Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review: The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig

My AP essays are graded and back in the students' hands. I'm still fretting, and plenty busy putting together the final lesson plans for the remainder of the year, but that last stack of papers before the AP test next week was a huge relief for me. As for my 10,000 steps a day. Let's not talk about how bad the last two days have been...can I plead walking forgiveness? I'll have to get "back on track" (ha, ha) over the coming days!

Although I haven't been reading much outside of essays, I'm thankful for the audio books I get to listen to as I drive back and forth to work. Last week I finished listening to the third in the Pink Carnation series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring. I'm always glad to get some "reading" in, even if it's unwinding to a book on CD!

Synopsis: In the third installment of the Pink Carnation series, we are introduced to 19 year old Letty Alsworthy. Fearing the rash elopement of her older sister Mary to Lord Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, she slipped into the carriage that was meant to be the escape vehicle for the two lovers. In the process, Lord Pinchingdale mistakes Letty for Mary, in the dark of the carriage, and pulls her into an embrace. When he figures it out, and although nothing more licentious than a kiss occurred, her reputation is ruined and the two are forced into a marriage. Therein lies the tension behind the story. With a forced marriage, neither party is happy with the arrangement. In the meantime, Lord Geoffrey is serving as a spy, and must continue his work, regardless of a young wife hanging onto him. The question for Lord Geoffrey becomes whether he can forgive Letty for not being Mary, and if Letty can forgive Lord Geoffrey for being a distant husband.

I realize that my synopsis might make Willig's third novel sound cold and ruthless, and it seems that way in the beginning, but it really only serves to propel the story. As with each of the novels in this series so far, there is a level of tension, and in this case, I actually really enjoyed the distance and frustration introduced so early on in the story. Rather than a shallow, "I love you and feel passionate towards you" from the get-go, we have two characters who have to learn more about one another. Honestly, Letty is a sweet character, and one that I felt got blamed for too much of Lord Pinchingdale's frustrations. Although Letty is not described as the beauty that her sister Mary is, we get the sense that Letty has a keen mind and strength that gives her strength. Lord Pinchingdale, however, is also someone we learn to see as a man dealing with the job he is expected to carry out in the midst of the chaos of marrying the sister of the woman he originally meant to marry. Yes, he comes off as the scoundrel, but the misunderstandings the couple must overcome help to create a story that you believe a little more than the two previous to it.

In my opinion, this was my favorite installment of the three in the series. Because of Letty's confidence and personality, and the work that the couple has to go through to actually learn to love one another, they make this mystery/spy romance pretty charming. There is something vulnerable, yet strong, about Letty that I really liked, and I appreciated that she could stand on her own two feet.

As a side note to this story, this was the book in the series that finally made me a frustrated and left wanting more with the secondary story being told in the present, from the researcher Eloise Kelly. Through her work on her thesis, her research has taken her deeper and deeper into the female spy ring, thanks to the letters and journals owned by Colin Selwick. In the other installments, the present-day research plays a major backseat, but in this novel we really grow to care about Eloise getting her research, and maybe getting a handsome, rich Colin on the side?!? I don't know why, but the Eloise & Colin storyline reminded me of an earlier Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy twist. It's only a shady reminder, but still there to taunt a bit!

Overall, another fun book, and a great thriller at the same time. These books seem to mix the period drama with a little espionage and romance. What could be more fun, I ask? As a side note, I have found the audio version of these books to be really fantastic, and not distracting in any way.

*FTC Disclosure: This review based off the library version of the audio book.

This counts as my 5th in the 2010 Audio Book Challenge over at Royal Reviews. This is also part of the Book Review Party Wednesday over at Cym Lowell. Stop on by to see other great book reviews there!


  1. This series definitely sounds like a lot of fun. I'm wondering how it has escaped my notice until now!

    Best of luck with the rest of the school year!

  2. You're getting ahead of me in the series! I'm still somewhere at the beginning of the second book. I'm glad to hear part 3 is enjoyable as well!