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The Masque of the Black Tulip

April 1, 2009

The Masque of the Black TulipThe Masque of the Black Tulip is the second book in Lauren Willig’s historical fiction slash chick lit series on spies during Napoleon’s reign in France. This book picked up directly where the first book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, left off. After successfully unmasking the identity of the Pink Carnation, one of England’s spies from the 1800’s, with the help of Mrs. Selwick-Adlerly (a direct descendant of another famous spy) Eloise now finds herself at Selwick Hall, an old family estate, looking through more archives. This time she is on the hunt for the elusive French spy the Black Tulip.

Mrs. Selwick-Alderly’s nephew, Colin, has brought Eloise to Selwick hall so she can continue her research. Colin isn’t as enthusiastic about sharing the family archives with a virtual stranger, even if this is Eloise’s only chance to finish her dissertation. Even though the two of them are at odds, there is an undeniable chemistry between them.

The Masque of the Black Tulip: A NovelThe real story though is the one that Eloise has come to uncover. In reading the archives, Eloise comes to discover letters and information about two people closely linked to the Pink Carnation – Lady Henrietta Selwick and Miles Dorrington. Henrietta has been trying to get  into the league of spies even before her older brother Richard was outed as the famous Purple Gentian. Miles, Richard’s best friend, is tired of riding on his buddies coat-tales and wants the chance to make a splash on the spy scene. When the infamous French spy the Black Tulip starts to creep around England, Henrietta and Miles see this as their chance to shine. But will emerging feeling between the two interfere with their a-spying?

I first read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (which I reviewed here) with my book club last year. We all agreed that it was a light, fun read. I almost immediately went out and purchased book number two, The Masque of the Black Tulip, which I finally had the chance of reading the other day. Just like the first book, I enjoyed number two immensely. I love the fact that the author doesn’t take herself too seriously. What could be a “run of the mill” book is elevated into a novel that has a lot going for it.  There is plenty of sexual tension, hiding in dark alleyways spying on one another and trying to navigate the British social scene to keep a reader happy. Forget dry recounting of spies in the 1800’s – Willig adds enough humor, sex and banter between characters to keep you turning the pages. Whether the story is of present day Eloise and Colin, or flashbacks of Miles and Henrietta’s high-jinx, this historical fiction book with chick lit flair was a hard one to put down. Total escapist style historical fiction at its best. I am definitely going to pick up number three, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, very soon.

On another note, don’t forget my giveaway I posted about the other day. You still have a few days to enter to win Therese Fowler’s books, Souvenir and Reunion.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2009 5:25 pm

    I need to add these to my TBR list!

  2. April 1, 2009 5:48 pm

    I’m off to add these to my goodreads wishlist RIGHT NOW. They look fun and I haven’t read any historical fic in so long.

  3. April 1, 2009 11:00 pm

    i cannot figure out how i miss all these good books! i’m so happy to read blogs that steer me to the good stuff. 🙂

  4. April 2, 2009 5:16 pm

    I’ll have to see about picking the first one up. Thanks!

  5. April 2, 2009 9:42 pm

    These sound pretty intriguing! Thanks for the review and the heads up about this series.

  6. April 5, 2009 1:21 am

    I’ve enjoyed this series, but I think I’m two behind!

  7. April 8, 2009 1:10 am

    I have a soft spot for Historical Fiction. These books sound absolutely amazing, I am adding them to my to read / buy pile. I am so glad Twitter gave me all these amazing book blogs to follow in my RSS reader.

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