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The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation) Hardcover – January 20, 2011

63 customer reviews
Book 8 of 10 in the Pink Carnation Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hot on the heels of The Mischief of the Mistletoe (2010), Willig’s engaging spy series continues with an adventure set in Napoleonic France. Fresh out of spy school, Laura Grey has been dubbed the Silver Orchid and sent to France to be a governess to the children of Andre Jaouen, the deputy minister of police. It is up to Laura to discover if Jaouen and the sinister inspector Gaston Delaroche are about to thwart a Royalist plot to put a prince of royal blood back on the throne. Working with the legendary spy known as the Pink Carnation, Laura is surprised to uncover where Jaouen’s loyalties truly lie when a respected artist, Antoine Daubier, is arrested by the dastardly Delaroche. After rescuing Daubier and being forced to flee France with him and the royal heir, Laura and Andre pose as a married couple in a troupe of actors and find themselves battling their powerful feelings for each other. Another delightfully delectable adventure from Willig, who expands her rich, appealing stable of characters with each entry. --Kristine Huntley

About the Author

Lauren Willig is a law student and Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University. She is the author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.


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Product Details

  • Series: Pink Carnation (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (January 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951995
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Ann VINE VOICE on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
THE ORCHID AFFAIR is Willig's eighth novel in the popular Pink Carnation series set during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. They involve historical espionage, romance, swash, buckle and a fair dose of comedy and sardonic wit - neatly ticking off all the check boxes on my ideal historical/romance/comedy reading hit list.

The opening chapters of ORCHID were an abrupt change after the high comedy of Willig's last offering, THE MISCHIEF OF THE MISTLETOE: A PINK CARNATION CHRISTMAS. Get ready to shift gears. No Christmas pudding capers here! It is 1802 post-revolutionary Paris. The tone is serious and somber; lots of cold rain, a prison interrogation and a visit by Madame Guillotine. Brrr!

Our heroine Miss Laura Grey is eager to do anything other than the governessing that has consumed her life for the past sixteen years. Recruited by the elusive flower spy, The Pink Carnation, she has just graduated from the Selwick Spy School and traveled to Paris on her first mission to, of course, do what she knows best, be a governess, albeit an undercover one, teaching young children and blending into the woodwork as a servant in the household of an important police official. Undercover as Laure Griscogne's (code named The Silver Orchid), her assignment is to observe and collect information on the movements of her new employer Andre Jaouen who works at the Prefecture de Paris under Louis-Nicolas Dubois, Chief of Police and protégé of Joseph Fouche, Bonaparte's Minister of Police.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
On a trip to the library this summer, I stumbled upon a book called The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig. Just by the title, I picked up the book not knowing anything its about nor knowing that it was a part of a series. I picked it up not knowing what it was about nor that it was a part of a larger series. Not knowing any of this, I took it out of this gigantic pile of library books I have in my room to bring on a trip to Carmel. I started reading it on the air plane and fell in love. The book takes place in both modern times and post revolution France. It starts off with Eloise and Colin, going to Paris for Colin's mothers birthday. It the switches back in time to Laura Grey, a governess and government spy. I am under the impression that Eloise and Colin's story goes through all of the books in the series, however their plot line seemed pretty superfluous reading The Orchid Affair as a stand alone novel. I would highly recommend this novel, but I'd recommend reading it in order with the rest of the series, because it does make sense as just a stand alone novel, it would be more enjoyable with the rest of the series backing it up.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scarlett on March 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I first started reading The Pink Carnation series, I was completely enthralled. These books are real page turners. The suspense, the romance, the history... I absolutely loved them. Lauren Willig quickly became one of my favorite authors; I liked her even more than Philippa Gregory. But then after a few books, something happened. The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, for example, was borderline terrible. The romance seemed too formulaic, and the plot was all over the place. The steamy romance scenes? Completely gone. Even worse, in the way of the worst series, the current book seemed just a prequel to the next one. I was disappointed to say the least.

In The Orchid Affair, Willig redeemed herself. The plot was great, and the suspense was back. And we get a change of scenery, this one being set in France instead of England. (Other book venues include India and Ireland). The novel stands by itself, without a need to have read the previous ones or the next one. But the romance scenes? Not so much. I'm not really sure what happened here. Maybe the conservative atmosphere of her former New York law firm rubbed off on Willig, because suddenly her romance scenes just don't exist. After an entire book of suspense leading up to the hero and heroine finally giving in... she might as well just write "And then they had sex. Cut to next scene." Talk about a disappointing denouement! Maybe Willig is trying to avoid falling into the same category as trashier romance novelists (if you want just a good bodice ripper, check out Liz Carlyle), but when the entire plot centers on a romance, you really need at least one steamy romance scene!

In addition to the main story in each of her novels, Willig has a continuing story set in the present.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, the latest installment of the "Pink Carnation" series of romantic adventure novels is anything but literature, but if you've read thus far in the series, you know what you're in for. And you know that Willig's amusing Regency-era spy romps can be a great cure for the winter blahs, as long as you're willing to suspend some of your critical faculties, and overlook hopeless anachronisms in the behavior of her heroes and heroines.

On the plus side, Willig has a knack for a silly deadpan observations that somehow end up being very funny -- a case in point: "Three whole days with Colin's charmingly dysfunctional family was not my idea of a romantic weekend. It was, however, my idea of an Agatha Christie novel," muses modern-day heroine Eloise Kelly, still sleuthing into the spies of Regency England. In the historical part of the narrative (which makes up about 80% of the book), Laura Grey has gone undercover as a governess in the household of a member of Napoleon's police force. "One could hide an army in the Hôtel de Bac and still have room for an amateur theatrical troupe, a haberdashery, and a few aspiring sopranos," Laura muses. That somewhat goofy approach to writing like that tells me Willig isn't taking herself too seriously, which wins her marks. (You don't read this kind of novel is search of literary style and flair...)

What loses some marks is that this time, the past and present narratives are so loosely connected as to make me wonder why she bothered. Eloise happens to be in Paris with Colin to attend a family event; a character who until now hasn't really surfaced in the Pink Carnation narrative happens to be placed in the household of a Napoleonic official as a spy. There's no real historical sleuthing on Eloise's part, and the connection feels a bit slapdash.
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