Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review: The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

The Orchid Affair
Author: Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation (Book 8)
Publication: NAL; Reprint edition (January 20, 2011)

Description: Veteran governess Laura Grey joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling adventures in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation. She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of André Jaouen, right-hand man to Bonaparte's minister of police.

At first the job is as lively as Latin, but Laura begins to notice Jaouen's increasingly strange behavior. As Laura edges closer to her employer, she is surprised to learn that she has much in common with him. And Jaouen finds he's hired more than he's bargained for...

My Thoughts: After sixteen years as a governess, Laura Grey changes career paths, attends the Selwick Spy School, is rechristened as the Silver Orchid, and sent off to France to become the governess of Andre Jaouen who is one of Fouche's protegees. Things go pretty well until she discovers a plot to kidnap or assassinate Bonaparte and put a Bourbon back on the throne.

Part of Jaouen's role is to keep track of the artistic crowd in Paris. After all, his first wife was a noted painter before her death. He invites Laura to attend which causes her to meet people who were part of her childhood. Her parents were a famous sculptor and a famous poet who dragged her all over Europe until their deaths when she was sixteen. When one of their friends, painter Daubier, is arrested by Jaouen's rival Delaroche, the plot threatens to unravel and make it necessary for Jaouen to rescue him, grab his family, grab the Bourbon Prince, and leave Paris.

Laura calls on her fellow English spies to find a way to get all of them to safety. They find themselves traveling with a theatrical troop as they make their way to the coast and safety. I liked the way Jaouen and Laura grow closer as they travel together. Being forced to pretend to be husband and wife adds to their tension but also forces them to learn about each other.

In the present timeline, Eloise and Colin travel to France to celebrate his mother's birthday. Eloise is apprehensive but grossly underestimates just how horrible the situation really is. Luckily, it makes her relationship with Colin even stronger.

I can't wait to find out what happens next in the present and in the 1800s.

Favorite Quote:
Ha. If my relationship with my dissertation was a love affair, we're talking one of those gloomy, nineteenth-century ones where everyone dies of consumption at the end and there's supposed to be a moral, but you can't quite figure out what it is, other than to make sure to insulate your garret and stay away from large bottles of laudanum. In short, it didn't love me back. The topics was dashing, it was glamorous, it was [insert your own adjective here], but like so many objects of affection, it had proved illusive.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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