The Masque of the Black Tulip
Eloise Kelly is an American graduate student doing her dissertation work in London. She is researching the mystery of the Pink Carnation, the successor to the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian in the war against Napoleon and the French. She has learned the identification of the Pink Carnation. Now she follows the Selwick family history to learn more of the tale and the Pink Carnation's exploits.
Henrietta Selwick is frustrated. Her brother, Richard, had been the Purple Gentian. After he was exposed he has returned to England and married. She isn't allowed to help with the spying or to stay in France to help the Pink Carnation. But she can and does get coded letters and pass on news to the English War Office. Plus, she realizes she has fallen in love with Richard's best friend Miles.
Miles Dorrington is also frustrated. Richard has retired to the country for his honeymoon. Miles had not been allowed to join the Scarlet Pimpernel or Purple Gentian in their secret trips to Paris because he was identifiable. Because of his exceptional height he stands out too much so instead he stays in London and works with the War Office. When the Pink Carnation reports a new spy has sneaked into London society. He is excited for the chance to unmask the Black Tulip. Also, the search for the spy will help take his mind off his best friend's sister, Henrietta.
Miles and Henrietta both get busy trying to find the man that has joined London society freshly from Paris. At the same time, Miles continues watching over Henrietta, a task he had promised Richard to do years earlier. Now the favor for a friend is distracting him from discovering the identify of the Black Tulip.
I had a lot of fun with the first book in this series, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. But with this one, while still fun, kept putting one word into my head through the first 3/4 of the book - dumb. Miles and Henrietta dance around each other in the ignorance and fear that annoys me in romance novels. The Black Tulip's identity is obvious to the reader after reading the first book. This is a book to cheer the reader up as long as the reader doesn't expect too much from the tale.
Notice: Explicit sexual situations
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
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