Remember when I said I was participating in a reading Challenge from ChickLit Plus? The rules are that I have to read a book of Chick Lit once a month and review it on the blog.
I think I picked a good one this month.
I went for a historical fiction romance novel called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig that I found in Paperback Reader in Kankakee. This is one of those stories that is a book within a book, a story within a story. The overlying story is about a history graduate student going to England to research a historical figure known as the Pink Carnation. This takes Eloise to London and the home of a grande dame as well as in the way of a handsome lord.
The second story is set in the Regency period during the semi-peaceful era between France and England, this book sets to tell the tale of the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation.
These are fictional spies in the manner of the Scarlet Pimpernel who foiled the French as they try to kill off their aristocracy. In this book, the Purple Gentian takes over for the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuing English aristocracy accused of being spies.
That means we get cold-war type action, gothic Parisian houses and maidens looking for action. Not sexual but as spies. Our heroine, Amy, gets both but not before she before she brings in an entire family when a rescue is needed.
The hero of our story, Richard, is a complex character who is trying to remember all of his duties to God and country while his mother is trying to find him a wife. His work is as a scholar with the French government, placing him in Paris most of the time.
Amy is the daughter of an English woman and a French Duke who lost his life to Madame Guillotine. But now her brother is grown up and needs a ‘lady of the house.’ So Amy plans to find the Purple Gentian and join his group to save her beloved France from Napoleon.
While Amy can grow tiresome – I swear the girl has ADD or at least too much energy and enthusiasm – other characters spring into action to bring reason and a plan into action. That is what keeps the book interesting. The story with Eloise could be interesting but it is really a wrapper for the Purple Gentian. By not giving it enough depth, I found I was not really interested in Eloise and her battles with the lord who did not want her looking at family papers and solving the mystery.
I think I would read this book again and I am currently thinking about getting the sequel, The Masque of the Black Tulip, which I also saw at the Paperback Reader.
Do you have any Chick Lit suggestions for my challenge?