Release Date: August 2010
Publisher: Allison and Busby
443 pages, Paperback
Content: Mystery, lots of danger, murder, mild romance, subterfuge
Summary from Allison and Busby
‘All in readiness. An unmarked carriage will be waiting for you behind the house at midnight’
History student Eloise Kelly is in London looking for more information on the activities of the infamous 19th century spy, the Pink Carnation, while at the same time trying to keep her mind off the fact that her mobile phone is not ringing and her would-be romantic hero Colin Selwick is not calling.
Eloise is finally distracted from checking for messages every five minutes by the discovery of a brief note, sandwiched amongst the papers she’s poring over in the British Library. Signed by Lord Pinchingdale, it is all Eloise needs to delve back in time and unearth the story of Letty Alsworthy and the Pink Carnation’s espionage activities on the Emerald Isle…
I confess it was the pretty dress that drew me to look at this book. I have to say now, that although pretty costumes are in the book (it would have been fantastic to have had a few photos of these), don't make the mistake of thinking Letty only thinks about clothes. It is her thinking about things which lands her married to the man her sister wanted to marry. The misunderstanding which started the whole book off (well, Letty's story) is quite unbelievable. And really funny, given all the further misunderstandings that have Letty leaving the country to chase after her husband, and stumbling into espionage. Letty is strong willed, stubborn, and once she gets on to something she will not let go, even if her life gets put in danger. I thought she had great courage to persevere in getting to know her husband, and proving the truth. The ending - well, I was in tears, as well as smiling.
I liked how Eloise investigated the story. I would perhaps have liked to hear more of Eloise's thoughts as more of the drama unfolded - some of the accounts of Letty's exploits were long. The length is bad, but with Eloise as a character in the story, I had expected more page time with her. I enjoyed the page time she did get - her thoughts made me laugh and the mistakes that she makes are funny, but not as dangerous as those Letty makes.
This is the first book I've read by Lauren, and I'll definitely be looking out for more from her, which starts with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
Letty's adventure provides Eloise with a mystery, one which is a pleasure to read about.