3.5 Stars. This book was suggested by a friend who knows her romances, so I was eager to dive in. Unsurprisingly, this historical romp was a complete delight. Willig deftly weaved the main romance from the early 19th century into a modern story featuring a quirky student doing her dissertation on English spies during the Napoleonic era.
Eloise Kelly has always loved stories about the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian, but she can’t resist a mystery. When she gets the chance to go to England and possibly uncover the secret identity of the Pink Carnation, she can’t resist. Things aren’t exactly smooth sailing however. She’s been over almost everything publicly available and when she asks to see private papers of some of the old English families in connection with other spies, she’s turned down, sometimes very rudely. Eventually, she catches a lucky break and it throws her (and the reader) into France 1803 with the protagonist, Amy, who has longed all her life to become a spy. She’s hell bent on finding the Purple Gentian and offering him her services. But who will be servicing whom? (Couldn’t resist. I’ll show myself out.)
Is this a groundbreaking romance with twists I didn’t see coming? Not really, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a few evenings. The characters are delightful, well-written, and charming. You really root for them and that’s most of the battle in a good romance. I also can’t say enough about the supporting characters. They’re pretty hilarious and go a long way to livening up the narrative. This is a must read for readers into historical romance.