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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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Firstrate

Clever writing read brilliantly

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Couldn’t stop listening!

What a great story! Much better than expected. The narrator was excellent!!! I’m going to start listening to the next book in the series right away!

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  • Story

UNNECESSARY EXPLICIT DESCRIPTIONS

I started out by reading "The Mischief of the Mistletoe", and really liked that book. And I DO like the story in this book and especially the author's great humor! The narrator is very good, too! But I think this author put in gratuitous sex, explicitly described that was totally unnecessary to the storyline. It didn't add to the story, but actually detracted from it! This author is so humorous, and tells an intelligent & well-researched historic story, that there is NO NEED for all that explicit sex! It began to make me sick after several encounters, as it did not move the story forward at all, but was actually stalling it..... maybe that was the author's intention? Please Lauren Willig - - you are too smart to delve into this type of romantic, sexual novel. Your books would be so much better if you cut most of that out.
I'm actually frightened of listening to another book of this author's just to find out it is again filled with unnecessary, explicit sex.

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  • Sharon
  • New Orleans, LA United States
  • 08-18-17

Should have been called the Rose Carnation

This is a silly but entertaining fluff of a story set in Napoleonic France. It irked me that the word "Pink" in the title was not used as the name of a color at the time the story takes place. Instead, that color was called "light red" or "rose" and the word "pink" meant a small (pink) relative of the carnation. A small thing to notice, but it nagged at me throughout the book.

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Just ok

I enjoyed this book, but I felt like it lacked content. The ending was inevitable from chapter one. It was ok, just not amazing.

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A pleasant surprise

Any additional comments?

This is a exciting, historical novel. The narrator did an excellent job with her characterizations.

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Very Satifying

I loved this book! It encompasses well thought out details of history, present day culture, and romance all in one.
The erotic encounters are plausible and not "silly" like I have experienced in other romance novels.
Bravo!

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read previously- wonderful listen!

I have most of the series in paperback firm r, but just wanted to revisit the stories. now i have little time to actually sit and read, so this was perfect. I enjoy the bits of real history in addition to the novel idea of a group of like-minded spies to the scarlet pimpernel. if you like romance, adventure and mystery - read this series. I'm glad I stumbled upon them....

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Buy a 99 cent candy bar!

Save your money. This is the worst thing I've heard in 15 years of audio reading. I love romance and British historical novels. This is neither a novel or romantic.

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  • Mary
  • Augusta, MO, United States
  • 08-13-15

Just could not get iinto this book!

Would you try another book from Lauren Willig and/or Kate Reading?

Not sure, I might if the plot seemed really interesting.

What could Lauren Willig have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not sure. I am not a fan of Romance novels, this was more romance than mystery, or spy thriller.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Reading?

Not sure. I am not familiar with the names of readers.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

no