I find the second and third are my favorite. Since I don't have reviews for the majority of the series, I might make it a goal to read them throughout maybe this year and next year.  

In the end, I really like this book. It's a great way to kickoff a fantastic series! I recommend this to anyone who likes Historical Fiction mixed with contemporary and spies. :D Out of five stars, I shall keep this at 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Richard (the first read through I didn't like him much, but with this time and the last I'm starting to really like him), Miss Gwen, Jane, and Geoff
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Amy (she just is frustrating and thick), Colin (but he does get better), George (ugh, snake), and Pauline (>____>)