Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig

Here we are at another Sunday and I just didn't feel like I had anything great to share today!  It's been a low-key weekend filled with grading papers and cleaning house.  See.  Nothing spectacular at all.  Thankfully, I worked in a huge chunk of time yesterday to read and was able to finish a couple more books.  Those reviews are to come later, but this week I finished listening to Lauren Willig's The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, which is the 6th installment in the Pink Carnation series.

Synopsis:  From Booklist, "Willig switches the setting of her Pink Carnation series from eighteenth-century England to colonial India in the sixth installment, which finds wild Penelope Deveraux married off to Lord Frederick Staines after the two are caught in a compromising position. Though they connect physically, the spirited, witty Penelope and the pompous, hedonistic Freddy have little in common. Freddy’s new position as special envoy to an English ambassador has brought them both to India, where rumors of intrigue involving a French spy known as the Marigold are afoot. Already floundering in her loveless marriage, Penelope sets out to unmask the spy, suspecting that their serious escort, Captain Alex Reid, might be the culprit. But as Penelope grows closer to Alex, her suspicions give way to a deep mutual attraction. Willig brings colonial India to vibrant life through Penelope’s eyes, and the sparks flying between Penelope and Alex generate plenty of heat. By taking the story to India, Willig injects a new energy in her already thriving, thrilling series, and presents the best entry to date."

Review:  In this sixth installment in the spy serie, The Pink Carnation, we find ourselves in the midst of a pretty unhappily married couple with Penelope and Frederick.  This good deal of tension between them makes for a pretty interesting lead into a growing friendship and relationship between Penelope and Alex Reid.  It seemed to me that Willig set Reid up to be the "good guy" foil to Frederick's bad behavior from the start.  Frederick just didn't seem very interested in the happiness and safe-keeping of his wife at all, while Alex did.  Frederick had a wandering eye, while Alex seemingly did not.  All that Frederick lacked, Alex seemed to have in spades.  How could a reader not fall for a strong, protective male like Alex, regardless of the strong personality exhibited by Penelope?

Set in India, this seemed to ease some of the stifling propriety that was held over the other couples in previous installments.  Also, I thought there was more time spent on the story set in the past, than in the present day story between our modern-day researcher Eloise and her new beau Colin.  For once, I was okay with that.  Usually, I have been annoyed at the long switches away from the present-day researcher revealing all of this past history to us, but I liked Penelope's spunk and the way Alex played off of her behavior.  We still had spy action going on in this story, but it didn't seem as involved as previous stories.  In reality, it just added another layer to the complicated love triangle going on in the novel.

This particular installment was one of my more favorite ones in the series.  Although I've read the other books, I didn't feel that I had to read them to really get this story.  It would be nice, but not completely necessary.  The storytelling is engaging and the tension nicely played out.  Overall, a fun diversion to the England-set stories of previous installments, and one that I enjoyed reading.

*FTC Disclosure:  Review is based on a library copy of the novel.


  1. I'd really like to start this series. I'm intrigued.

  2. Angiegirl--I think you'd really like them. To be honest, I've been listening to them, and the readers are pretty good.