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Girl on a Motorcycle jE at last is a heroine and author who Understands I can t believe I have to wait another year for the next one After the fifth Pink Carnation book I kind of felt like I needed a little break from the Pink Carnation series And by little break I mean like five yearsthats how long it s been since I read one of the Pink Carnation booksI love the series as a whole but the last book in the series that I readust left me a little wanting in the uniueness categorySo I abandoned it in favor of other books though I always knew that someday I would come back to it because lets face it I am in love with this series but I needed little time to step away from it and come back to it in order to love itGranted five years seems excessive but it happened eventuallyI picked up The English Wife also by Lauren Willig though it is not connected to the Pink Carnation books I easily fell in love with her writing and story in The English Wife So much so that I was reminded why I love the Pink Carnation bookssuperb story telling So I picked up The Betrayal of the Blood Lily and went to townAs I ve mentioned before in my other reviews of the series Willig has a kind of formula that she uses in her Pink Carnation seriesstrong aristocratic lady meets stubborn dashing bachelor in tights and they blunder through espionage 101 and ultimately end up having a HEA While it s formulaic it doesn t ring false for Willig because she always comes up with memorable and uniue charactersI never liked Penelope in the other books She was kind of the resident skank She was reckless and impulsive and I ust wasn t really into her however I was interested to see how her romance was going to play out in this book Could Willig convince me that she was able to find true love based on what I had seen of her in the other booksThe short answer is yesI loved how Willig took the classic romance troupe and kind of made an anti romance of sorts When we meet Penelope she is married to Freddy whose she was forced into a marriage with back in the fifth book I believeFreddy is positively useless and a complete ack ass In the fifth book Charlotte had said that maybe the marriage and removal to India would be the making of their marriage so I thought that this book would be about them coming together but it was far from that I literally couldn t stand Freddy by the end of the first chapter He was irritating useless and puffed up well above his station I felt so bad for Penelope but at the same time I wasn t completely sorry for herThen we have Captain Alex Reid Straight laced and noble A man who can hardly stand the sight of Freddy It became rather apparent that Penelope had designs on Alex but as a noble officer he was inclined to pass on that situation However against his better Traces judgement he finds himself being won over by PenelopeI agree with Collin s great aunt s opinion of Penelope s storyit s the most tragic Penelope is so impulsive and self destructive at times that is boarders on disastrous I loved how that played out in the developing romance between Alex and Penelope It made for a completely different approach to romance than in some of the other Pink Carnation books In this book Penelope is very married and Alex is almost too noble when it comes to respecting women Slowly I wasust as won over as Alex and I appreciated the uniue trope in this book I didn t find the adultery aspect distasteful at all though others might not agreeThe only thing that I thought distracted from this novel was the Indian history All the other Pink Carnation books are set in England The last book s hero was from India but it was still set in England so the landscape and politics were familiar In this book that is not the case I had a hard time following or appreciating the politics in India and basically the entire setting didn t do a whole lot for me It should have been this exotic and uniue land but I felt like the setting was under utilized I was interested in the romance than anything else and as far as I can tell it was only set here to set up future books and characters In my opinion this could have been set in England as well but I guess if Willig wanted to give readers a break from the Western politics then India seemed like the next logical settingOver all this was a good book and I was reading well into the night Even if I didn t think it was as good as some of the others in the series I still enjoyed it enough to start the next book immediately after closing the cover on this oneSee my full review here This book reminds me why I like Willig s writing so much The Pink Carnation universe has gotten rather large by this point but her characters all seem so very different In some series the author s leads can fall into a particular type where Willig s all speak in uniue voicesIn this installment Penelope Staines has been essentially forced into marriage An Unhappy One As It Turns Out unhappy one as it turns out banished to India with her husband where he has a diplomatic assignment of sorts in Hyderabad Captain Alex Reid is an officer s son and after growing up in India has followed in his father s footsteps He s very down to earth and sensible and has little patience for his current ob of escorting ignorant aristocrats to HyderabadGiven the rules of society at the time the growing attraction between Penelope and Alex is very problematic and the fact that most

Readers Know What Will Have 
know what will have happen for these two to ever get together does cast something of a pall over the story And yet this storyline really lets readers understand Penelope than in previous books She has always been high spirited and has often gotten herself into scrapes or made a subject of gossip However in this book the author explores her motivations and this made me like her much The characters really make this book and I did enjoy learning about some areas of history with which I wasn t very familiar This is not an India is exotic and there are exotic sexytimes to be had here kind of romantic novel The author devotes uite a bit of time to making sure readers understand that India is a country with a large number of different languages and traditions and while there aren t any big infodumps there are plenty of references to the historical period including some traditions and while there aren t any big infodumps there are plenty of references to the historical period including some the problematic elements such as the racist treatment of Indian and Anglo Indian people This was my last audiobook for the year I finished it Wednesday and school finished Saturday I get a huge kick out of Willig s books as they seem like novels my sister and I would ve written in our early teens when we devoured huge stacks of Georgette Heyer and Elswyth Thane and the like This one however goes a bit too far in suspending our disbelief The main character Penelope is pretty unlikable We only know her as being bitter and self pitying and we never get to see a endearing side Her willingness to have an affair while married was something I had real trouble overcoming especially since her lover had the same trouble and then suddenly had no trouble at all Since part of Pen s husband s lack of appeal was his lack of fidelity wouldn t the author expect us to dislike both Penelope AND Alex as well since they disport themselves in some thoroughly described scenes cringe one drawback of audiobooks for four days in the same way the despised husband does The big strike against the book however is that it is marginally historical fiction but this time Willig casts all historical accuracy to the winds In a country where servants were expected and everywhere Alex and Penelope slip out to travel for four days without any not even a faithful groom or a valet Penelope pampered since birth seems to be fully capable of dressing and taking care of herself and there seems to be no uestion raised by the idea that these two would travel unaccompanied Add to that the fact that they seem to function extremely well on maybe two hours of sleep for days on end no one ever collapses and sleeps like the drugged for two days which seems cheating to me and that the heat has no effect on either of them and you get a story that had me wincing and saying Yes but much than I should ve been Usually Willig s deft humor and historical detail make her stories something my sister and I couldn t have written at age 13 and 15 The Betrayal of the Blood Lily however we could have. Tain Alex Reid With danger looming from local warlords treacherous court officials and French spies Alex and Penelope may be all that stand in the way of a plot designed to rock the very foundations of the British Empire.

Lauren Willig ´ 2 Free read

I m so happy I scored the ARC and got to read this before seeing a bunch of other reviews for it Although its also a mixed blessing because I m of course already dying for the next one and now I ust have to wait that much longer for it Anywayon to my reviewHenrietta and Miles have been dethroned from the status of my favorites of the series Alex and Penelope really got to me I LOVE how they have all sorts of issues I hate disgustingly perfect characters Alex s issues rest mostly on his family and crazed sense of loyalty while Penelope has a rather large mass of unresolved personal issues she wrestles with throughout the book I really love the way Willig interpreted her character and have a great respect for her ability to do so because I don t think most authors could have pulled it off Just like Aunt Arabella told Eloise she comes off as spirited but she is also pretty weighted down with horribly low self worth Like Alex comes to realize the spirited courageous Penelope is hidden behind the stone cold Lady Staines He helps Penelope kick Lady Staines out on her ass and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it I love when authors can convey a real chemistry between characters it comes off wanting often then not This series however never fails to deliverI was blushing and getting warm fuzzies right along with PenelopeAnd of course there is the ever wonderful Eloise and Colin I think Eloise has to be one of my favorite characters of all time She is bumbling awkwardand also loyal charming and absolutely hilarious I will never give up hoping they will get their own book one of these days I hate only getting short glimpses into their world I want Anywaythis series as a whole is The Greek's Convenient Wife Harleuin Presents just fabulous The settings are always historically sound the characters and their feelings always believable there is always an abundance of delightfully biting wit and some of the capers these people get into are ridiculous enough to be on the point of spoof I don t mean spoof in a bad way I mean it as in the characters are channeling the spirit of Amelia Peabody but real enough to put you on the edge of your seat In short this series has it all And this one for me was the best of the lot so farThere was one thing toward the end Alex and Penelope rush off somewhere in a hurry so sheust Die molekulare Manufraktur jumps on his horse with him but then when they are leaving their horses plural are waiting for them But I doust have the ARC so maybe it was cleared up shrug small potatoes either way But really like 45 starswe really need half stars on here Anyway the sixth installment of the Pink Carnation series does not disappoint and I think it might even get new readers seeing as it is set in India and does not rely overly heavily on past events I also really enjoy Penelope as a heroine and with her starting out the book already married to a man she doesn t love we are in a far different position that previous novels Instead of an innocent happy virginal character we have someone a little flirty and a little bitter and very much ta Penelope is forced to marry Freddy through her own flirtation gone awry As Serena Selwick Adderly says of Penelope she s a bit of a lost soul There are none that think of her that way accept for Captain Alex Reid the guard that takes charge of Freddy and Pen s travels to Hyderabad the place where Freddy has a cushy Missing Assumed Dead job with a title he hasn t deservedFreddy doesn t love his wife and Pen most certaintly doesn t love her husband hell she doesn t even like him but there are ways that a marriage of convenience can hurt and Freddy knows how to twist the knife in What no one expects lease of all Alex is that Penelope is daring brave stubborn impetous regal and hard but most of all she sust a young woman who feels alone She acts out and sells herself cheaply when she s than what she thinks and than what most people assume A crackshot a horsewoman a seductress and witty Penelope meets her match with AlexUnfortunately it s a case of bad timing or is it Alex is the epitome of an honorable service man He s a protector and believes in Penelope when even she doesn t Of course he has his own flaws and his own demons most noticeably in the form of his brotherIndia beautiful but wild untamed with parts of civilization and hot with bits of staggering coolness best describe Penelope and Alex a British born child who had grown up in India it s the perfect matchExcept for the husband the spies and the politics There is aspy going by the flowery epitaph of the Marigold Which one of Freddy s weasly friend s could it be or weasly friend s could it be Or it any of them Could it be Alex Is it Pen Lots of accusations and suspicions abound but the core of this book isn t the spy story or the adventures It s a lost little girl who was made a woman too SOON THROUGH HER OWN RECKLESSNESS AND through her own recklessness and and A Man Who Has A man who has a love but no one he deems good enough to share it withThere are twists and turns and it s all well worth it The story the landscape and the characters seem to come out of the page and grasp your attention with both hands Willig has mentioned how much she loves and admires Georgette Heyer and I have a funny idea that Ms Heyer would like this series as well Though this is a standalone book with none of the core characters in it there is one character that does show up toward the end and is a nice foil for Penelope s brusue blunt mannerAs with every book in this series it is a story within a story and I must admit that I was a little bored with Eloise and Colin until their last two chapters That might be part of the problems with carrying two stories especially when the modern story is used as a vehicle to get the main historical story across but I felt like Eloise and Colin fell a littel flat this time around Let s hope they pick it up in the next bookI did miss Jane and Henrietta but Penelope with all of her faults was a good enough heroine for me to overlook them for 396 pages SPOILER ALERT I ve really liked Willig s previous books however guiltily and wanted to like this one too but I dislike being put in the position of rooting for a character to commit adultery however unhappy the circumstances of her marriage Others might not struggle with that but it ultimately left me with a sadder feeling about the book than her other novels I also felt like this was one of her weaker stories narratively The spy aspect of the plot seems far contrived with this book than the others although the Indian setting and depiction of 19th century British life there mostly made up for it While I don t doubt that there was some historical veracity to some of the schemes she describes I found them poorly explained hard to follow and generally less urgent or persuasively dire than the nefarities and schemes to be foiled in her previous books Finally not to pile on but this book s dialogue isn t as witty as her previous books In some ways I wonder if her inspiration for the series is petering out a bit Having read all six Pink novels I think the one set in Ireland 3 is still my favorite I noticed the next parish orphans book mentioned India and my brain immediately flashed back to this book So I went back to the beginning of the series and skimmed everything that sounded interesting Skimming rereading frothy and funny stuff it seems to be the only thing my brain can focus on right now And this series is really entertaining I d forgotten how much I liked Jane hovering in the background like a deadpan freakishly competent actual spy albeit one who awarded herself her ob counterbalancing the outrageousness of all the flowers sprouting up everywhere The tone is like that too glib and outrageous to be taken seriously and the couples are like that too One exception before this one Mary s book I liked that one a lot And then I got to this book which does center on India and which doesn t have Jane And I like it so much Willig is at her best I think when she s writing characters like Penelope or Mary she s not cute and perky and there s a sense of real pain lurking beneath the surface that allows this book to be than spy hijinks in India It s so well done in fact that I found this not to be a spy story at all this is Penelope s story and it s prickly and difficult and great reading So sad so sexy I was a little bit anxious of the setting being a historica. A New York Times extended list bestseller in hardcover the sensational sixth book in the national bestselling Pink Carnation series Whisked away to nineteenth century India Penelope Deveraux plunges into the court intrig. The Betrayal of the Blood LilyL romance in a setting like India makes me nervous but this wasn t as bad as I expected to be but there were still moments of hm in terms of how characters described the setting but that s like what it is considering they re English people But anyway I really liked Penelope and Alex s relationship and how it progressed from antagonism to actual love I liked how active Penelope was in this in unraveling the mystery and how Alex came to rely on that insight Penelope is ust so damn cool view spoiler I think the part where Penelope dealt with her grief over Freddie despite everything he d done and her affair with Alex was surprisingly dealt with in a way that neither minimized nor packed away neatly despite it being a pretty short part of the book when it occurred I thought that was neat hide spoiler The Betrayal of the Blood Lily is the sixth installment in Lauren Willig s delightful Pink Carnation series which chronicles the romantic adventures of Napoleonic aka Regency era British spies and the romantic misadventures of modern day Harvard doctoral student Eloise Kelly who is researching said spies for her dissertationAt the very beginning of the series Eloise is struggling to find sources any sources for her dissertation on super spies the Scarlet Pimpernel in the series a real person his successor the Purple Gentian Willig s own invention and the elusive Pink Carnation ditto whom she hopes to finally unmask Eloise is about to throw in the towel and write about espionage and constructs of masculinity ugh when the academic euivalent of manna from Heaven appears a previously unseen archive in the home of a fairy godmother esue descendant of the Purple Gentian What Eloise finds in those archives and the archives that follow are the plots of Willig s novels Did I mention that there is also a Prince Not So Charming Eloise s benefactor s surly but strapping great nephew Colin makes his entrance in the first book as a foil to our heroine and their inevitable courtship forms the basis of the series s secondary plotline The Betrayal of the Blood Lily is a departure from the other books in the series in that its heroine is already married at the beginning If you have read the other Pink books recommended but not reuired then you have already made the acuaintance of Penelope Deveraux bosom friend to the Purple Gentian s younger sister and one of the most incorrigible flirts of the ton Penelope has finally succeeded in ruining her own reputation Compromised after being caught canoodling with the loutish Lord Freddy Staines Penelope finds herself rushed to the altar before the book begins Blood Lily also departs uite literally from the series s familiar setting of Franco British courts assembly halls and country estates for the wilds of colonial India where Freddy and Penelope are packed off to allow the scandal surrounding their marriage time to die down Several of her friends express optimism that exile could be the making of their relationshipIt isn tThis revelation should not be news to anyone who has read the book I've been thinking...: reflections, prayers, and meditations for a meaningful life jacket Penelope does not find marital bliss in India What she does find is a decidedly extra marital romance in the shape of the dashing Alex Reid a captain in the British colonial forces charged with escorting Penelope and Freddy to Hyderabad where Freddy is to assume a low level diplomatic post at the court of the Nizam Their romance is one of Willig s finest yet hard won even handed and utterly believable It helps that Penelope is no wilting flower Like Mary Alsworthy of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose Penelope is a difficult heroine willful world weary but whose hard ard couettishness hides a desperate desire to be loved and understood Penelope shoots cobras dives into rivers and matches words with the Nizam s sinister Prime Minister She is also horribly lonely having been sent away from all her friends to a strange country with a husband who treats her with utter disregard Her surprise romance with Alex who hasn t had the easiest time of it either is very much a meeting of the minds That they are first friends before they become lovers is a testament to the deep respect regard and understanding that they have for one another As for the rest of the plot this is a Lauren Willig novel so naturally spies are involved Our villain a French spy called the Marigold was introduced in the last installment While the Marigold s political treachery isn t fully realized until late in the book his or her personal threat to Penelope Freddy and Alex is keenly felt from the first broken girth Willig does a goodob with the suspense and we spend as much time looking over our shoulders as we do straining out bodices She also does a superb Bonded by Sin job rendering the elaborate world of colonial India and its intrigues Many of Blood Lily suicier elements the mad Nizam the leprosy ridden Prime Minister are culled straight from history and rendered in perfect Prime Minister are culled straight from history and rendered in perfect But the plot itself I m sorry to say is at times not uite up to her usual standard I did keep guessing until the end who the Marigold was a first for me but the reveal was something of a letdown I can t say much without spoiling it but we do not get the sense here as we do in her other books of the villain s drive Instead of the mastermind behind a great conspiracy we find someone who seems to have merely stumbled into a great conspiracy She also leaves several very blatant loose ends Chekov famously said that one should not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it In other words objects introduced in a story must be used later on or else not included There are two loaded guns here big ones that are never fired and whose lack of use definitely contributed to my feeling not uite satisfied when I turned the last page A debt that is never repaid An enemy who never strikes To say would reveal too much so I ll ust say that a red herring is one thing a dead end is another Don t get me wrong I really enjoyed this book It s actually a testament to how far Willig has come as a novelist that I m nit picking and griping about the spy plot which in her first few books served as a backdrop to the romance than a principal player As accomplished a writer as she now is I can t help but feel that she should know better In terms of the writing itself that she should know better In terms of the writing itself Blood Lily is Willig s best yet Her prose which was charming but light in her first book has become nuanced rich and elegant Her characters are vibrant and pointedly realized her atmospheres are lush and her descriptions one in particular of a bloated corpse at times approach the poetic Her dialogue always a strong point is pitch perfect and sparkles with echoes of Waugh and Wodehouse And like Waugh and occasionally Wodehouse her writing is also earnest and poignant when called for We may laugh when Penelope lays into Freddy but we cringe when he sets her down and betrays her trust There is style but there is also real emotional substanceThis series is one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads It s light without being too light the intellectual s answer to the dime store romance Perhaps it won t come as a surprise that the series came about as an escape for Willig from her own dissertation research It is by definition escapist literature the perfect getaway for those of us who want to take a break from the real world and fall blissfully into the past where the men are swashbuckling and the women run the showPierre de Ronsard Renaissance France s answer to Ariosto wrote History only recounts things the way they are or were without disguise or ornamentthe Poet contents himself with the plausible to that which could be This is what I see Willig a former Ph D candidate doing She loves history really "loves it to the point where she has to make it come alive and imagine what these people "it to the point where she has to make it come alive and imagine what these people have said could have thought could have done Her books are impeccably researched down to the type of knee breeches Lord Freddy would have worn and impeccably imagined down to what Lord Freddy would have said at breakfast You can t help but feel that these characters must have lived and what s you wish that they did And that is what historical fiction is all aboutA merry romp and a surprisingly evocative and accomplished book Grad students past and present especially ought to dive in as her. Ues of the Nizam of Hyderabad where no one is uite what they seem New to this strange and exotic country where a dangerous spy called the Marigold leaves venomous cobras as his calling card she can trust only one man Cap.