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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


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  • Overall

Easy fun to read

This is funny & easy read. Some of the romance is a bit cheesy, but the author put a smile on my face and I just enjoyed listening. I can't wait to read the sequel. If you want deep and indepth intellectual reading skip this one. This is for fun!

  • Overall
  • Manuel
  • Miami, FL, USA
  • 02-10-06

Great & fun!

I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I loved this book!

  • Overall
  • Heather
  • Forest Hill, MD, United States
  • 09-29-05

the secret History of the Pink carnation

I thought this book was very good I loved the suspence and romance together I didn't put my Ipod down untill the book was over it was that good

  • Overall

A likeable book with a bit of an identity crisis

I agree with the folks that say this book could have been more than a frothy period romance. It wasn't grand and sweeping enough to be more than that, yet the characters' passions were a little too overwrought, and the pace too sluggish, to make it truly "frothy".
I found the modern-day heroine likeable and sort of Bridget-Jones-ish. The modern male-female repartee was rather childish for people their reputed ages and education levels, and the historic male-female dialog seemed too modern, but perhaps because it was imagined. I don't mean to whine though, for I did enjoy the book and was disappointed by its abrupt ending. Perhaps a sequel is in development--I'd read it!

  • Overall
  • Anthony
  • waterboro, ME, USA
  • 06-19-09

Love the series

I didn't favor this books but the rest of the series is excellent. I love book two with Miles and Henrietta.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Regency Romance

-(in spirit - Yes, George III is still on his throne.) This book doesn't give a reliable sense of the times, and while you don't read light fiction for historical accuracy, the anachronistic details are often jarring. And the characters predictably follow the standard conventions of the genre. "People who like this sort of thing will like this."

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Good Read-Not!!!

The easily angered character Amy who naively jumped to conclusions as quickly as she jumped into adventure was not believable. She and the purple gentian came off as flirting teenagers. As an historical novel, it is extremely weak. The tit for tat between the main characters overwhelms any history and became tedious.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


How disappointing. Smarmy love scenes and really, really bad male voice imitations by the narrator made this toooooo long novel even longer. Gawd! Let me make better choices next time!

1 of 4 people found this review helpful