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The Secret History of the Pink Carnation – Lauren Willig June 12, 2007

Posted by reddlissa in Literary Journal.
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Another great novel on loan from a friend…Thanks MerrieB

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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?  [from barnesandnoble.com]

I simply could not put this book down!  I managed to read the entire novel in under 24 hours, which means I stayed awake until 2 in the morning, read most of the day, and DIDN’T play WoW…good grief  😀 In all seriousness, while the book had a few annoying and completely unrealistic moments (including Miss Gwen’s encounter with Bonaparte and Amy’s inability to immediately determine the true identity of the Purple Gentian), overall I found it very entertaining.  I know it had many historical inaccuracies but I didn’t go into it with the hope of reading a textbook — I wanted to read something light and semi-romantic that would be short escape from reality .  I found all 3 in this delightful story.

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