The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

Book - 2005
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“This genre-bending read—a dash of chick-lit with a historical twist—has it all: romance, mystery, and adventure.” —Meg Cabot, author of The Princess DiariesDeciding 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?
Publisher: New York : Dutton, c2005.
ISBN: 9780525948605
Characteristics: viii, 388 p. ;,24 cm.


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ArapahoeStaff11 Jan 25, 2019

Adventure and romance combined! This is the first in a series.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Apr 06, 2015

A fun and silly read about romance and English spies during the Napoleonic Wars, with a modern-day storyline (about a PhD student doing a dissertation on the historical characters) getting occasional chapters. This is an enjoyable book but I think it's a bit misleading, because it's touted as historical fiction about espionage, but look: this is a romance novel. The inclusion of a lot of spy stuff and the odd frame of a story-within-a-story don't make this not a romance novel, much as it's trying. A nice cover and non-romance publisher don't make this not a romance novel. So if you know what you're getting when you start reading, you'll enjoy; if not, you might be disappointed. I thought it was pretty charming, though.

Nov 23, 2012

Touted as a historical spy novel, I started reading this and......zzzzzzz......sorry, had to quit at about Chapter 5. Insipid dialogue & heroines so inept (I guess this was an attempt at humour) you wondered how they even managed to dress themselves in the morning. If you're looking for great historical fiction featuring the French Revolution, intrigue & romance, try "Mistress of the Revolution" by Katherine Delors. It's far superior in every way.

Jul 29, 2012

Eloise is doing research on the famous spies, the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian when she stumbles across information that points to the identity of the Pink Carnation, another spy of the era. Through her research, the reader is thrown back in time to the lives of the spies in question and romance ensues.

The story within a story device works relatively well, if only because Willing has created some great characters here and her dialogue is witty, helping to move the plot along a quick pace. Willing knows her genre well enough to hit all the highs of a regency romance, but there is spy-thriller layered overtop to make this a fresh take on the genre.

This is a bodice ripper, but it is a well written bodice ripper. It will not change your life, but you will have a damn good time reading it

riverdalite Jan 10, 2012

When I read a review of this, I was very intrigued, but instead of reading it straight away, my sisters read it. Finally, I got into it and am now on the 4th book. There is something to be said about waiting to read a series, because I can quickly go from one to the other. That's how good they are.

Mar 21, 2011

This was an okay read. I enjoyed the chapters that focused on Amy and hersearch for the Purple Gentian, but disliked the chapters based in the present, which focused on Eloise and her search for the Pink Carnation. I found Eloise to be a shallow and phony character.

I was also disappointed by the ending, when the Pink Carnation was revealed. I was ready for a twist, but thought that it might be a little more "twisty".

And finally, I think that romance could have been included in this book in a more appropriate way. The scene in the boat in the middle of the book came out of no where and was gratuitous for no reason other than to be gratuitous. Sometimes leaving things to the reader's imagination is more effective than describing every single caress.

After all of this, and the disappointing end, I'm not sure that I will continue on with this series...

Jun 23, 2009

This is an updated swashbuckler, a story that combines the modern world with history?and throws in a bit of chick lit romance for good measure. Harvard graduate Eloise Kelly is completing her dissertation about English spies (like the aforementioned Scarlet Pimpernel) when she comes across a trunk of letters and documents about a previously unknown historical spy. Soon Eloise and the reader are plunged into a novel-within-the-novel, the story of Amy Balcourt in the year 1803. Amy and her brother Edouard set off to Paris to join the league of another dashing spy, the Purple Gentian. But Eloise in the twenty-first century and Amy in the nineteenth century are both obsessed with the story of the very mysterious Pink Carnation, even as romance appears in both the present and the past in the form of a pair of dashing gentlemen with secrets of their own. Part literary detective story, part historical thriller, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation updates the classic swashbuckler while remaining true to its spirit. For more of the Pink Carnation?s history, read the rest of the books in Willig?s Pink Carnation series: The Masque of the Black Tulip, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.

samdog123 Mar 12, 2008

This is a really fun series that juxtaposes the past with the present. An english doctoral candidate, doing her thesis on Napoleonic spies, discovers a cache of archives--the rest, as they say, is history...1st in the series, try the others for an entertaining read!


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Dec 08, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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