The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation)

Every once in a while I enjoy indulging in something that is light, bubbly and bright. Something with a little romance, a little adventure, a hint of danger and a dash of witty dialog. Jane Austen meets James Bond. Impossible to find, you say? Ah, well you haven’t discovered the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig and the latest entry THE ORCHID AFFAIR might well be the best of them all.

Laura Grey, a former governess, is fresh from the Selwick Spy School and sent as the Silver Orchid to the grim Paris of post-Revolutionary France. Her governess skills are used as cover, and she is assigned to Andre Jaouen, the assistant to Napoleon Bonaparte’s minister of police. Jaouen and his rival Gaston LaRoche are working together to ferret out a possible Royalist plot to overthrow Napoleon. As Laura begins to investigate, she discovers plots, secret meetings and enough danger and romance to keep the pages turning through the entire book.

Laura is a wonderful character, smart, tough and witty; and Jaouen, the unlikely hero, grew on me without my even really realizing it. Their romance was satisfying and not cloying or overly sweet. In fact, it was real. The whole book felt real. Despite the light banter here and there, it was definitely a bit grim. Paris was a pleasant place, the Revolution had taken a toll and this echoes through the book, the presence there without being forced on the reader with gruesome scenes or overlong explanations.

Fans of the series will be happy to find the modern-day storyline of Eloise and Colin in this book. Eloise’s research on the Selwick Spy School for her dissertation continues to give us insight and we get a further look into their lives and ongoing relationship. But that really took backseat to the other story in The Orchid Affair. In fact, if you are a first time reader, you can almost skip their story entirely, the other story stand so well on its own,

I was just so pleased with this book. Call it a guilty pleasure in someone who usually reads books with more grit, but The Orchid Affair is just wonderful. It is well researched and brings the era to life. The characters are delightful, and ongoing personalities make appearances as well. There is really nothing to dislike. The Orchid Affair is a perfect mix of historical novel, regency romance and spy thriller. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Dutton Adult | Pages: 416 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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