Monday, August 15, 2011

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig

The Masque of the Black Tulip is the second book in the Pink Carnation series, and I must say I enjoyed it more than The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.  While both books are purely fun historical fiction, the main characters of the Black Tulip, Henrietta and Miles, I found more likable, and just generally more well-rounded characters, and more believable—as much as a 19th century debutante stumbling upon a deadly French spy can be considered believable.  That being said, the love affair between Henrietta and Miles is fun to read, as is the burgeoning relationship between present day characters Eloise and Colin.  The story goes back and forth between present day and 1800’s England.  Eloise is a Harvard PhD student, who is doing research in England for her dissertation, and Colin’s family, being the descendents of these spy capturing heroes, provides the archives she needs.  Though she has just barely met him, she conveniently finds herself staying the weekend in his ancestral home holed up in his library.  An attraction ensues despite Colin’s initial opposition to her being there and having access to the family archives. 
Though there are some eye-roll inducing scenarios, such as when Colin comes upon her in the library in the middle of the night:
I sat to attention, suddenly very conscious that I was wearing nothing but an ancient white tank top, washed to invisibility”
This scene, along with a number of times that Miles’s pants were suddenly “too tight”, were  all rather too obvious, and clich├ęd for my taste, however they didn’t detract enough for me to stop reading.  I think this is a fun series and I am interested to see how Colin and Eloise’s relationship develops.  I'm looking forward to the third book in the series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring.


  1. It seems like an interesting series, even if it delves into triteness occasionally. I like the title; that's what initially drew me to reading your reviews of it in the first place.

  2. Trite is a perfect way to describe what I was talking about!
    But I really am enjoying the series, despite that one criticism.