Saturday, June 19, 2010
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig
"Determined to secure another London Season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, beautiful Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation: to infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, The Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England. Every spy has a weakness, and for the Black Tulip that weakness is black-haired women...his petals of the tulip. A natural at the art of seduction, Mary easily catches the atention of the French spy, but Lord Vaughn never anticipates that his own heart will be caught as well. Fighting their growing attraction, impediments from their past, and, of course, the French, Mary and Vaughn find themselves lost in the shadows of a treacherous garden of lies....."
(from the publisher)
So much has been written already about Willig's flowery spy series that anything I say will be redundant.....her books are just so darn clever and entertaining, and The Seduction of the Crimson Rose was no exception.
I particularly enjoyed this installment of the adventure as it featured one of my favorite characters, the ever-mysterious and enigmatic Lord Vaughn. He is older, very sophisticated and cynical, and enjoys both his wine and women to be aged and full-bodied -- no silly, innocent parlor games or sweet, simpering virgins for him, please. With his greying temples, aristocratic features and serpent-like cane, he can appear quite dangerous at times, and indeed, The Crimson Rose differs in tone from the first three books. It was much darker and more sinister than the first books in the series which tended to be lighthearted, witty romps. The relationship of Lord Vaughn and Mary Alsworthy was a slow and seductive one, and I enjoyed their clever repartee as they worked together to lure the Black Tulip into their trap.
Willig manages to pull many surprises out of her bag of tricks, as no one is really 100% dead in her spy world until there is an actual body, and the reader's patience is finally rewarded when the real identity of the Black Tulip is revealed. Plenty of intrigue, suspense, and clever tit-for-tat between Vaughn and Mary....another winner in The Pink Carnation series.
And speaking of Willig, I will be attending The Poisoned Pen Conference in Arizona next week, where I am hoping to meet Lauren Willig, among many other authors, at a Regency Tea and author events at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. I will be meeting Julie from Outlandish Dreaming, so I'm looking forward to a great time!
Title: The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
Author: Lauren Willig
New American Library
genre: historical romance