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The Masque of the Black Tulip

A Novel
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Series: Pink Carnation, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (599 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Pink Carnation, history's most elusive spy and England's only hope for preventing a Napoleonic invasion, returns in Lauren Willig's dazzling, imaginative new historical romance. The Masque of the Black Tulip opens with the murder of a courier from the London War Office, his confidential dispatch for the Pink Carnation stolen. Meanwhile, the Black Tulip, France's deadliest spy, is in England with instructions to track down and kill the Pink Carnation. Only Henrietta Uppington and Miles Dorrington know where the Pink Carnation is stationed. Using a secret code book, Henrietta has deciphered a message detailing the threat of the Black Tulip. Meanwhile, the War Office has enlisted Miles to track down the notorious French spy before he (or she) can finish the deadly mission. But what Henrietta and Miles don't know is that while they are trying to find the Black Tulip (and possibly falling in love), the Black Tulip is watching them.
©2005 Lauren Willig (P)2005 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Many more will delight in this easy-to-read romp and line up for the next installment." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

This is the second in this series and both of them are pure joy. Laugh out loud funny at times, an engaging love story and plenty of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. Something for everyone. Don't miss this or the first book in this series.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent series!

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

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This Series is Genius!

This series is genius! If you truly enjoyed the first book and are wondering if you should buy the next one, my recommendation to you would be to go for it. You will not be disappointed. Like book 1, Willig goes back and forth in this book between contemporary and historical fiction. You’ll continue keeping your fingers crossed for Eloise Kelley, while getting to know Henrietta and Miles in a whole new way.

I love the way Willig plays with the social mores of the time period while simultaneously writing about women who seem both capable and smart. She maintains her especially sardonic sense of humor throughout the book. And Kate Reading continues to do a wonderful job as narrator. I not only recommend getting this book, but the other ones in this series. I find it a refreshing take on the romance genre.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynda
  • College Station, TX, United States
  • 02-11-11

Wonderful Listening!

I love the author's sense of humor but the narrator REALLY brings it to life. She is expressive in her reading as opposed to just a dry read.

Couldn't stop listening! Going back for the rest of the series!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annette
  • Scheyern, Germany
  • 05-27-11

Wonderful

The story of Eloise and Colin goes on. The second book of this series also has immediately dragged me into the spell. Kate Reading lets live the Charactere. Thanks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

marvelous duo

Lauren Willig and Kate Redding team up here to produce a wonderful book to listen to. Willig weaves a nice spy tale with some nice humor and sharp repartee. Redding does her typical superb reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Teen romance not spy thriller

After reading the summary I thought this was going to be a historical mystery but this is not so. The start was promising, lots of humor, imaginative chapter headings and the narrator is excellent but after a while the angsty romance takes over and is nauseating! A romance is expected in a historical mystery but there was very little history and NO MYSTERY - the spy intrigue took only a tiny portion of the story and merely consisted of several suspects and thats it.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better Book, Better on Audio

I read the first book and was quite disappointed. Glad I decided to give this series another try, this time on audio. Love, love, love. The narrator totally makes this. Helps that I like Henrietta much better than I did Amy, same with Miles (better than Richard). Loved all the characters, even Amy and Richard (in their cameo appearances) are less annoying. The marquis and Lord Vaughn (sp?) were also favorites. The writing niggles have either been edited out in this second book, or bother me less on audio. Funny. Great romance. The mystery element was solid too. Gotta call this one exceptional. The external story was a little more interesting and pertinent in this book too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect blend of spy intrigue and romance

I loved this book. It was like the perfect cross between a historical fiction spy intrigue and a regency romance.

The characters were wonderful - many introduced in the first book of the series, and this installment followed two new primary figures. At first Miles' gung-ho spy hunting attitude rubbed me the wrong way - somehow too eager and green. But his charm grew on me, and his heart was in the right place. I liked Henrietta's self-proclaimed logical and rational methods - when it came to espionage that is. Neither of them behaved entirely rationally when it came to each other - even when they each realized they had fallen for the other, I found their behavior about hiding it from the other a bit silly. But then, it drove the tension and plot line, and lead to a wonderful scene of revelation at the climax of the action.

The spy search was a bit less of a mystery to me than to them, and I anticipated from the start what would happen when they came to unmask the Black Tulip. And the supporting characters of family and friends worked well in concert. Turnip especially was a hoot.

As far as the present-day window of the story - it makes a good ongoing frame for the stories of the past. And I liked the rapport between Eloise and the archives-providing Colin. I'm convinced that she didn't imagine him flirting, but I can't get a beat on the depth or nature of his interest. They always, of course, get interrupted at crucial times, but you get just enough teasing bits to keep wanting to more.

Narration was superb, Reading voiced many varied men and women with different accents consistently. She captured the moments if suspense and of tenderness equally well.

I can't wait to read the next story in the series and see what's next in the world of the Carnation, and the dissertation!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

I loved listening to this book. The author is wonderful and the narrator is charming (I prefer the audiobook to reading the hard copy). Funny, full of adventure, and a little erotic at times; this book kept me begging for more. Ditch your music on you ipod and load this series instead, it's a perfect gym time listen. I'm waiting for the fourth one with baited breath, because I know I won't be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful