Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

The Garden Intrigue
Author: Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation (Book 8)
Publication: NAL; Reprint edition (December 31, 2012)

Description: 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, eloped with a Frenchman, and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Now widowed, she entertains herself by 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. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted—especially Augustus’s unexpected feelings for Emma.

My Thoughts: Our favorite bad poet, spy Augustus Whittlesby, needs to get to Malmaison to find out what top-secret machine is being demonstrated there. His ticket in is Emma Morris Delagardie who is New York born but an old school friend of Josephine's daughter Hortense. Emma has been quite a vocal critic of Augustus's poetry but she definitely likes the way he wears his pantaloons. She agrees to collaborate with him on a masque to be performed during the house party.

Emma is convinced the Augustus is in love with Jane who is the Pink Carnation. Augustus is pretty sure that he loves her too. Jane isn't interested which leads to some heartbreak for both Augustus and Emma who is sure that he will never see her as anything but a friend.

There are all kinds of fun hijinks at the house party as they prepare for the play, discover and steal Fulton's plans for a submarine, and fall in love. There are all kinds of misunderstandings until both Augustus and Emma decide what they really want and decide to take a chance on each other.

In the present timeline, a movie is being shot a Selwick Hall which has Colin upset. It doesn't help that his cousin/stepfather is hanging around the crew as is the man who dated and dumped Colin's sister just to get a chance to look at the Selwick papers. Eloise is coming to the end of her Fellowship year in England and has to decide whether to go back to Cambridge for a teaching position as she works on her thesis.

This is a fun series. I like the way it weaves a historical romance with a contemporary one.

Favorite Quote:
Undaunted, Miss Gwen stalked forward, her knee-high boots revealing a surprisingly spry figure. A gold ring bobbed in one ear as she said, with relish, "Wheat and berries? Deer? What is he? A gentleman or a gamekeeper?" She hoisted her cutlass imperiously in the air, like a ship showing its colors. "Turn him down and impound his ship, that's what I say."

"Er..." Emma looked from Miss Gwen to Augustus.

They hadn't even got to the pirate part yet and this was already turning from a rehearsal into a mutiny.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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