Publish Date: February 16th 2012
Format: Hardcover 400pp
Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"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."
Emma Delagardie and Augustus Whittlesby are two people who would never dream of associating on a social level, for she is too flirty and he is too overzealous in his poetry and character. But when they are suddenly thrown together in order to produce a masque for the Bonaparte family, they suddenly discover that their appearances could merely be a means of running away from reality. As they peel back the layers of their facade, they soon realize that there is much more to themselves, and life, than they thought possible. But alas, in a time of war and espionage nothing is as it seems and everything comes at a price. As Napoleon continues to rise in power, so does the threat of his invasion on England soil. In a battle of time and wits, Emma and Augustus must determine where certain loyalties lie in order to thwart the Emperor's dastardly plan to create a weapon of great destruction which will ensure victory for his future conquests.
I greatly enjoyed the glimpses of Augustus Whittlesby in The Orchid Affair, so when I discovered he was to be a main character in The Garden Intrigue I could not have been more elated. To see a charming man beyond that flamboyant character was a real treat; he was so life-like that, like Turnip from The Mischief of the Mistletoe, I felt as if he was telling me his tale in person.
Being the 9th book in the Pink Carnation series it is amazing that the series hasn't lost one bit of its compelling attributes. Although this one did not have as many plot twists, it never lacked for intrigue or a fast paced plot. In fact, once Emma and Augustus's story came to a close I found myself wanting it to go on for another hundred pages. It seems there is no limit to Lauren Willig's wit and enchanting prose, so it is no wonder that I am already eagerly awaiting the next Pink Carnation escapade.
Copyright © 2012 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.