Eloise Kelly is back for another round of research on the flower spies of the early 19th century in England, Ireland, and France. Going off the information she obtained during her research at Selwick Hall, she’s back at the British Library looking to continue to unravel the mystery. This time, she’s looking into Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, another associate of the Pink Carnation and Purple Gentian (only with far better spying skills than Miles Dorrington). And she’s doing it while trying not to spend too much time obsessing about Colin Selwick.
Meanwhile, in the early 19th century, Geoffrey is planning an elopement to Mary Alsworthy- one that is hopelessly bungled by Mary’s younger sister Letty, who is attempting to stop her sister from bringing shame on the family. When Geoff insists that he must now marry Letty, no one is very happy. But they do marry, and Geoff goes traipsing off to Ireland to assist the Pink Carnation within hours of the wedding, not bothering to tell his new bride where he’s gone. A slip of the tongue on the part of Miles tips Letty off, and she too goes to Ireland to see what her husband is up to. It isn’t long before she too is pulled into the tangle of flowered spies and their adventures as the tension between England and France begins to escalate to war. Along the way, Letty and Geoff learn to tolerate each other- and then learn that perhaps their elopement wasn’t so disastrous after all.
After the easy, relaxed relationship between Henrietta and Miles in The Masque of the Black Tulip, the relationship between Letty and Geoff didn’t work as well for me in this book. I did appreciate that Willig mixed up the formula a bit- Geoff and Letty eloped, then fell in love (as opposed to falling in love and eloping), but there’s still an awful lot of elopement happening. And honestly, Letty as a heroine just wasn’t all that interesting.
I keep reading these books for the relationship and interaction between Eloise and Colin, and honestly, this novel disappointed in that respect as well. There wasn’t too much in the way of interaction between the two (except for the ending, which was very Bridget Jones). However, the promise that the story will get better is what keeps me reading the series. That, and I would like to see the story of one character in particular play out in the 19th century, and that still has yet to happen).
Again, these books are good for fans of historical romance.
Read my review of The Masque of the Black Tulip here.