Customer Reviews for

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

This is a great "Calgon, take me away!" book

Dashing masked and cloaked hero meets witty, resourceful heroine with a desire to defeat Napoleon and a dislike of sheep. If you like Julia Quinn, you will love Lauren Willig. The entire series is great

posted by KnuffleMama on January 28, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Never Again...

Wait... I know this feeling... it feels like... disappointment. I actually spent twenty dollars on this? What the heck? Okay, so I don't mind the whole romantic relationship thing, but come on! The author spent so much time describing the love/hate relationships, ...
Wait... I know this feeling... it feels like... disappointment. I actually spent twenty dollars on this? What the heck? Okay, so I don't mind the whole romantic relationship thing, but come on! The author spent so much time describing the love/hate relationships, that she almost spent no time at all on the acclaimed Pink Carnation. And to top it all off, I hated Amy. Sure, her brave and spunky, independent spirit was admirable but she's so impulsive and immature and just totally, 'Oh my gosh. That guy is, like, so hateful. But then again, he's the sexiest babe ever.' And the 'spicy' scenes were so outrageously scadalous it made me sick. Let's do it in the middle of the boat and in my arch enemy's room and out smack dab in the open of the courtyard. What. The. Crap. The only character I actually like is Jane who really deserved to be the main character of the story. Guh... *headbash* It's an unsolved case why this book wasn't placed in the romance section. If you're looking for historical thrill, action and adventure, you're in for a disappointment since all there is, is just hardcore love. But if you like that sort of stuff, go for it.

posted by Anonymous on January 9, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    Never Again...

    Wait... I know this feeling... it feels like... disappointment. I actually spent twenty dollars on this? What the heck? Okay, so I don't mind the whole romantic relationship thing, but come on! The author spent so much time describing the love/hate relationships, that she almost spent no time at all on the acclaimed Pink Carnation. And to top it all off, I hated Amy. Sure, her brave and spunky, independent spirit was admirable but she's so impulsive and immature and just totally, 'Oh my gosh. That guy is, like, so hateful. But then again, he's the sexiest babe ever.' And the 'spicy' scenes were so outrageously scadalous it made me sick. Let's do it in the middle of the boat and in my arch enemy's room and out smack dab in the open of the courtyard. What. The. Crap. The only character I actually like is Jane who really deserved to be the main character of the story. Guh... *headbash* It's an unsolved case why this book wasn't placed in the romance section. If you're looking for historical thrill, action and adventure, you're in for a disappointment since all there is, is just hardcore love. But if you like that sort of stuff, go for it.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A really good novel

    I read many reveiws, some good and some bad. I think by reading the reviews I was able to prepare myself and not set up so many expectations. I did really enjoy the book. It did not have a lot of depth and was similar to many romance novels that I have read but was a very fun read altogether. I plan on reading the other novels in this series because of how much I enjoyed. You do get wisked away to another world while reading this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a great "Calgon, take me away!" book

    Dashing masked and cloaked hero meets witty, resourceful heroine with a desire to defeat Napoleon and a dislike of sheep. If you like Julia Quinn, you will love Lauren Willig. The entire series is great

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2007

    Misleading marketing!

    Look, as a romance, it's adequate. As a historical novel, it's literary-lite. Which is fine, but that's not how this book is marketed at all! After the initial intriguing hoopla, I bought this book and have only gotten around to reading it after about a year. And I'm wondering to myself, is THIS what that was all about? Granted, the situations were charming, albeit quite silly, but the heroine was just plain stupid and she irritated me.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fine tale

    Harvard graduate student Eloise Kelly is writing her thesis on the early nineteenth century dashingly romantic English spies the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Purple Gentian, and especially the Pink Carnation. The first two were unmasked by Napoleon¿s agents as Sir Percy Blakeney and Lord Richard Selwick, but the identity of the Pink Carnation never was revealed. Eloise receives a grant to research her dissertation in England, so she ends her relationship with her boyfriend made easier when she caught him in the cloakroom with an art historian major.--- Eloise believes that the Pink Carnation is somehow related to the Selwick family of the Purple Gentian fame. She visits Mrs. Arabella Selwick-Alderly at Selwick Hall, who provides her with access to a large trunk filled with family letters from the Napoleonic era. Arabella suggests that Eloise start with the intriguing account of Amy Balcourt on a trip to Paris in 1803 where she meets Richard Selwick. As Amy and Richard play spy counter spy they share in common efforts to keep Napoleon from invading England and a growing attraction. Meanwhile in the present, Eloise plays historical spy counterspy with Colin Selwick, but where this romance will go only time will tell.--- This entreating tale occurs in two time periods with the brunt of the story line happening in the early nineteenth century. Readers will enjoy the Regency era gender battle between two fine protagonists yet also appreciate that this is being fed to the audience via present day characters in a chick lit setting. Though how easily she attains the letters seem odd as no outsider had access before, the dual themes merge into a finely blended fabulous romance.--- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    If you like the Scarlet Pimpernel, you'll HATE this book.

    How does stuff like this get published? I'm embarassed for the author. This book was a poor attempt to "imitate" (more like rip off) a classic. There is way too much of the main characters (Amy and Richard) and not enough of some other potentially interesting characters. Much of the dialogue was not befitting the time period. The story within a story just didn't work - the contemporary story was extraneous filler. The climax was so implausible and absurd that I could barely continue to the end. Most frustating was the one potentially interesting and exciting moment was skipped over completely (intercepting the gold). To my dismay, there is a whole Pink Carnation series which I won't be reading and you shouldn't either.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great way to start a series

    I picked up this book on CD for when I was traveling by car between California and Texas, a long ride. I was not disappointed in the story itself as created by Laura Willig. A history major, Ms. Willig had a dream of writing historically accurate fiction, and I believe that she has done that, but I am not as interested in the precise historical accuracy of the story line, as I am in the story itself. I enjoyed every minute of that!

    What made the book for me on this trip, however, was the reader, Kate Reading. Ms. Reading brought the characters and the story line to life with her dramatic flare and use of voices in different registers, no mean accomplishment. Just reading the book aloud well would not have done it without her ability to infuse it with meaning and interest. It led me to buy all of the other books on CD in the series, and now I have all the hardback books as well. Laura Willig and Kate Reading make an unbeatable combination for a book on CD! Let's face it, without a good story to begin with, this series would not have this appeal for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    If you like the Scarlet Pimpernel, you'll love this book.

    This book is a great extension of the Scarlet Pimpernel series and has as much intrigue and suspense as that book. I bought this book off the bargain table, on a whim, and am now anxious to read others in the series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2009

    Love it!

    This the first of Willig's novels that I have read. I couldn't put it down! I was thrilled with the book and can't wait to get the next book. I recommend this one to anyone that loves historical romance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Liked it!

    Good stuff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Fun take on Scarlet Pimpernel

    A light, easy read and a woman's view of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Engaging characters good descriptions and just plain fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Fun read

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Very Th Great read

    I really enjoyed this. Well written and kept my interest all the way

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Overall, a fun read!

    At times the book seemed to drag a little, and sometimes Amy and Richard were a little exhausting. However, the secondary characters were interesting, and I think I'd enjoy the later books about them more. Overall, it was a fun trip back into history, and kept me interested enough to try out the next one in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Excellent series, you will not regret getting this first book an

    Excellent series, you will not regret getting this first book and moving on to the whole series. I highly recommend the audiobooks read by Kate Reading. There is a great deal of humor that comes out in the audio, and Ms. Reading is a truly amazing amazing narrator with real voices. Some of the reviews don't like the Eloise/Colin storyline, but the audiobook narrator makes the transitions just fine. I actually really like that particular storyline.
    This is not a heavy sexual romance with major adult themes. Lighthearted and easy to flow along with, yet at the same time a really good story, which is missing in alot of the major romances out there. The characters do not spend pages and pages in angst and agony over stupid emotional hangups.
    I would recommend the Mischief with the Mistletoe as a first book on audio if you don't want to go with the whole series, it is a stand-alone novel that can be read without knowing anything about the other ones.

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stating the honest truth: I did not finish this book. I couldn┬┐

    Stating the honest truth: I did not finish this book.

    I couldn’t! The premise is there (it had previously been written) but the story and execution fall short. The whole thing was entirely too slow and I was overwhelmingly bored with the story. I just HAD to stop.

    The characters were simply ludicrous. Why would some random senseless girl suddenly have the bright idea to go and ask the surviving ancestors about the Pink Carnation when hundreds of scholars just failed to even comprehend that idea? The whole idea just is unfathomable to me. Every fiber of my being screamed that Lord Richard should not have survived, to invade the French Secret service with how incompetent he was was a miracle in itself. He was like a bull in a China shop, how did he manage NOT to get caught?!?!

    Maybe one day I’ll manage to pick this up again and get through it . . . maybe.

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book is such a fun read! The story is simple and romantic

    This book is such a fun read! The story is simple and romantic - perfect get away novel. Absolutely loved it, I intend to move on to the next in the series.

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  • Posted April 25, 2012

    Just a bodice ripper

    The idea behind this book should have been a lot of fun: Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel was not the only English aristocrat spying on the French. Another was the Purple Gentian. A young lady--a refugee from the French Revolution now living in England--and the female cousin she lives with have long wanted to be part of the Pimpernel and Gentian's band of adventurers.

    It is now the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and they go to France to spy on Napoleon. They tend to get in the way of the Purple Gentian as much as help him.

    For all this to work, the time it is set in has to come vividly to life, and the author gets some names and some facts correct, which add verisimilitude to the proceedings. All the characters, however, have far too much early twenty-first century attitudes, idioms and beliefs, and are a jarring anachronism in this early nineteenth century setting.

    This story should also have some swashbuckling, daring escapes--in short, some adventure. The author seems very little interested in matching this aspect of the Scarlet Pimpernel stories, and is far more interested in the feisty romance between the Purple Gentian and the young French émigré. To be fair, Orczy herself suffered a little from this imbalance, but I find that the present work suffers a great deal from it.

    Try one of the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron, and you'll find characters who much more believeably inhabit the time and society in which the Pink Carnation book is set. Try any novel of Rafael Sabatini (Captain Blood, Scaramouche, etc.) and you'll find a perfect mix of adventure and romance, and characters perfectly suited to their times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    The Pink Carnation series - wonderful

    Read this book cover to cover and continue with the next book in the Pink Carnation series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

    I enjoy reading suspensful Regency romances and this hit the mark. Added to that was an intriguing second plot set in the contemporary period. Both work well with the Regency plot alluding to successor books. The contemporary plot, that is more of a tease, is also continued in succeeding books, extending the suspense!All characters were well drawn and you cared about their experiences.

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