Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - Lauren Willig

The Secret of the Pink Carnation was a book club selection. I'm loving the book club, as it's exposing me to many books I probably wouldn't read on my own.

There are two stories in this book. The 2nd story, takes place after the Scarlet Pimpernel. Percy Blakeney has retired, and Lord Richard Selwick picks up where he left off, and creates The Purple Gentian. Amy Balcourt, is a French girl, who grew up in England. Her father was guillotined during the Terror and she has spent her life dreaming of joining these spies. She travels to France with her cousin, Jane, and tries to discover the identity of The Purple Gentian. During the trip to France, she meets Lord Selwick, loves him, hates him, plans revenge on him, and decides to start her own league, The Pink Carnation.

The first story, introduces us to Eloise, who leaves the US, after a break up, and moves to London. She plans to complete her dissertation on the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. She also hopes to uncover the identity of the Pink Carnation.

I actually really enjoyed the read, however gave it 3 stars. And here's why. Eloise's story is written in the first person. The story flips back and forth between present day and the past. Eloise talks of the diary entries and letters she's reading. But we don't read what she's reading. We're reading a story written in the 3rd person. Shouldn't we be reading what she is?

I also found both heroines to be a bit tiresome. Amy's a bit daft, sorry, and yet we're to believe she may be the Pink Carnation?

The ending leaves the reader hanging. There is a second book, so why not leave the reader guessing. Eloise meets Colin, a descendant of Richard's. Just as Amy and Richard had a rocky start to their relationship, Eloise and Colin have many obstacles.

I do have to say, after reading this, I'm dying to read The Scarlet Pimpernel.