The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation Series #9)

The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation Series #9)

by Lauren Willig

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Overview

In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig's bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon's invasion of England.

Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can't bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.

New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus's side. An old school friend of Napoleon's stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus's poetry.

As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend's entertainment.

Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She'll do anything to postpone the decision-even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte's house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted- especially Augustus's feelings for Emma.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525952541
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 02/16/2012
Series: Pink Carnation Series , #9
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lauren Willig is the bestselling author of eight previous Pink Carnation novels. She received a graduate degree in English history from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, though she now writes full-time. Willig lives in New York City.

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

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher


“Readers will be pleased to see the spy who inspired the series in action and will enjoy the charming, witty rapport between Augustus and Emma.”
-Booklist

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig’s bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon’s invasion of England.

Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can’t bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.

New York–born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus’s side. An old school friend of Napoleon’s stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus’s poetry.

As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top–secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment.

Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She’ll do anything to postpone the decision–even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte’s house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted– especially Augustus’s feelings for Emma.

 


ABOUT LAUREN WILLIG

Lauren Willig is a law student and Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University. She is the author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • What was your first impression of Emma Delagardie? How did your feelings toward her change throughout the story?
  • How are Emma and Eloise alike? How are they different? Do you think any of these differences arise from the social norms of their periods, and if so, which ones?
  • Discuss the differences in social etiquette in Paris and New York. Why does Emma feel more of an affinity to Paris? Why does she feel like she can’t return home?
  • How is the theme of loss addressed in The Garden Intrigue?
  • “He donned rhyme like armor, keeping her at bay. She could have told him he didn’t need to. She flirted without thinking. That was armor, too.” Discuss how various characters in The Garden Intrigue used spectacle and armor—and the forms their armor took—to conceal their true selves from society.
  • Did you know much about Napoleon’s court at Malmaison prior to reading The Garden Intrigue? What surprised you most?
  • Discuss the presence of past lovers in The Garden Intrigue. How did the characters behave themselves when they encountered one another? Would exes of today behave in a similar manner?
  • Compare Augustus Whittlesby’s relationships with Jane and Emma. What affected his choice in the end?
  • How might the course of history have changed if Napoleon had liked Robert Fulton’s invention?
  • “Women seldom fare well in printed history.” Do you feel this is true? If so (or not), who are some examples (counterexamples)?
  • Discuss the future of Colin and Eloise’s relationship. Do you think they will be able to stay together after Eloise leaves? Why or why not?
  • Is there really a Treasure of Berar? Do you think Colin and Eloise will find it before Jeremy does?
  • Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    The Garden Intrigue 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
    firesidereader2 More than 1 year ago
    This, unfortunately, is not one of the author's best; in fact, I was pushing to get through it by about the middle. The main characters are just not that likable, and the plot didn't keep my interest. I really liked most of the earlier books, to perhaps varying degrees, but this one disappointed. Hope Ms. Willig gets her vibe back for the next one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I have greatly enjoyed this series but this book was not one of the best. The modern storyline is feeling pretty forced at this point while the historical storyline in this one is just kind of flat. I hate to say this because I do love the series but I'm starting to worry it has jumped the shark.
    nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I just can't get enough of Willig's carnation series lately. Her books are fun and refreshing, with sweet couples and witty dialogue and happy endings; they are excellent escape reads. I also met the author recently (while I was reading this book) and she was such a charming and friendly person that I now like her books even more. Yet on to the review.Garden Intrigue follows the espionage and romantic woes of Augustus Whittlesby, atrocious poet, brilliant spy. Actually, the bad poet bit is all part of his cover, allowing him to send messages from France back to England in verse just bad enough that the French police won't read it, but not bad enough to raise suspicion. Whittlesby is so good at his job that he has been stationed in France for a long time. Quite long enough to begin to detest his role, which started out as a fun lark and now drives him mad. To make matters worse, he has to pretend to be in love with the Pink Carnation as part of his cover as French poet, when in actuality he is in love with Jane, and doesn't know how to tell her that it is more than an act.Jane, however, is not the heroine of this book. That honor is bestowed on Emma Delgardie, an American widow living in France. She's new to the series, with a teaser appearance in the last book, but we've seen Augustus
    BookDivasReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    People are not always the way the seem, and Augustus Whittlesby and Emma Delagardie are perfect examples of this fact. Augustus has spent ten years in France as a agent for Britain. He's been undercover all that time posing as a poet, a very bad poet at that. The last years have been spent writing and reciting his ode to Jane Wooliston entitled "The Perils of the Pulchritudinous Princess with the Azure Toes." To most of French society, Augustus is considered harmless and this is fortunate as it provides him the opportunities to obtain the information needed to thwart France. Regrettably, Augustus has spent so much of his time pretending to be in love with Jane Wooliston, that he now believes himself to actually be in love with her. That is until he begins to spend time with another woman, Emma Delagardie.Emma is an outcast to her family because of her elopement with her husband. She then behaved liked a spoiled brat and left her husband to participate in French society. Fortunately she grew up, reunited with her husband and actually came to know him, respect him as well as love him before his untimely death. She is friends with Bonaparte's wife and stepdaughter and spends a lot of time entertaining. In her efforts to please, she has been volunteered to put on a small play for the Emporer Napolean, his family and courtiers. Emma, in turns, volunteers Augustus to assist in writing the play.The close proximity provides an opportunity for both Emma and Augustus to realize that neither is as bad as they seem. It also provides a great opportunity for Augustus to observe and report on what is happening with the Emporer from closer quarters. Can Emma and Augustus see beyond the public masks/personas they both wear? There's also more revealed about the modern romance between Eloise and Colin. THE GARDEN INTRIGUE is the ninth volume in the "Pink Carnation series" from Ms. Willig. As with previous volumes, the international intrigue is a main part of the story line but the romance is also front-and-center. Although the "pink carnation" isn't an authentic historical figure, the historical aspects included of the ongoing intrigues between France and Britain are entertaining. The ongoing romantic story of Eloise and Colin provides a great launching point for each of the historical romances. The question that seems to loom after reading each book in this series is what will happen once Eloise completes her educational research and returns to the States? Fortunately, Ms. Willig hasn't provided an answer to that question just yet, and hopefully more can be expected in the future.
    ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I'm strongly addicted to Lauren Willig's work. She's super talented and each of her Pink Carnation books holds something new and excited that will keep the reader hooked from start to finish. Having read all her other Pink Carnation books, I totally could not wait for this book to release. So, when the chance came up to read it, WOW! I was definitely NOT disappointed and swept away once again to the land of Lauren Willig's fantabulous characters and plot lines. This is most definitely one of the BEST historical novels that is blended with the PERFECT amount of spies and adventure! I loved Emma's character. She's a widow living in France, and her friends are Jane and Hortense (oh the poor dear! LoL!). Hortense's father, rather step-father-none other than the famed Napolean Bonaparte, enlists Emma in a job.....a job of writing a masque for Napolean's party. So, Emma's on a hunt for help, and she crosses paths with none of the fabulous Augustus Whittlesby. Now, Augustus Whittlesby has a teensie little problem....he's the world's WORST poet! Oy vay! The indignity of it! The poor man should NOT be allowed to construct poems! But, you see, he has an ulterior motive. He's a spy....a secret spy with the Pink Carnations, and he's out to catch what Napolean Bonaparte is TRULY up to with this party. And what a wonderful spy he is! Watching Emma and Augustus's growing attraction for each other was awesome! There were laugh out loud moments and few, "are you kidding me?!" moments that will not be forgotten! The wonderful characters from the Pink Carnation series are back in this wonderful new installment I loved seeing Jane Wooliston again (poor Augustus has pined for her-until Ms. Emma Delgardie enters his life!) and Gwen Meadows. I definitely recommend this newest installment with the highest of 5 Books ratings! It's worthy, of course, of more, however. Ms. Willig created this novel with wit, charm, and suspense, leaving the reader a little breathless at the end, as another Pink Carnation case comes to an end. Like her others, however, she leaves the reader hanging just enough to know that the Carnations WILL be back with yet another fabulous story and I absolutely can NOT wait!!! If you're new to this series, do despair! This can be read as a stand alone as Ms. Willig does a greatastic job at keeping the reader up to date on the past points of the series. And, if you're familiar with the Pink Carnations, well, don't just sit there! GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!!! Well done, Ms. Willig! This review originated at Reviews By Molly in part with a blog tour.
    slanger89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    The Garden Intrigue takes place in France and centers around the relatable Emma Delagardie and the poet/spy Augustus Whittlesby. Emma is a flirtatious widow who knows a lot more than she lets on; even possibly about the secret machine Bonaparte is waiting for to use against England. Augustus, on the other hand, is a seemingly superfluous spy ;) whose feelings about Emma may lead him astray from the task at hand; discovering out about Bonaparte's secret machine. Overall, the characters are wonderful and funny and the plot races along so fast you can't put the book down. I recommend this series to people all the time and will continue to with this book
    readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Emma Delagardie, an widowed American in Napoleon's Paris, becomes involved with a very bad poet who is actually a spy, an associate of the Pink Carnation. Complications ensue.Fun, as always.
    SharonR53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Emma Delagardie is an American living in France during the Napoleonic era. She is a longtime friend of the emperor¿s stepdaughter, Hortense and has entrée to the court. Augustus Whittlesby is an excruciatingly bad poet who is also an agent in the Pink Carnation¿s network. He and the Pink Carnation have a mission to discover what the newest plot of Napoleon¿s is to attack Britain. It apparently involves some sort of new mechanical weaponry and it is essential that they find out. Whittlesby must ingratiate himself into Emma¿s circle so he can have access to the right people. Emma is not happy about having to work with Augustus when she becomes responsible for a masque to celebrate Napoleon¿s rumored ascension from First Consul to Emperor. Gradually the two discover that they have more than the masque in common and feelings change. There is added stress to the relationship from Emma¿s American relatives trying to pressure her to come back home and a French rogue who is pressuring her to marry him. Augustus has his work cut out for him both in the spy game and in his budding romance.One of the interesting plot devices that Ms. Willig uses in this series is the going back and forth from the time of the Pink Carnation to modern day England. By having American researcher Eloise Kelly doing research on the fabled Pink Carnation and having access to the historical papers of the Selwick family, you get to see another perspective on the main couple of the story. I enjoy the story between Eloise and Colin Selwick which has worked its way through all nine books. While the main story has a resolution, the relationship between Eloise and Colin remains in flux.I enjoyed the introduction of some American history in this book with Fulton¿s steam engine making an appearance. Emma and Augustus have a view of the turmoil that was going on during this particular time in French history and as always Ms. Willig weaves accurate historical facts into a wonderful romance with a hint of mystery. When I finish each book in the series I can¿t wait for the next one to come out!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Willig always delivers fun, romance, and a dash of spy, writing with intelligence and depth.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Jane_tx More than 1 year ago
    The 9th book of the Pink Carnation Series was great just as the previous books. I was disappointed it did not cover more of Eloise and Colin and more of the time Augustus and Emma spent together. I didn't understand how Augustus in love with Jane could so quickly realize he had feelings for Emma even if he does come to understand later what he felt for Jane was not love. Regardless I love it.
    FolkloverAK More than 1 year ago
    I just finished Lauren Willigs' newest in the Carnation Series "The Garden Intrigue" I loved it! I thought the plot was great, even though I had my reservations when I first read the synopsis, it seemed a little weird; however I always by Laurens books and am never disappointed. My only drawback in the whole book was that we didn't actually have much insight to the month Augustus and Emma spent writing the play. Also it was an extremely fast switch of affections from Jane (the Pink Carnation) to Emma which left my head spinning. It was hard for me to grasp that they were really that in love as a result. But I still really enjoyed it and will probably read it again, just as I reread all of her books on a regular basis.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    MollyzReviewz More than 1 year ago
    I'm strongly addicted to Lauren Willig's work. She's super talented and each of her Pink Carnation books holds something new and excited that will keep the reader hooked from start to finish. Having read all her other Pink Carnation books, I totally could not wait for this book to release. So, when the chance came up to read it, WOW! I was definitely NOT disappointed and swept away once again to the land of Lauren Willig's fantabulous characters and plot lines. This is most definitely one of the BEST historical novels that is blended with the PERFECT amount of spies and adventure! I loved Emma's character. She's a widow living in France, and her friends are Jane and Hortense (oh the poor dear! LoL!). Hortense's father, rather step-father-none other than the famed Napolean Bonaparte, enlists Emma in a job.....a job of writing a masque for Napolean's party. So, Emma's on a hunt for help, and she crosses paths with none of the fabulous Augustus Whittlesby. Now, Augustus Whittlesby has a teensie little problem....he's the world's WORST poet! Oy vay! The indignity of it! The poor man should NOT be allowed to construct poems! But, you see, he has an ulterior motive. He's a spy....a secret spy with the Pink Carnations, and he's out to catch what Napolean Bonaparte is TRULY up to with this party. And what a wonderful spy he is! Watching Emma and Augustus's growing attraction for each other was awesome! There were laugh out loud moments and few, "are you kidding me?!" moments that will not be forgotten! The wonderful characters from the Pink Carnation series are back in this wonderful new installment I loved seeing Jane Wooliston again (poor Augustus has pined for her-until Ms. Emma Delgardie enters his life!) and Gwen Meadows. I definitely recommend this newest installment with the highest of 5 Books ratings! It's worthy, of course, of more, however. Ms. Willig created this novel with wit, charm, and suspense, leaving the reader a little breathless at the end, as another Pink Carnation case comes to an end. Like her others, however, she leaves the reader hanging just enough to know that the Carnations WILL be back with yet another fabulous story and I absolutely can NOT wait!!! If you're new to this series, do despair! This can be read as a stand alone as Ms. Willig does a greatastic job at keeping the reader up to date on the past points of the series. And, if you're familiar with the Pink Carnations, well, don't just sit there! GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!!! Well done, Ms. Willig! This review originated at Reviews By Molly in part with a blog tour.
    csingh More than 1 year ago
    If you didn't already know, Lauren Willig is an amazing writer. I've been a huge fan of hers since her first book came out in 2005. Her books pack a powerful punch and contain some of my most favorite elements; romance, history, and intrigue, not specifically in that order. The Garden Intrigue is no different. Augustus Whittlesby has been in deep undercover in France for over a decade. He's been there for so long, he's no longer considered as a threat to Napoleon. After all he is a poet, and a very bad one at that. No one thinks him capable of such treachery. Instead, they all laugh at his horrible prose and him. The only one who challenges him is Emma Delgardie. She never lets him fully worship his Cytherea, the fair Ms.Jane Wooliston. It's only when Augustus is forced to spend time with Emma when he needs to get an invite to Malmaison where Napoleon is going to test out his secret weapon that will allow him to invade England, that either of them realize that the other is not what they seem. Meanwhile Eloise and Colin are trying to weather the invasion of Selwick Hall by inconsiderate movie people, all while Eloise is trying to figure out her next step. She's been offered a plush teaching job back home and she doesn't know what to do. Plus someone has been going through her files and e-mails, and lots of unwanted people are roaming the house. The book flows well and quickly and I found that I could not put it down until I had finished it. I was left wanting to know more. Especially as Ms.Willig left off just as Eloise and Colin reached some serious conclusions and a treasure search is/will be in progress! Unfortunately, I'll probably waiting for close to another year to find out!