Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla
Author: Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation (Book 11)
Publication: NAL (August 5, 2014)

Description: In October of 1806, the Little Season is in full swing, and Sally Fitzhugh has had enough of the endless parties and balls. With a rampant vampire craze sparked by the novel The Convent of Orsino, it seems no one can speak of anything else. But when Sally hears a rumor that the reclusive Duke of Belliston is an actual vampire, she cannot resist the challenge of proving such nonsense false. At a ball in Belliston Square, she ventures across the gardens and encounters the mysterious Duke.

Lucien, Duke of Belliston, is well versed in the trouble gossip can bring. He’s returned home to dispel the rumors of scandal surrounding his parents’ deaths, which hint at everything from treason to dark sorcery. While he searches for the truth, he welcomes his fearsome reputation—until a woman is found dead in Richmond. Her blood drained from her throat.

Lucien and Sally join forces to stop the so-called vampire from killing again. Someone managed to get away with killing the last Duke of Belliston. But they won’t kill this duke—not if Sally has anything to say about it.

My Thoughts: It is October of 1806 and Sally Fitzhugh, in her second Season, is bored with the social life she is living. When she hears that the long-lost Duke of Belliston has resurfaced and society is sure he is a vampire, she decides to investigate. Sally is a wonderful character. She is managing but has a heart of gold. She only interferes when she has someone's best interests in mind.

Lucien, Duke of Beliston, is in need of some interference. He left home when he was fifteen after his parents died in what was rumored to be a murder-suicide with his mother killing his father and then herself. He was twelve when it happened and no one would pay any attention when he said that they must have been murdered. He has come back to England after bumming around the Caribbean for a couple of years and then spending some years with an aunt in New Orleans. He is determined to find the person who murdered his parents.

However, that person is equally determined to get Lucien out of the way. His first attempt is to have Lucien discovered hovering over the body of a young woman who appears to have been killed by a vampire. Sally foils that attempt.

As she and Lucien investigate the young woman they find suspicious ties with Lucien's cousin Hal. Somehow the idea that the Black Tulip has made a reappearance excites the interest of Turnip, Lizzy Reid, Agnes Wooliston, and Mrs. William Reid, the former Miss Gwen who is now more famous as a Gothic novelist.

This one was full of wit and romance. I still want to know why Sally has such a prejudice against chickens. I loved the relationship that grew between Sally and Lucien who certainly had no intention of falling in love.

In the current storyline, it's near Halloween and Colin is coming for a visit with Eloise in Cambridge. Eloise is also presenting what she has of her dissertation to her adviser. Both of them are realizing that they aren't doing well apart but neither knows how they can be together when his life in at Selwick Hall and hers is in Cambridge.

This series keeps getting better and better.

Favorite Quote:
Between the rumors, the note, and the disposition of the body, Lucien had the uneasy sensation that he was the prime actor in a drama whose script was known to everyone but him.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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