The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation's identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?
©2005 Lauren Willig; (P)2005 Penguin Audiobooks and Books on Tape, Inc.
"Willig's story is a decidedly delightful romp." (Booklist)
But it missed the mark. If not for the spectacular narration (switching seamlessly between English and American accents), I'd give fewer stars. Napoleonic heroine vapid and easily distracted by a bit of groping. Unnecessarily lenthy descriptions of sexual episodes that did little to advance the plot. For example, one account of a grope in a boat crossing the Seine lasted my full 35 minute commute to work! Pink Carnation scenes read more like Keystone Cops than Scarlet Pimpernel. Also, barely acquainted early 19th century men and women calling each other by first names throughout the book was just not credible. Authors of the period would have never used such liberties. Historically jarring.
For a piece of fluff read, not a complete waste; however, I expected much more. Stick with the real Scarlet Pimpernel instead.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
There is a great deal of wit and humor in the book and in the entire series, although like all series, it eventually gets stale. I enjoyed the historical perspective and the hook of using a fictional foundation as historical fact to build more fiction upon it. I thought the switch between current day and past was handled very well, and by avoiding time travel, which seems to be the current popular way to achieve this result, there was little confusion and limited explanation was necessary. The characters were well developed, sympathetic and likeable. My only complaint on this front was I liked the current day characters a great deal and wished more time was spent on them. That comes in later installments however.
I thought the narrator did a very good job voicing both current day and historical figures.
I heartily recommend this book.
As a fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel, I absolutely loved the Secret History of the Pink Carnation! The exploits of the ladies both in the past and modern day kept me interested and glad that there were several more books to follow! If you are looking for a laugh and aren't too fussy about your historical accuracy, this is definitely worth a try!
Pink Carnation is just a small cut above your average dime-store romance book, all breathless females and swash-buckling heroes. I had to stop listening about 1/3 of the way through.
This story definitely requires some willful suspension of disbelief. There are some big holes in the plot and the heroine has a tendency to be annoying. That said, I really enjoyed this book. I'm a big fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and the "Purple Gentian," his successor in this novel, is a terrific character. The setting and the romance is thoroughly entertaining. And, best of all, the narrator does a bang-up job. It's not the great American novel, but it is worth your time. (By the way, this book is quite a bit steamier than the old Scarlet Pimpernel books--sensitive ears beware.)
If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of humor, you would like this book. I enjoyed it very much.
This book has turned out to be one of those romantic "bodice rippers," and not all that well written. The review that said the heroine sounded like a Valley Girl was right on the mark. In an effort to sound breezy and clever, the dialogue sounds trite and completely inappropriate for the time period. I got messed up between Parts I and 2 on my iPod, and discovered that I had skipped much of Part 1, and it made no difference at all. Now I am just relieved I did not have to listen to all of Part 1. I'm sticking with it to the end, because I paid for it, but it won't be a moment too soon.
Transport Bridget Jones back into the era of the Scarlet Pimpernel and you get Amy Balcourt, heroine of “The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.” What begins as light entertainment becomes more and more vapid, outrageous, and just plain silly as the minutes tick by. Kate Reading’s inspired reading is the reason I stuck with this until the eight-hour point, but then I had to give up to stop my eyes from rolling right out of my head.
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