The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation Series #3)

The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation Series #3)

by Lauren Willig

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451222213
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2007
Series: Pink Carnation Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 250,848
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lauren Willig is the author of the New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series and a RITA Award-winner for Best Regency Historical for The Mischief of the Mistletoe. A graduate of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Hometown:

New York, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 28, 1977

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Education:

B.A., Yale University, 1999; M.A., Harvard University, 2001

Interviews

Heart to Heart Interview with Lauren Willig

Heart to Heart: Lauren, this book is just as much fun as the other two: full of action, espionage, history, and humor. And the forced marriage and inadvertent romance between Letty and Geoff is just great. Tell us how you made the decision to focus the plot around these two characters and the background of a possible Irish uprising in 1803.

Lauren Willig: Thank you! The Deception of the Emerald Ring arose out of two main inspirations: Georgette Heyer's Devil's Cub and Historical Studies B-57. Geoff, my otherwise intelligent hero, had formed an unfortunate attachment to a shallow fortune hunter named Mary Alsworthy. I desperately needed a way to extract him from it, but Geoff was too busy writing sentimental sonnets to Mary's eyes to notice another woman (much to the annoyance of his long-suffering friends, who disapproved of both the poetry and its object). Georgette Heyer came to the rescue, providing the notion of a botched elopement. Mary's little sister, Letty, was just what Geoff needed: honest, reliable, down-to-earth, and exactly the sort of person who wouldn't think twice before marching downstairs to try to break up an ill-advised elopement for the good of the family name. There was also a delicious irony in having my two most competent characters caught in the toils of an utterly ridiculous situation.

The Irish angle was equally felicitous and accidental. I stumbled across the rising of 1803 way back in 2002, while teaching Historical Studies B-57 (The Second British Empire) to two sections of bored Harvard undergrads. I was halfway through writing The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (set in the spring of 1803) and already knew that Geoff just had to have a book of his own -- and the minute I saw that July 1803 rising, I knew what Geoff's story was going to be. Just like that. I tracked down that footnote, did a little happy dance at the perfection of the timing, and stuck it all aside to be used later. Of course, at that point I didn't have (A) a completed manuscript of any kind or (B) a publisher. Geoff's story was a putative third book in a series that didn't even have a first book, so it's nothing short of miraculous to me that Emerald Ring is now out there in corporeal form. Every now and then, I have to pinch myself to make sure it's all real -- although I suppose it would be less painful to just pinch the book.

HtoH: One of your trademarks is the depth of historical detail. We know what the clothes are like, down to the buttons. We know what the furniture, the carriages, the food and drink are like. How do you research the historical background and details for your romances, and is it completely different from your research methods for academia?

LW: I spend a lot more time in museums than I used to. When I started writing my first book, Pink Carnation, I was surprised by how useless my selection of supposedly seminal texts on Georgian England proved to be. I quickly realized that the problem was that academic research focuses more on the why, while what one needs for fiction is the what. When I'm writing about my heroine riding in a curricle, I don't need to know why the transportation revolution of the 18th century came about or what it did to trade; I need to know what the curricle looked like, how one climbed up into it, and what it felt like to ride in it. My shelves are now crammed with museum catalogues, heavy manuals on antiques, glossy coffee table books with gorgeous pictures of the interiors of British mansions, specialty publications for authors of historical fiction, and other tomes that never darkened the history department library. Even so, old habits die hard. One of the best parts of writing Emerald Ring was getting to return to my old academic hunting grounds as I delved into the Irish rising of 1803, tracking the movements of the insurgents, their secret meetings, and their negotiations with Napoleon.

HtoH: Do you have any particularly favorite scenes in the book -- or scenes that were especially challenging to write?

LW: I have a weakness for side characters, the more ridiculous the better, and Emerald Ring afforded me many opportunities for them. Although Miss Gwen going after insurgents with a sword parasol (and a couple of stray chickens) is definitely up there on my personal top ten list, I'd say the bit I most enjoyed writing was Letty's parents' reaction when Geoff drags her home, compromised, in the middle of the night. One would expect a certain amount of parental consternation, but Letty's parents are so busy bickering with each other that Geoff can scarcely get a word in edgewise to utter his reluctant proposal of marriage. The scene also provided me with the means to demonstrate why Letty turned out the way she did. In a household where the natural authority figures are more childlike than their children, Letty was forced to become the practical one, and nothing shows that quite so well as watching the Alsworthys in action. And if Letty's parents remind anyone a bit of the Bennets from Pride and Prejudice…well, the overlap wasn't entirely coincidental.

HtoH: What's next? We hope you're working on a fourth volume in this series. Are any side characters demanding their own novel? And will your contemporary characters, Colin and Eloise, ever achieve a suitable romantic breakthrough?

LW: I'm working on Book IV right now -- and it's funny that you should mention characters demanding their own novels, because that's exactly what happened. Book IV was ruthlessly hijacked by Mary Alsworthy, Geoff's jilted beloved. Mary was meant to be the archetypal anti-heroine, the sort of girl we love to hate: selfish, scheming, and way too beautiful for her own good. But as I wrote Emerald Ring, I couldn't stop thinking about how Mary must feel in the aftermath of the botched elopement, the hurt and shame she must be experiencing beneath her brittle façade, all the more painful for being walled up behind her self-contained exterior. I was also intrigued by the notion of subverting the old stereotype of the perfectly beautiful heroine. Mary has the looks, but her very physical perfection has cramped her character and her perception of her own role in life. Helping her break out of that is proving a very interesting challenge.

As for Eloise and Colin, they're off on their first official date in Book IV. I can't say how it will go -- especially since that bit hasn't been written yet -- but I have high hopes for them!

Customer Reviews

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Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation Series #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
verbafacio on LibraryThing 29 days ago
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two in this series. I find Eloise to be a little tedious, and breeze through those chapters to get back to the historical action. I enjoyed watching Geoff and Letty work their way past their difficult beginning.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing 29 days ago
This is the third book in what Willig, on her website, calls The Pink Series, which takes place in a slightly A/U version of The Scarlet Pimpernel series. That is, A/U in comparison to Orczy's in that The Pimpernel continued to spy for England after the Terror until he was unmasked, and has now been followed by a series of other flowery-named spies. This is not great literature, but to be honest, neither was The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was a series of adventure/romances, and that's what the Pink series is, for readers of a hundred years later- and unlike Orczy, Willig can remember what her characters look like from book to book.But while I'll be reviewing The Scarlet Pimpernel series eventually, I'm not doing that now. In this book, Letty Alsworthy attempts to prevent her older sister Mary from eloping with Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, accidentally putting herself in a position where she must marry him instead. Immediately after the wedding, Geoffrey leaves her for Ireland. Attempting to minimize the embarrassment to herself and her family, Letty follows him, only to discover that he was not only attempting to avoid an unwanted wife, but joining the Pink Carnation in an attempt to prevent the French from using a rebellion there to gain a back door to invading England.First, the good. Letty isn't an obvious heroine, having been a very minor character in the first two books. She isn't particularly promising spy material, which makes her unlikely in this series, yet she's willing to defend herself, which puts herself leaps and bounds ahead of heroines in more traditional adventure stories. Nor is Geoff a likely hero. For all that he plays an active role in the Pink Carnation's plans here, he's more of a Clark Kent who disguises himself and acts as Superman when needed than a hero with a mild-mannered disguise.We're told that one day, Jane will get her own book, but for now I like that she's a prominent member of the supporting cast. It's much easier to forgive any ill-considered moves on the part of the heroine if the mastermind is somebody else.Then there's Vaughn, whom those who have read The Masque of the Black Tulip will remember. In the notes at the end of this book, Willig mentions that Vaughn is the character who seems most likely to show up unannounced at her apartment, and it shows. You can tell when somebody who was meant to be only a minor character hijacked the plot, and Vaughn has done it twice- and it's hard to resist them.The indifferent: Eloise and Colin. I'm not sure that they are necessary, but I don't find them particularly distracting, either.The touching on my personal pet peeves: I'm getting a little sick of women who are "too round" feeling unattractive because of it, and the hero assuring them (or monologuing to himself) that it's really much more desirable that way even if it's not fashionable. This is for two reasons: a) it's not like the women are ever genuinely heavy, and the author is really trying to subvert traditional standards of beauty, they're just curvy, combined with b) the notion that curvy women have ever really been out of fashion- show me a slender heroine who has small breasts to go with it. The last woman with wide hips and small breasts who had a man taking on the world for her was Anne Boleyn (and we know that didn't work out so well in the end). Those two factors together show that this is confirming a standard of beauty, not challenging it. But from some of the future heroines Willig has mentioned, this shouldn't be an omnipresent issue in the series.The bad: Willig has an unfortunate habit of forcing her nineteenth century characters to mimic modern expressions. "If all your friends were driving their carriages off bridges, would you do it, too?" (possibly a slight paraphrase) comes to mind. This could possibly be excused on the theory that Eloise was filling in details in her mind as she read the letters, but there are two reasons why I find that unsatisfactory.
hlsabnani on LibraryThing 29 days ago
So far this is my least favorite of the series. This doesn't mean it was bad, I just didn't think Letty and Geoff were as developed as they could be. I enjoyed that Letty seems to be an unusual heroine and her spunky attitude is nice. I'm glad that Geoff didn't end up with Mary!
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Not as good as the first two, but still a fun, quick read. Hope no. 4 is better!
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