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The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Pink Carnation series Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Lauren Willig
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Now in paperback?a novel that ?handily fulfills its promise of intrigue and romance.?(Publishers Weekly)

Determined to secure another London season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation. She must infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England. Every spy has a weakness and for the Black Tulip that weakness is beautiful black-haired women?his ?petals? of the Tulip. A natural at the art of seduction, Mary easily catches the attention of the French spy, but Lord Vaughn never anticipated that his own heart would be caught as well. Fighting their growing attraction, impediments from their past, and, of course, the French, Mary and Vaughn find themselves lost in a treacherous garden of lies.

And as our modern-day heroine, Eloise Kelly, digs deeper into England?s Napoleonic-era espionage, she becomes even more entwined with Colin Selwick, the descendant of her spy subjects.




Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 412 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525950338
  • Publisher: NAL; Reprint edition (January 31, 2008)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000UZJR8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,330 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite So Far February 7, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This book, the fourth in the series, centers around Lord Vaughn and Mary Alsworthy, the older sister of Letty, the heroine of the last novel. When this book opens, the vain and self-centered Mary is still reeling from being jilted by Geoffrey, a former suitor who ended up marrying Letty. Although not brokenhearted (Mary's interest in Geoffrey was purely financial), Mary is still bitter over the fact that after several seasons, she is remains unmarried. Afraid she is about to end up a spinster, she agrees to help Lord Vaughn, an elusive, sardonic rake who is constantly quoting (and misquoting) Shakespeare, attempt to capture the French spy who calls him/herself The Black Tulip.

As the action unfolds-- and there is a lot of suspense in this installment-- Mary and Vaughn are drawn to each other, although they fight against their growing attraction. Many of their exchanges are reminiscent of Rhett/Scarlett or Benedick and Beatrice in that they spar and flirt, while still guarding their feelings. Eventually they fall in love, but their romance is not conventional-- in fact, there isn't even a real love scene between them (my only real disappointment with this book. It was a glaring absence).

While I was reading "The Seduction of the Crimson Rose," I thought that it would likely generate a lot of mixed reviews, largely because Mary and Vaughn are not conventional protagonists. Also, although there are romantic scenes, both characters are so pragmatic that they don't get swept away in the manner of the pairings in the other three "Pink Carnation" books. This is not to say, however, that there aren't romantic scenes. They are, and they are sweet, although still in keeping with the characters' more emotionally reticient natures.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a very entertaining read February 10, 2008
By tregatt
Format:Hardcover
Like the previous reviewer, I enjoyed "The Seduction of the Crimson Rose" very much and also thought that it was probably the best installment in the series so far -- perhaps it was because Lord Vaughn reminded me so much of some of my favourite Georgette Heyer heroes, or perhaps it was because the modern bits of this novel was limited to the bare minimum -- charming and amusing though the bits pertaining to Eloise Kelly are, I did find myself skimming through those few chapters in order to read more about Miss Mary Alsworthy and Lord Vaughn. Whatever the reason, I'm recommending "The Seduction of the Crimson Rose" as an enjoyable must read.

Her pride and self-confidence already shot when the gentleman she had chosen to be her husband, Lord Pinchingdale, accidentally ends up marrying her less beautiful younger sister, Letty ("The Deception of the Emerald Ring"), the beautiful Mary Alsworthy finds that she is willing to consider any enterprise that will not make her financially dependent on her sister and her new brother-in-law. Which is why, when the jaded and sardonic Lord Vaughn comes to her on behalf of the Pink Carnation with a plan to flush out the dreaded French agent, the Black Tulip. Of course this would mean having to spend more time with the infuriating Lord Vaughn, but Mary is willing to put up with the rake if it will help her achieve her aims. The last thing she expected was to find herself entangled with the many secrets of Vaughn's past, or that she would come to rely and care for him...

I really enjoyed Vaughn and Mary as a couple: their interactions sparkled with wit, energy and sexual tension, and it was this chemistry between the two principal characters that made the book such a wonderfully entertaining read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seductive, yet... February 7, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I have read, re-read and enjoyed all of the previous books in this series, and eagerly waited for this one to be published. As a good page-turning read it did not disappoint. This is certainly the most well-written of Willig's books to date -- the action is exciting, the story line compelling and without the plot holes that plagued the earlier books.

All the same,I just didn't like it as much as the earlier installments -- and that is largely because I did not find the main characters sympathetic. Willig tries hard to humanize the very prickly Mary and Lord Vaughn, but even their romance does not make them seem less shallow and selfish. One of the best thing about the carnation books has been the flawed but endearing heroines -- and Mary doesn't fit into their ranks any better than she does in the scene where she stands painfully outside their circle of friendship at a party.

That said, the Eloise and Colin chapters positively shine in comparison. Eloise is at her most endearing, Colin charming and far more human, and there is an actual plot developing with the introduction of a "bad guy" to the scene.

All in all, this book is well worth the read, and certainly advanced the action a good way forward. I'll look forward to a return to a more appealing heroine in the next installment -- perhaps sweet, shy Charlotte will finally get her long promised man?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most interesting leads yet April 11, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From reading other reviews, it seems that a lot of people are disappointed with the leads, Mary and Vaughn, because they aren't immediately sympathetic, in that they don't value romantic, sentimental expression over everything else. As Willig herself notes, these characters draw instead on a different tradition of expression-- that of wit. The exchanges between Vaugn and Mary are sharp and sparkling. Rather than seduce each other by admiring their physical qualities, or their open expression, they seduce each other through barbed flirtations and verbal sparring-- they're excited by trying to get the last word. It's a nice change from the warmer, fuzzier romances of the first three novels, and, IMO, proves that there's more than one way to connect with a potential mate! One of the best aspects of this installment was seeing other characters through Mary and Vaughn's more cynical world view; earlier romantic leads are recast as naive and sentimental, and their obvious expressions of love as overly sweet. Who hasn't felt a little jaded when faced with too many PDAs?! Vaughn and Mary don't discount the virtues of other characters, they just don't value them as highly as the ability to maneuver situations to one's own advantage. This makes it all the more entertaining when they find themselves developing more tender feelings for one another. These are two flawed and self-interested people, who, when they meet their match, realize that sometimes their interests are better served by thinking about what's best for someone else!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet!
The best of the series so far! Loved everything about this particular installment of the Pink Carnation series! Read more
Published 2 months ago by moseylion
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Regency Fluff
These are easy reads. About 10 percent power of Jane Austen. About 25 percent power of Georgette Heyer. So some good Regency fluff with a bit of historical accuracy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by VICTORIA KULIFAY
5.0 out of 5 stars A great series
Willig does a wonderful job bringing that time period to life. The characters are engaging and she weaves the story lines together with great care.
Published 9 months ago by Anonymouse
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate
I've read all the books in the series up to this one. Maybe the storyline is getting old? Just not as witty as her previous books nor as riveting. As a matter of fact... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ntbtebmkb
5.0 out of 5 stars Lauren Willig
I've read the entire series. Quite a bit of fun for light reading. Keep them coming. Easy to download on my Kindle
Published 11 months ago by Joanne Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars By Far the Very Best of this Pink Carnation Series
I really enjoyed the writing, the story line and the development of the characters as they fell in love. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed
I have been reading the books from this author for over a year and have enjoyed each and every one I have read.
Published 23 months ago by Karen Larsen
4.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Change
Mary Alsworthy is not happy with her life. She is twenty-five, ancient in the marriage market. Her younger sister not only thwarted her attempted elopement with former suitor... Read more
Published on November 23, 2010 by Irishgal
3.0 out of 5 stars Not My Favorite in the Series, But Still Good
While I appreciated the witty banter and thrilling action of book four, I had a real difficult time getting into this particular story. Read more
Published on May 31, 2010 by Becky at "One Literature Nut"
5.0 out of 5 stars The best one yet!!
The first three books were really good...but this one was spectacular. The chemistry and wit in this book was fabulous. The only fault is the somewhat easy to guess ending. Read more
Published on May 14, 2010 by Shadow of a Ghost
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More About the Author

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.


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