Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
Author: Lauren Willig
Series: Pink Carnation (Book 10)
Publication: NAL; 7.7.2013 edition (August 6, 2013)

Description: Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed at an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates.

Because she served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England’s most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she’s just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation’s little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl’s disappearance.

Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen’s partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls….

My Thoughts: How wonderful that Miss Gwen finally moves from side character to star! When Jane Wooliston's younger sister Agnes disappears from her English boarding school along with her friend Lizzie Reid, Jane and Gwen head off to England to find them. Joining them in their search is Colonel William Reid, newly arrived from India and expecting to find his daughter safely at school.

All of a sudden there are French spies, missing jewels, and Gothic novels all competing for time on stage. Gwen and William track his older daughter to a hovel where she takes in laundry to support her grandmother who is having memory issues. They also attract footpads which results in William being stabbed and he and Miss Gwen taking shelter in a dubious inn until he heals. This gives William a chance to get to know someone other than the imperious Miss Gwen.

I liked that this one brought together earlier plot threads like the missing Jewels of Berar and William's son Jack who is also the Moonstone. I liked that many chapters began with excerpts from Gwen's Gothic novel. I also liked getting to know more about Gwen's backstory and how she became the formidable character we've seen through earlier novels in this series. Colonel William Reid is also a pretty fascinating character who is receiving all kinds of shocks when he arrives in England. I liked getting to know him better. He makes a great partner for Miss Gwen.

The current storyline is also concerned with finding those still-missing Jewels of Berar and has Eloise and Colin very reluctantly teaming up with cousin Jeremy.

Favorite Quote:
Gwen was tempted to point out that Colonel Reid wasn't a rogue of a Frenchman with dubious antecedents. No. He was a rogue of an American with dubious offspring. Since that argument wasn't going to go very far, she stuck her nose in the air and said, "Do what you like. It's no concern of mine."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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