Series: Pink Carnation #6
on January 12, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance, Mystery
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Everyone warned Miss Penelope Deveraux that her unruly behavior would land her in disgrace someday. She never imagined she's be whisked off to India to give the scandal of her hasty marriage time to die down. As Lady Frederick Staines waits, Penelope plunges into the treacherous waters of the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, where no one is quite what they seem--even her husband. In a strange country, where elaborate court dress masks even more elaborate intrigues and a dangerous spy called the Marigold leaves venomous cobras as his calling card, there is only one person Penelope can trust...
Captain Alex Reid has better things to do than play nursemaid to a pair of aristocrats. Or so he thinks--until Lady Frederick Staines out-shoots, out-rides, and out-swims every man in the camp. She also has an uncanny ability to draw out the deadly plans of the Marigold and put herself in harm's way. With danger looming from local warlords, treacherous court officials, and French spies, Alex realizes that an alliance with Lady Staines just might be the only thing standing in the way of a plot designed to rock the very foundations of the British Empire...
Enchanting and mysterious India is the setting for this latest in The Pink Carnation series and we have a bad girl paired with a squeaky clean heroic guy to track down the latest of Napoleon’s spies, The Marigold. Full of light banter, frivolity, and a good dose of romantic espionage, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily progresses the series.
This sixth book, loosely connected with the previous ones, takes another outlandish aristocratic society lady who is an unlikely preserver of Britain’s interests in India and pairs her with a true blue honor-bound soldier.
Penelope Devereaux, flirtatious and frivolous society beauty gets herself into a situation where she is forced to marry rakish and profligate Lord Fred Staines. The tarnished pair are married and packed off to India. Freddie’s excesses only get worse and Penelope blossoms in her own unconventional way as to earn the notoriety and dubious respect of many for being able to out-ride, out-shoot, and out-do many a man let alone all the ladies. Then a certain French spies’ escapades draw her, not so willingly, into a shadowy world of danger and daring do next to a man she devotedly wants to seduce off his high horse. In the Hyderabad court full of intrigue, the French and British secretly battle for supremacy and it looks like the French will get the upper hand when gold and weapons go missing.
Captain Alex Reid feels the security work involving the newlywed Staines is the worst form of torture. Keeping Lord Freddie and Lady Staine out of trouble is more effort than he thought possible, but he has a job to do and British interests in India are in jeopardy if he doesn’t find a way to quash the Marigold’s efforts. He reluctantly accepts Penelope as partner and fights his attraction to a married woman.
In truth, I got things mixed up all around. At first, I thought this was to be another such as The Seduction of the Red Rose where two shady types are redeemed somewhat by their work helping their country. I thought the loose screw husband, Freddie, was to be rehabilitated and then I was made to understand that the pairing was with another man and he was far from black sheep-ish. Hmm, now I went from excited to wary. Penelope is a married woman no matter the fact that Freddie is worthless. I was none too pleased she was set on seducing Alex. I suppose there are extenuating circumstances, but this didn’t set well with me and particularly how it came down.
There wasn’t as much historic India as I was hoping, but there was definitely enough to give pleasure. I love that Lauren Willig took us to a different locale and enjoyed the work to thwart the French spy, Marigold. Penelope was somewhat- okay, a lot- spoiled and I just wanted to thump her, but it went with her character. The sparks really flew between Penelope and Alex because they were such opposites, but both bright and able to banter off each other well.
All in all, this was a mixed bag. I liked and loved many elements in this one, but couldn’t get past the cheating. Just one of those things. Others might respond differently especially in the context of this story. I didn’t love this one, but I did like it in the end. Onward through this fun series.
This is the Sixth installment of Pink Carnation series and, while this could be taken out of order in a pinch, it works decidedly much better in order as the characters have history in earlier books.
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