Book ReviewThe Passion of the Purple Plumeria

Reviewer's Rating: 
This book was so good I'm going to throw a brick through the bookstore window so I can have my own hardcover copy RIGHT NOW!
New American Library, 2013

BOOK TEN: THE PINK CARNATION SERIES. Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed at an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates.

Because she served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England's most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she's just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation's little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl's disappearance.

Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen's partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls….

Another Lauren Willig book in the Pink Carnation Series?  CHA CHING!  Yes please!  This book was published in August and by then, my eager fingers had been waiting almost a year for it.  The best authors are always worth the wait.

After nine books in this series you know the characters well, their families, their cousins, their better halves, their better halves's a big gang but a familiar one you are fond of and always glad to know how they are doing.  In this book, quite a few characters from the first and second novels make special appearances and it is a sweet thing to see them again.

In addition to the historical set of characters, there is a modern tale that slowly weaves it's way through all books - 6 months in total by book ten so their storyline is a meandering one as opposed to the beginning and end of a story for each historical character.  In this book, the meandering walk turned into a stumble that took us into new territory - a treasure hunt rides both the historical and modern plot lines and it was a fun, weaving whodunit from two different perspectives of time.  Well done, Lauren!

In general, I love a historical setting with a governess love story.  This set up automatically gives us a female who is intelligent but living on less than ideal financial circumstances which in turn, makes her a stronger person.  In swoops a rich guy/lord/duke etc. who admires her strength, smarts and lemon-water rinsed complexion.  Love is in the air now folks and it's always a lovely walk across the pages of their story.  Lauren previously wrote a story along these lines in Mischief of the Mistletoe but in this case, our governess is a much older and crustier character, making for a different tale entirely despite the similar setting.

The writing is snappy, the plot line interesting but not so convoluted you lose yourself, and humour is found in unexpected corners - the unexpected part making it that much more dear to us as readers.  I loved this intelligent and amusing novel.  My only regret is that it was not published in long-lasting hardcover fashion.

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