Tuesdays in the book world are like Christmas. It is the official release day for many new titles. They arrive like presents to be opened and savored. Today, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig was officially released. It is the sixth book in the Pink Carnation series set in England, France and now India during the Napoleonic wars. I have read and or listened to an audio recording of all in the series and fans of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and Regency novels will enjoy the escapades of Willig’s heroes and heroines as they employ espionage a la the Scarlet Pimpernel to thwart Napoleon’s crafty spies.
Austen readers will recognize a few slight similarities in Willig’s characters and plots in homage to Jane Austen. The last book in the series The Temptation of the Night Jasmine had allusions to Austen’s gothic parody Northanger Abbey. Her young impressionable heroine Charlotte was as addicted to reading novels as Austen’s Catherine Moreland. Willig always offers great protagonists and compelling plots laced with wry humor. You can read my review of Temptation of the Night Jasmine at this link. It was one of my top 20 favorite Austenesque books of 2009. Here’s a description from the publisher of Blood Lily:
The heroines of Lauren Willig’s bestselling Pink Carnation series have engaged in espionage all over nineteenth-century Europe. In the sixth stand-alone volume, our fair English heroine travels to India, where she finds freedom-and risk-more exciting than she ever imagined.
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, 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.
The entire series to date includes: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, The Deception of the Emerald Ring and The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. Unlike the previous five novels in the series, Blood Lily’s characters have not been introduced in previous novels, so we have a fresh set of characters to discover and enjoy.
When this one arrives at my house – it will move to the top of my to be read pile and devoured as quickly as possible!