Preview of The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig & Giveaway

The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation No 9), by Lauren Willig (2012)Regular readers of Austenprose will know that I am a huge fan of author Lauren Willig novels.  I absolutely adore her bestselling Pink Carnation series set during the Napoleonic Wars, filled with spies, humor and romance.

I was thrilled beyond words when Lauren agreed to write a short story for my upcoming Austenesque anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Her story “A Night at Northanger” was inspired by Jane Austen’s Gothic parody Northanger Abbey. In the spirit of Austen’s poke at the “horrid” Gothic fiction so popular in her day, Lauren has given us a modern-day comedy set in one of England’s most haunted homes, Northanger Abbey, where heroine Cate Cartwright meets a very familiar specter. Because Lauren had so much fun with Cate in “A Night at Northanger” she included her as a side character in her next novel in the Pink Carnation series, The Garden Intrigue. Due to be released on February 16, 2012, here is a short description from the publisher:

In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig’s bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon’s invasion of England.

Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can’t bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.

New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus’s side. An old school friend of Napoleon’s stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus’s poetry.

As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment.

Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She’ll do anything to postpone the decision-even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte’s house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted- especially Augustus’s feelings for Emma.

A Grand Giveaway!

It is hard to decide if I appreciate Lauren’s historical detail, witty dialogue or her swoon worthy romantic characters best, but the combination is always one of my favorite books of the year.

You can be one of the first to read The Garden Intrigue months before it goes on sale! Even before ME! Lauren has generously offered two advance reading copies to Austenprose readers in a giveaway contest. Just leave a comment stating what aspects of Lauren’s Pink Carnation series you enjoy most, or if you are a new reader to the series (shocking) what intrigues you about reading The Garden Intrigue, by midnight PT Wednesday, October 5, 2011. Winners to be announce on Thursday, October 6, 2011. Shipment internationally. Yep, that’s right. Global shipment! Good luck!

Thanks again to Lauren Willig for her generosity in giving Austenprose readers this great chance to win a copy The Garden Intrigue. I can’t wait to read it!

The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation No 9), by Lauren Willig
Dutton (2012)
Hardcover (400) pages
ISBN: 978-0525952541

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

50 thoughts on “Preview of The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig & Giveaway

  1. I’m with you; I adore this series! I have to get the latest book as soon as it comes out. For me it’s the mix of all of the elements that I love; fantastic historical fiction with romance that actually mixes well with the parts set in the modern world, something I don’t think many books can actually pull off. Not in my reading experience anyway. But this series is amazing. I want to know what’s happening to Eloise equally with what’s happening in the historical half.

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  2. As so often in my life, I had decided to stop reading any more new authors when The Secret History of the Pink Carnation came out. I could not resist reading about my beloved France–even if it was during that terrible revolution–and spies have long ago snared my imagination. The whole era intrigues me and having visited some of the sights mentioned in France gave me a whole new feeling for the books. I can even place myself into some of the London scenes as Eloise wanders around Piccadilly and Mayfair. Many accounts are so tongue in cheek that one cant resist smiling or even laughing out loud. It’s definitely my favorite series right now. Somehow, however, I almost missed the Christmas pudding, but I’m caught up again. For once I’d like to be ahead of the rest of the back.

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  3. I love play within a play stories, such as Austen did with Mansfield Park! Also, in Georgette Heyer books, my favorite characters are those who assume other identities, and, thereby, learn more about themselves!

    I look forward to reading Lauren’s books! They sound intriguing, and I’m glad there’s humor in them — that’s what we need today, along with romance!

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  4. I want one…ME-ME-ME! Lauren Willig is my very favorite contemporary author and I have read virtually EVERYTHING she has put to print. What intrigues me about the Pink Carnation series? Ms Willig is a God-gifted story teller with her “story within a story” that sets “Pink” apart in its uniqueness; but that is only the beginning. She has created some of the most attractive, charming, and sexy heroes and heroines in all of contemporary fiction and placed them in some of the most highly charged times in history (The Napoleonic wars) I cannot adequately describe how Ms Willig’s writing style so suits my particular sensibilities but her artistry knows no bounds. She is a master of wild humor and her people get into some of the most suspenseful scrapes imagineable. You go girl! More Pink, MORE PINK!

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  5. I, too, love the Pink Carnation stories. The first thing that comes to mind in thinking about them is the humour, but the reason this woks so well is because it is deployed with excellent characters (each fully devloped) with complex but credible plots against absolutely correct historical backgrounds. And the characters and scenes set in England (both historical and contemporary) are totally correct! I love the fact that Lauren Willig’s experience of living and studying in London shine through he portrayal of those English characters and scenes. I would LOVE to win an early copy of The Garden Intrigue.

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  6. I love these books so much; I have gotten all my friends to read the series too. I love the setting of the Napoleonic wars, but I am just as interested in Eloise’s contemporary story. I love how all the historical characters inter-connect and old faces show up in the subsequent books. My only complaint is that I am impatient for Eloise’s story to move along. I would LOVE to win a copy of this book!

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  7. WOW! The post and the comments afterwards have won a new reader to Ms. Willig’s book…headed to amazon to look for her books. Thanks for the review (I would love to win a copy of the latest book!)

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  8. I love the layers in Ms Willig’s books. Nothing is ever as it seems, and as the layers are peeled back more is revealed. The Scarlet Pimpernel was one of my favourites as a teenager, and the ‘Pink’ books have captured the humour and verbiage that was always one of the best aspects. Any new book by Ms Willig is a must for my shelves.

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  9. Willig’s Carnation series has kept me amused and intrigued for many years now. In particular, I love the use of historical research is used to move us from present to past. I love epistolary excerpts. The combination of smart, daring heroines, Napoleonic era France and England, men in breeches grabs me every time. The heroines are not perfect cut outs as in some historical romance, but well drawn characters with insecurities, impulses and initiative.
    I’d love to have an ARC of the new book, ebook would be welcome as I am a new owner of a e-reader.

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  10. I can hardly express how much I love the Pink Carnation series! I think what I love the most about it is the way it blends genres, being told in the present and the past, so it’s a contemporary romance and a historical romance with a bit of suspense and a lot of action thrown in for good measure! What more could you ask for in a book?

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  11. Her books are wonderful and full of historical facts that are seamlessly woven into exciting and romantic stories- to say nothing of the wit and charm of her characters. I always look forward to the release of the newest installment. I adore how she weaves the old with the new. Colin is dream worthy and the modern sections are as compelling as the rest of the plot.

    Can’t wait to read her take on Northanger as well, the most under loved of Jane’s work. I bet Lauren’s take on it will be spectacular.

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  12. I recently discovered the Pink Carnation series through a recommendation via Shelfari. I have only read the first book, but I really enjoyed it. The characters are engaging and there is just the right amount of humor and romance. I’d love to be able to read this new book.

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  13. I must say that I really enjoy the subplots that are intertwined with the main story. While it shows succinct historical detail (without getting too verbose), it somehow draws wonderful parallels to the modern day. Even if you do feel like delving back into the historical romance all over again.

    Must say that “The Mischief of the Mistletoe” was my absolute favourite of the lot. Willig really knows her humour!

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  14. I love the mix of modern day romance with love on the run in the past. Particularly in
    the last Pink Carnation book that I read,The Orchid Affair-I was on pins and needles for that pair of star crossed lovers!

    Also the humor is spot on in both sections of each story,although it was nice to have one whole book set in the past-Mischief of the Mistletoe is now a favorite holiday read of mine:)

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  15. I’ve never read The Pink Carnation, so I’ll answer the second part. I want to know how Cate Cartwright is connected in The Garden Intrigue. Is she a descendent of Augustus Whittlesby and/or Emma Morris Delagardie? And what is the garden intrigue?

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  16. I love book-tortes (layers of past-present), and having an entire series of them is a delight in itself, but what delighted me the most was the idea of the clever unsung women behind the reported swashbuckling and derring-do.

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  17. I love the way the doctoral researcher plot intersects with the historical plot. In some books this is better than in others, but it was especially fine in “The Temptation of the Night Jasmine” – in which the two seemed in good dialogue with each other. As a grad student myself, and one prone to get lost in her research, I love the way the research in these books becomes larger than life (and the way the books help me escape my own sometimes!).

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  18. I love the humor in Lauren’s books. They’re so multi-faceted but I love that they always make me laugh. I was also a history major in college, and a huge history geek, so I love that she takes so much pride in properly researching her books.

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  19. I love that she clearly has fun plotting the books and creating her characters. I’m looking forward to this book’s weird combination, though I dread the idea of reading more than a sniplet of his poetry!

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  20. Lauren’s books are time travel from the comfort of the reader’s armchair. Her characters are real – they are well rounded and well written, with foibles just like people in all centuries. I adore the well researched historical sections – I know more facts and data now for having read them. And her characters are charming, witty and true.

    I am familiar with the space in Harvard Square where Lauren wrote most of “The Pink Carnation”. In my mind’s eye, I can see her there – plotting and chuckling as the story and her characters come to life.

    I am so impatient for the next book and excited to read it!

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  21. There are SO MANY things that I love about Lauren Willig’s books, but one of my favorites is the characters she writes. They seem to leap off the page, if you ask me! And then there’s Miles Dorrington. He makes everything better! :)

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  22. I cannot believe anyone that reads this blog could have missed the Pink Carnation series. I had read the first 2 and then my daughter on a visit home took those with her. Now as soon as I finish one she has it. I love the story within the story of the modern day research creating the historical story. These characters are some of my all time favorites. Yeah a newone.

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  23. I’ve been waiting for this installment for months–Lauren hinted she wrote a bit about Napoleon’s sister Caroline, and the school for young ladies established by Madame Campan to educate the new elite of the Napoleonic reign. Even if that part got dropped on the cutting room floor, I’ve always loved Whittlesby’s character, and will read his adventures with pleasure. Lauren has a gift for the charmingly absurd in some of her male characters, who prove to be far more profound than they first seem–a huge treat!!
    NOW, how will I get by until February???

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  24. Believe it or not, I have never read one of her books! (gasp) I did have the good luck to read the Jane Austen Made Me Do It advanced reader copy– and really enjoyed her short– and am interested in reading more of her work! This latest sounds great.

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  25. WOW! This book sounds wonderful! I have definitely heard of this author (all fantastic things, of course) but have yet to pick up one of her books for myself. I will change that ASAP! Thank you for the great givaway!

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  26. I like everything about the Pink Carnation series and can’t wait to see how this book is written! Thanks for a chance to win a copy that will be treasured.

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  27. I find the Pink Carnation series to be an absolutely perfect blend of romance, history, and comedy. I also like that each series features a new couple so it stays fresh, and of course I’m a fan of Pink Carnation herself :) Don’t mind Colin and Eloise either :)

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  28. I truly enjoy Lauren Willig’s series. I have read all in the series so far. I just recently completed The Orchid Affair. It took me long enough to get it….I just seem to be behind. Lord Vaughn is my favorite I believe for his wit and charm. Geoffrey and Letty are just so humble and yet I love them too. The different plots, scenarios, etc are so amusing. Eloise is truly a fun modern counterpart. Amy and the Lost Duke of Dovedale are also my favorites. I guess it’s just that romantic naive simpleness to their story in a sense. Even tho’ the hellfire club is all but simple. I can hardly wait to read more. I’m sure The Garden Intrigue will be just as exciting and I am eagerly awaiting it. I’m sure the giveaway will be a massive success.

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  29. I was lucky enough to meet Lauren at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention. What a smart, charming, witty, lovely woman! I love her Pink Carnation series because of its fun and intelligent prose, memorable characters, great action and adventure, scintillating romance, and fabulous historical research and details! I’d love to win this book!

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  30. Wow, I’ve never read the book series (ducks from thrown objects), and really hope I can. All these reviews say that this is amazing–I can’t wait to read another Regency book!!

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  31. I love the Pink Carnation series! I randomly picked up the first book one day at Barnes and Noble about two years ago and was subsequently hooked! I love how Lauren integrates the historical with the present. I enjoy Eloise’s story just as much as the other characters.

    I love the witty dialogue and all the wonderful history I get from reading her books, not to mention her wonderful comedic ability. I know I’m in for a treat any time I read one of Lauren’s novels. I can’t wait for this next one. I love when there is an American thrown into English society. It is how I would like to imagine myself going back in time. :)

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  32. I would absolutely love to win a copy of this! I buy all the Pink Carnation books in hardcover as soon as they come out, and they’re always so much fun! My favorite aspect of the series is the little nods to Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, which is one of my favorite books. More generally, the series contains all my favorite things: 19th-century England, spies, romance, the Napoleonic Wars, and a tongue-in-cheek tone. Can’t wait until this next installment comes out!

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  33. I really enjoy the humor in the Pink Carnation books. They’re not stodgy period pieces but fun and adventurous — and written with a modern sensibility. And I enjoy how she weaves the past and present storylines together. Can’t wait to read the new installment!

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  34. Oh, pleeeease let me win one of these! :) Okay, so I’m a fan, what can I say. LOL I love the characters, most definitely – love returning to them whenever they show up, and they are so much fun! :)

    Lois

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  35. I love the humor and the wit the most. It makes you relly love the characters. I would love to read this one before anyone else. I would only rub it in just a little. :)

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  36. I love this series too! Even though, and I guess I’ll be banned after saying this, I don’t really care for Eloise and Colin! I mean, everytime I start getting excited for the real couple, Willig begins a new chapter with these two.
    I don’t seem to be able to appreciate them, no matter what, I’m more interested in what’s happening to the other couple.
    But the series is amazing nonetheless. Mary/Vaughn are my favourite couple (while I don’t like Letty and Geoffrey, too goody-goody for me).
    Can’t wait to read the next!

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  37. I really enjoyed this review…. and sadly, I must say… I’m “that” person who hasn’t read this series yet. I love humor & wit, probably the best combinations for any story, but I also love the details and reading historical fiction is my favorite past time. Definitely adding this to my huge and ever-growing to-read list! :)

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  38. What’s to enjoy about the “Pink Carnation” series? Absolutely everything! Begin with a manifestly intelligent writer whose ability to weave her encyclopedic knowledge of history and literature into the storyline provides the reader with a fun jolt of recognition again and again. Proceed to Eloise and her maddeningly mysterious Colin to keep the reader in suspense and willing to wait interminably for release of the next volume. And perhaps most of all, admiration for Lauren’s ability to tell a charming love story without feeling obligated to include the boring, detailed seduction scene that seems required in all romance literature these days.

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  39. As I mentioned in the introduction to the post, the Pink Carnation series is one of my favorite Regency-era series. I am really looking forward to the next novel in the series and Lauren’s new contemporary series that was just announced.

    Thanks for the giveaways Lauren.

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  40. Pingback: Giveaway winners announced for The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

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