Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig

The fourth installment in the Pink Carnation series, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, is by far my favorite. This one picks up the story of two characters which have previously played minor roles in the series, and the little we do know of them makes them, for the most part, un-likeable.

Mary Alsdale is beautiful, and beguiling. She's the sister that in the previous book, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, devised an advantageous elopement for herself, only to be thwarted by her younger sister (who mistakenly ends up in the elopement carriage and then has the fortunate accident of being seen there with Mary's fiancée, Geoffrey, Lord Pinchingdale, who does the honorable thing and marries the little sister) thus humiliating Mary in front of society.

Sebastian, Lord Vaughn, is first introduced to us in the second book as an English nobleman and a mysterious widower, recently back from the continent.  Whether he is the cruel and dangerous French spy, The Black Tulip, is the question everybody is asking. The Pink Carnation enlists Vaughn's help in recruiting Mary to unmask the Black Tulip, as the Tulip seems to have a penchant for dark haired, pale skinned beauties.

For the most part what ensues is hardly surprising, except for the twist at the end, but it's the story of these two, previously less-than-sympathetic characters which I enjoyed most. From reading the reviews it seems they are mixed. Some people really did not want a story about Lord Vaughn and Mary but for me they are by far the most interesting characters in the series and I would love to see more of them, particularly Lord Vaugh, in future books, although that doesn't seem likely as while each book takes up the thread of the adventures of the Pink Carnation, they each involve new characters which assist the Carnation.

The books in this series are pure fun, and I really look forward to the next one.

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