From Publishers Weekly
In the fourth installment of the Pink Carnation series, Mary Alsworthy suddenly finds herself on the outside of polite society after her younger sister, Letty, marries Mary's intended. Partly from boredom, partly from fascination, Mary accepts the advances of spy master Lord Vaughn when he asks her to help uproot a French spy called the Black Tulip who has a weakness for dark-haired women. As it turns out, the Black Tulip is no longer interested just in beautiful companions; he demands a sacrifice of Mary that she is reluctant to make. Navigating both the world of high society, where, if Mary doesn't find a husband soon she'll be doomed to live off her sister's charity, and the underworld, Mary may only realize too late that the Black Tulip is more connected to her than she ever imagined. This historical romance is filled with witty repartee and arch conversations between Mary and Vaughn, leaving no doubt as to the story's conclusion. Though the occasional jumps to the modern-day travails of Eloise Kelly, a grad student researching the Vaughn family for her dissertation, are as jarring as ad breaks in the middle of a film, the novel handily fulfills its promise of intrigue and romance. (Feb.)
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The fourth installment in Willig’s Pink Carnation series finds beautiful, ambitious Mary Allsworthy still smarting from her sister Letty’s inadvertent theft of her suitor in The Deception of the Emerald Ring (2007). At the suggestion of the Pink Carnation, the imperious Lord Vaughn recruits Mary to help him uncover the identity of the Black Tulip, a French spy who threatens England’s interests. As determined as Mary is to find a husband, Lord Vaughn, a widower, is equally determined not to succumb to her charms, creating a palpable friction between the two. The closer they get to their goal of finding the Black Tulip, the more their adversarial feelings dissolve into attraction, even love, just as a secret from Vaughn’s past threatens to keep them apart forever. In the present, graduate student Eloise Kelly delves deeper into the archival papers to discover the Black Tulip’s identity. Willig’s series gets better with each addition, and her latest is filled with swashbuckling fun, romance, and intrigue. --Kristine Huntley