Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mistaken Identities and Petals of a Flower: My Review of "The Deception of the Emerald Ring" by Lauren Willig

Letty pictured Penelope steadily stitching away as Odysseus cavorted with Circe,
a Circe with silver-gilt curls and a come-hither way with a fan. Odysseus was a rotter
who wasn’t worth the waiting. At that rate, Penelope should have turned out the suitors,
taken over the kingdom, and ruled Ithaca alone.
The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Lauren Willig 


Rebellion is brewing in Ireland, egged on by the unquenchable Black Tulip. The Pink Carnation and Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe (formerly of the League of the Purple Gentian) are on the case. But as the Irish uprising draws nearer and the Black Tulip grows bolder, Geoff finds himself struggling with a very different sort of problem. An unexpected wife.

          Picking up where The Masque of the Black Tulip ended, the homegrown English spies of the League of the Pink Carnation are on the trail of a plot in Ireland – where rebels are on high alert for an opportunity to act, and the Pink Carnation herself is immersed in the intrigue, disguising herself brilliantly to find out the information to save England!

          But this isn’t her story. This is Letty’s. Letty Alsworthy, who dared laugh at a prominent guest in Black Tulip, sister to Mary – the raven haired temptress of the Ton, and generally plump, ginger-haired and freckled heroine who has spent the better part of her life keeping assorted members of her family from ruin, or compromise.

          It is just one of those salvation missions that lands Letty into a most unbelievable situation – upon learning that her sister intends to elope with Geoffery Pinchingdale-Snipe, marches down to his coach to demand attention of his reasonable side. But Geoffery isn’t there, and instead, Letty is thrown into the carriage by the driver and driven to the inn as instructed – only to be quite properly kissed before she can escape by the very man she had sought out. And thanks to her manipulative sister, this kiss was witnessed by the resident male gossips of the Ton.

          And so, Letty and Geoffery get married – one thinking it unnecessary, and the other believing he had been betrayed, manipulated and used – by his new wife. What’s a bridegroom to do? Run off to Ireland to help spy with the Pink Carnation, of course! But even as Geoffery makes his way towards the Emerald Isle, Letty follows – under an assumed name, determined to get her husband back – after all, if she was expected to go through with the marriage, she would have a husband!

          The events in Ireland begin with an irate Letty seeing Geoffery flirt with a golden haired seductress, and end with a greater mystery into the empire of the Black Tulip. And in the midst of it all, Letty and Geoffery discover that the mistaken identity that landed them into their marriage may just be the very thing that will assure their happiness.

          I rather liked Letty. She was practical to a fault, so whenever she did things out of character – like get drunk and follow her husband to Ireland, I was instantly on edge and screaming with anticipation to see how it would end up. The two main characters are so practical and so in tune that by the end of it, you wonder how Geoffery could have ever thought Mary – with her manipulative ice Queen ways – would have made him happy. And their steam scenes are excellent – a sign of their own compatibility.

          The interplay between Jane, Lord Vaughan and Letty – especially in the catacombs, was refreshing and intriguing – the “triple entendres” being particularly good. In a whole, the exchanges between our circle of main characters were funny, smart and appealing, and the mysteries as they were uncovered left me with more questions and a burning desire to keep reading until the end.

          In 2003 – Eloise is again charming, though this time, so completely obsessed with the uncalling Collin, that I was half tempted to yell at her to get on with it – call him and get it all over with. By the end, of course, I was severely glad she hadn’t. …

          Eloise is an endearing character who keeps us on track – investigating the Regency with a dogmatic attitude and unruly passion that makes me yearn for my history classes again! Collin, of course, is his usual half sarcastic, sophisticated self. And oh so attractive. He would make a great book boyfriend.

          All in all, the Deception of the Emerald Ring (though both not a flower, and no real emerald ring) was an appealing read that was marked with a deepening of the Black Tulip mystery and a broadening of the world past England and France to Ireland, and to new members of the Ton and the Spy Circles within it, that I cannot wait to read about. A well written, well thought out book, marked with the charm and humour of the first two, and topped with an excitement of history and mystery that works to excite the reader.

          Well done, Ms. Willig!

Lauren Willig’s Website: http://laurenwillig.com/index.php

Up next for Review: The Monstromologist by Rick Yancey

Read if you Liked:
  • Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
  • By the Light of the Hunter’s Moon by Victoria Holt



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