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The Secret History of the Pink Carnation | [Lauren Willig]

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard's Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803.
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Publisher's Summary

Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard's Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation�the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon's invasion.

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.

What the Critics Say

"Willig's story is a decidedly delightful romp." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (862 )
5 star
 (293)
4 star
 (258)
3 star
 (154)
2 star
 (93)
1 star
 (64)
Overall
3.8 (411 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (69)
2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (29)
Story
4.1 (406 )
5 star
 (195)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (53)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (12)
Performance
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  •  
    Lulu 01-02-14
    Lulu 01-02-14

    I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1191
    ratings
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    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining Start to a Good Series"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mandi 05-12-12
    Mandi 05-12-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    64
    29
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Hilarious!"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 06-07-07
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 06-07-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    172
    37
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    3
    0
    Overall
    "very disappointing"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Runkles-Pearson Portland, Oregon 11-03-05
    P. Runkles-Pearson Portland, Oregon 11-03-05 Member Since 2013

    knitting lawyer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    4
    4
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    Overall
    "Reasonably good"

    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.)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 07-09-05
    A 07-09-05 Member Since 2013

    No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on BookLikes. Audible Member since 2002!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    345
    ratings
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    187
    58
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    6
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    Overall
    "Ho hum"

    Technically, a very pleasant listen; clear and easy to understand. No skips or other glitches.

    However, the vehicle itself was just another Harlequin romance -- modern day characters in historical costumes with a little soft-core just to spice it up. Completely anachronistic. Moreover, it drove me nuts that the narrative voice was supposed to be the diary of one character yet that voice seemed to know a lot more than the character would have. A beach read at best.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 03-14-05
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 03-14-05 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    156
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    5
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    Overall
    "Quite Enjoyable!"

    If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of humor, you would like this book. I enjoyed it very much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James W Dietz Seattle, Washington United States 07-13-06
    James W Dietz Seattle, Washington United States 07-13-06 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    12
    6
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    1
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    Overall
    "disappointing"

    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.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Jones 07-12-07
    S. Jones 07-12-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
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    85
    28
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    Overall
    "Vapid"

    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.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Mesa, AZ, USA 06-01-07
    Jonathan Mesa, AZ, USA 06-01-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    4
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent series!"

    This is an amusing, intelligent series of historical romance and intrigue....Read the whole series!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacquelyn Santa Barbara, CA, USA 02-12-05
    Jacquelyn Santa Barbara, CA, USA 02-12-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    10
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Firstrate"

    Clever writing read brilliantly

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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