Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

by Lauren Willig

Historical Fiction /Romantic Fiction

General: This novel is taking place in two time periods, today and 1803, as Napoleon is plotting to invade England. In the storyline of today, the main character, Eloise, is in search of information for completion of her dissertation on some British spies during the Napoleonic time period. She comes into a bit of complication with a particularly stubborn family member who would like certain dairies to remain private which would reveal the identity of one of the long unknown spies. In the storyline of 1803, Richard Selwick is the Purple Gentian, a daring British spy saving many from Bonaparte's guillotine. Two British young ladies travel to Paris, wishing to join his league, which creates many difficulties for all involved. This leads to the necessity of creating yet another spy, the Pink Carnation, whose identity remains undisclosed.

Thoughts: The story was very predictable, despite the author's obvious attempts to lead readers down primrose paths. As for labeling the book an historical novel, I'd say that is a stretch, unless just by citing Napoleon and his doings in the correct time period classifies a book as historical fiction, because that really is all I could see this story can claim. One other issue I had with the "historical" aspect, was the intelligent assumptions the characters made, which I don't think were very realistic given people of that generation. Otherwise, I might send it to "Romance", which is not really my type of book. Typical of other romance novels I have been persuaded to read, I found the dialogue a bit silly and I do not care for the very sappy descriptive love scenes (which I skip over). This was the selection of the month from my book club (I'll rate it a 4).

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