My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the eighth book in Ms. Willig’s Pink Carnation espionage series and as all Willig’s books do, this one centers on a strong female character who seeks a life of adventure and purpose. As in real life when one decides to make a life-altering change, Laura Grey, our heroine, must find the courage within herself to live outside of her comfort zone. Beneath the shield of her governess grey dress is a beautiful, spirited, and intelligent woman who can help the Pink Carnation in France by spying on Andre Jaouen, the deputy minister of police. But just as Laura is not showing all that she is, neither is Jaouen. Soon Andre and Laura acknowledge that life in post-revolution France is not safe for either of them. Andre had such hopes in the Citizens’ Revolution to bring freedom to the people. But time proved that what replaced the French aristocracy was a Reign of Terror filled with political in-fighting and run by a revolutionary dictatorship that would ultimately purge France of somewhere between 16,000 to 40,000 of its citizens.
Willig always weaves her stories into the historical background so that you feel the intrigue and terror of simply breathing in that era. The secondary characters are rich and lively so that you hope they’ll show up in a future book to tease you again. The romance builds with humor, fear, doubt, and passion. The mystery is shadowed with intrigue, murder, and spies. The only complaint could be that each book is such a joy to read that stories end too quickly and the wait is too long until the next adventure of the Pink Carnation.
I was filled with introspection as I read The Orchid Affair however, as history could be repeating itself right now with the recent uprising in Egypt. While I support the pursuit of democracy in any country, I fear a country that does not have a plan for what comes after the revolution. As the various political stakeholders vie for power in the new Egypt, I pray that they know their world history. Regardless of the government in power – humans will run it. We are ambitious beings. Whether it is a dictatorship who rules with an iron fist or a democracy ruled by an overwhelming majority party, absolute power corrupts. Absolutely.
From Lauren Willig’s office website, this is the author’s recommended reading order for the Pink Carnation series:
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (spring 1803)
- The Masque of the Black Tulip (spring/summer 1803)
- The Deception of the Emerald Ring (summer 1803)
- The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (autumn 1803)
- Ivy and Intrigue: A Very Selwick Christmas (Christmas, 1803)
- The Mischief of the Mistletoe (winter 1803)
- The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (winter 1803/spring 1804)
- Bunny & Biscuits: A Very Dorrington Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Day 1804)
- The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (autumn 1804)
- The Orchid Affair (spring 1804)
- The Garden Intrigue (summer 1804)
- The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (spring 1805)