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The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation Series #6)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    Deja vu?

    A handsome, principled English captain named Alex R. (for Reid) who must escort a young, titled, and married Englishwoman to the remote outpost in India where her rake of a husband has been appointed to a position for which he is frighteningly unqualified ... the extramarital consummation of a relationship that seems justified by the husband's cruelty to his wife ... the husband's subsequent death that allows the hero and heroine eventually to marry ... this must be M.M. Kaye's great novel, Shadow of the Moon! No ... it's The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. I fell in love with the first few books in the Pink Carnation series but had some concerns that the line between homage, inspiration or even wink-wink references to other novels (notably those of Jane Austen) was becoming blurred with too much borrowing. (How can anyone who calls herself an Austenite 'forget' that Donwell Abbey is Mr. Knightley's home?) That's one of the reasons I waited for the paperback of Blood Lily to come out in January - and I really am very disappointed this time. Shadow of the Moon (whose hero, for the record, is Captain Alex Randall) is one of the finest historical novels I have ever read, on a par with Gone With the Wind or Forever Amber in its breathtaking scope and meticulously detailed depiction of period and culture. For my money, it is a better book even than Ms. Kaye's well-known The Far Pavilions, which was loosely a sequel (it begins where Moon ends, and briefly mentions Captain Randall) and became a hugely successful bestseller and miniseries. Shadow of the Moon also gives the reader tremendous insight into the politics of India in the 1850s that continue to influence geopolitical dynamics today. (Granted, Ms. Willig's book is set earlier, but that is one of her few divergences.) For the record, an Army officer serving in India named 'Colonel Arbuthnot' - hardly a common name, and also that of a character from Shadow of the Moon - appeared in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. I looked in vain for some sort of acknowledgement by Ms. Willig that this book had been her inspiration; that would have made Blood Lily a lot more enjoyable. I don't believe Eloise's dissertation advisor would let her get away with this level of derivation without footnoting the original sources. Ms. Willig does acknowledge that's she's read M.M. Kaye, but says nothing more specific, and this story is way too close in significant respects not to make some sort of explicit homage to Shadow of the Moon. I love a good romp, and I think Ms. Willig has real talent for coming up with these romantic spy plots - she obviously does substantial historical research, which she does explain in her afterwords - but the uncredited employment of other authors' original ideas really bothers me. I don't think I will buy another of these books.

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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