All the Ways We Said Goodbye, by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White — A Review

All The Ways We Said Goodbye, by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White (2020)From the desk of Katie Patchell:  

Three Women. Three Decades. Two Wars. 

In All the Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White take readers across two continents and through two World Wars to uncover spies and secrets. Each of the three heroines, Aurelie, Daisy, and Babs, fight to bring freedom of heart and country in this tale that spans fifty years. The drumbeat of war reaches to stately mansions and across war-ravaged fields, calling each of the unique heroines to right the wrong in their corners of the world. Despite their seemingly unconnected lives, the same glittering Ritz holds the answers to what they search for: Courage, love, and a final goodbye. So reader: welcome to Paris — welcome to the Ritz — welcome to All the Ways We Said Goodbye.

If there was one word to describe this novel, it would be “secrets.” Aurelie, Daisy, and Babs have many secrets that they hide from even those closest to them, and it’s the job of the reader to sniff them out. I cannot Continue reading “All the Ways We Said Goodbye, by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White — A Review”

The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig– A Review

The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig 2015 x 200All good things must come to end. And so it seems must my favorite historical romance series, The Pink Carnation—offering us its twelfth and final installment, The Lure of the Moonflower. *deep sigh*

For eleven novels author Lauren Willig has enchanted us with Napoleonic spies, romance and laughter. It has been an amazing ride while it lasted. Now with one last fling ahead of me, I started to read (and listen to the audio edition) this new novel. Pushing aside my deep lament, I came to the realization that I am a sappy sentimentalist. Honestly, how could I not be? I had been duly “Pinked”.

It is very fitting that this final book in the series focuses on Miss Jane Wooliston – the Pink Carnation herself, the infamous English spy who gave “the French Ministry of Police headaches” and “who had caused Bonaparte to gnash his molars into early extraction…” Let’s hope I have teeth by the end of the book. Continue reading “The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig– A Review”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig

The Lure of the Moonflower, by Lauren Willig (2015)It is release day for one of my favorite Regency-era series: The Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig. Her latest and last installment is The Lure of the Moonflower.

As you all gasp in shock over my last statement—yes—it is the last book in the series, now totaling 12 novels.

This week, we are honored to be among a group of select bloggers celebrating the release of The Lure of the Moonflower. Here is an excerpt and a chance at a giveaway of the novel. Details are listed at the bottom of the post. Just leave a comment to qualify.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.

Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.

All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.

It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

To set the scene….  It’s 1807 and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, is on the trail of the missing queen of Portugal, with orders to find her before Napoleon does.  But to do so, she needs the help of Jack Reid, the agent known as the Moonflower.  He speaks the language; he knows the terrain.  She doesn’t.  But Jane doesn’t like losing control, so she decides to even the odds by having them travel in a way which gives her the upper hand: disguised as French soldiers, she an officer, and Jack her servant.

She doesn’t count on her “servant” sharing her tent….

“Daydreaming, Lieutenant?” Jack Reid let the flap of the tent fall back down behind him as he walked in as though he owned it.

“What are you doing here?” Hastily, Jane yanked her jacket back around her shoulders. As befitted an officer, the shirt beneath was made of fine linen. Too fine.

Jack tossed his hat onto her cot, where it spattered rainwater on her blanket. “We made less than five miles today. At this rate we’ll make Porto by spring.”

“Don’t be absurd. I’m sure we’ll pick up speed tomorrow.” Jane snatched the hat off the bed and thrust it back at him. “Don’t you have somewhere else you need to be?”

“The mule is settled and Moreau’s servant is short a week’s pay. Dice,” Jack explained helpfully, as he plucked Jane’s cloak from its peg and began rolling it into a makeshift pallet.

“How nice for you,” said Jane, with heavy sarcasm. Heaven help her, she was beginning to sound like him. She set her hands on her hips. “What are you doing?”

“Insurance.” Jack removed a pair of pistols and placed them by the side of the pallet. “Not to mention that it’s drier inside than out.”

He plunked himself down on Jane’s cloak, smiling seraphically up at her.

Jane blinked down at him. She hadn’t thought about where he would sleep. She had assumed, if she had thought of it, that the officers’ servants would have their own accommodations.

The tent felt very small with Jack Reid in it.

Jane narrowed her eyes at him. “You can’t bunk with one of the other batmen?”

“And leave you unprotected?”

There, at least, she was on firm ground. Jane reached beneath her pillow. “I have my own pistols.”

“Try not to point them at me,” said Jack, and settled back, using his camp bag as a pillow. “Would you mind blowing out the lantern when you’re done prinking? I don’t like sleeping with a candle lit.”

Neither did Jane, but that was beside the point. “What about ‘go’ and ‘away’ don’t you understand . . . Rodrigo?”

Jack propped himself up on one elbow. The lamplight picked out the strands of copper in his dark hair, dancing along the lines of his muscles beneath the folds of his shirt.

“Are you going missish on me, princess?” There was a dangerous glitter in his amber eyes. “Because if you are, tell me now and we can abandon this whole bloody charade.”

The profanity, Jane had no doubt, was deliberate and designed to shock. “If this is an attempt to provoke me, I can assure you, it will be quite unavailing.”

“‘Quite unavailing’?” Jack collapsed back on his camp bag, rolling his eyes up at the roof of the tent. “Forget what I said about not pointing those things at me. Put me out of my misery and shoot me now.”

Jane resisted the urge to direct a short, sharp kick to the side of the Moonflower’s head. “No one asked you to join me.”

“Didn’t you?” retorted Jack mockingly. “I don’t remember being given much choice in the matter. Master.”

“In my tent,” Jane amended, glaring at him.

It was too cold to strip down entirely, but she’d intended at least to remove her boots before seeking her bed. Jane regarded the recumbent figure on the floor—on her cloak—with tight lips. Missish, he had called her.

If she could endure his presence in her tent, he could bear with her wet feet.

Jack rolled onto his side, looking up at her with an expression of feigned innocence. “Need help with that?”

“I can manage,” said Jane, with as much dignity as she could muster while hanging half upside down. These boots had been designed with a valet in mind. Either that or the leather had shrunk in the rain.

The first boot came off with a pop, nearly conking her erstwhile batman in the head.

Jack dodged out of the way. “Apparently not,” he said, and before Jane could stop him he had gripped the other boot by the heel. “Relax, princess. Consider this a basic instinct for self-preservation.”

“I thought you had rather a well-developed instinct for that,” said Jane tartly. Empires could rise and fall, but the Moonflower always seemed to land on his feet.

“If I did, would I be here with you?”

The boot came off easily in his hands, leaving Jane’s leg bare but for her silk stockings, rather the worse for wear. Jack Reid’s fingers ran along her calf, his thumb digging into the tight muscles, massaging them.

Jane froze.

So did Jack Reid. He snatched his hand away as though burned.

Jane drew her leg back, tucking it behind the other. She could feel the tingles all the way up her shin. “Thank you. For your help with the boot.”

Jack Reid rocked back on his heels. “This is only the beginning, you know.” He looked up at her, his eyes dark in the uncertain light. “I’m your manservant. I live in your tent. I see to your, ahem, needs. You’re going to be seeing a lot of me, princess.”

Jane pressed her eyes briefly shut. Of course. Another ploy, another stratagem. She ought to have known.

“We’re not going back to Lisbon,” said Jane flatly.

“Suit yourself.” Jack shrugged, burrowing down into Jane’s cloak and tipping his hat down over his nose. From beneath the brim, she heard him murmur, “It’s going to be a long march.”

AUTHOR BIO

Lauren Willig headshot 2015Lauren Willig is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Pink Carnation novels, set in the Napoleonic Era. Before becoming a full-time writer she received a JD from Harvard Law. She resides in New York City.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig
New American Library (2015)
Trade paperback, eBook & Audio (528) pages
ISBN: 978-0451473028

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win one paperback copy of The Lure of the Moonflower, by Lauren Willig by leaving a comment about the Pink Carnation series or your interest in this last novel in the series by 11:59 pm PT, August 12, 2015. The winner will be announced on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all.

Our Reviews of The Pink Carnation Series

Cover image courtesy of NAL © 2015, excerpt Lauren Willig © 2015, Austenprose.com

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig 2014 A new Pink Carnation novel is always the highlight of my reading season, though the anticipation for The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla was stifling. How could Lauren Willig’s eleventh addition equal or surpass her previous highly-successful novels seeped in Napoleonic spies, romance and burlesque comedy? Yes, comedy. They say “dying is easy; comedy is hard” and it is so true. There are few authors in the genre who will even attempt it. Willig excels.

One of the main reasons I enjoy the “Pink” series so much (besides the humor) is that they take me back to Regency England, and the characters are SO original. Willig started the series in 2004 with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Each successive novel features a new set of protagonists: a romantic couple thrown together by mystery, espionage, and love. After ten novels I have never been disappointed. Continue reading “The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

That Summer: A Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

From the desk of Christina Boyd:That Summer, by Lauren Willig (2014 )

After a successful divergence from her Napoleonic spy romances of the Pink Carnation series with the post-Edwardian The Ashford Affair, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig again embarks on another stand-alone narrative. Entangling one generation with the past is Willig’s trademark, and That Summer is of modern-day Julia Conley as well as her ancestors in 1849.

In 2009, motherless Julia inherits an old family house in England from a great Aunt Regina Ashe, a woman she cannot even recall. One of the recently unemployed in the recession, she travels from New York City to Herne Hill, a district south of London, to view her inheritance and unload it as quickly as possible. Upon Continue reading “That Summer: A Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, by Lauren Willig (2013) From the desk of Christina Boyd

Acclaimed author Lauren Willig’s latest offering, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, is the tenth novel in her New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series. This historical romance series of Napoleonic era English spies, that fight for Britain and for love, is constructed within a modern-day love story, told from the point of view of the American grad student Eloise Kelly who is writing her dissertation on the true identity of the Pink Carnation, the master British spy of the time.

In Purple Plumeria, (those of us who have been previously “Pinked,” often refer to the novels by the abbreviated Flower title…), the handsome Colonel William Reid, who we first encountered in Blood Lily (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily) has returned to his daughters in England from a lifelong military career in India only to discover his youngest has recently Continue reading “The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

New Books in the Queue for Summer 2013

Hello, readers. Summer is here — and it is time to head to the beach or take that well-earned holiday and read great books!

Summer reads are always fun—and little light-hearted and playful—and the Austenesque & Regency faire in the queue is so exciting that the I am thrilled to share what we will be reading and reviewing here on Austenprose in the coming months. Included are release dates and descriptions of the titles by the publisher to help you plan out your summer reading. Pre-order and enjoy!  Continue reading “New Books in the Queue for Summer 2013”

The Ashford Affair: A Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

Image of the book cover of The Ashford Affair, by Lauren Willig © 2013 St. Martin’s PressFrom the desk of Christina Boyd

In a departure from her Napoleonic spy romances of the Pink Carnation Series, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig ventures into new territory with The Ashford Affair. Entwining one generation’s story with that of another, from post-Edwardian British society to modern-day Manhattan to a coffee farm in Kenya, the long veiled secrets of a woman are unraveled.

Clementine Evans, a focused, driven law associate on the cusp of making partner in a large Manhattan firm, attends her beloved grandmother Adeleine’s 99th birthday and is accidentally enlightened to a family secret. At 34, Clemmie, feeling like her life is nothing but a 70-plus hour work week, and a failed engagement, this intrigue becomes more than a distraction to the un-fulfilling, lonely details of her days. Continue reading “The Ashford Affair: A Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

The Garden Intrigue: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book9), by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation No 9), by Lauren Willig (2012)From the desk of  Jeffrey Ward:

Eloise Kelly is in England researching her dissertation on English espionage during the Napoleonic Wars; especially a shadowy figure known only as the Pink Carnation. Eloise’s friendship with Colin Selwick (whose ancestry included spies who worked with this secret agent) has permitted Eloise access to the family’s carefully guarded personal papers. Initially wary, the relationship between Eloise and Colin has blossomed into something more than professional. The “story-within-a-story” format shuttles between the present and the historic as Eloise strives to uncover the identity of the Pink Carnation, the most elusive spy of all.

It seems everyone in a relationship, past or present, arrives at a life-changing crossroad. All of the principal characters choose to, or are forced to, disguise their ulterior motives. Eloise and Colin are at Selwick Hall Continue reading “The Garden Intrigue: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book9), by Lauren Willig – A Review”

A Preview of The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig

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. 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.

Due to be released on February 16, 2012, here is a short description from the publisher: Continue reading “A Preview of The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig”

The Orchid Affair: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 8), by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Orchid Affair: A Novel, by Lauren Willig (2011)It is always a very special day when a new Pink Carnation novel is released. I had marked my calendar on January 20th with a big red X in anticipation. Lauren Willig is one the few authors that I just go nuts over. (How unprofessional to gush like a schoolgirl. I will be kind on myself and allow this one indulgence. Well maybe more than one, but that is another story.) The Orchid Affair is Willig’s eighth novel in the popular Pink Carnation series set during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. They involve historical espionage, romance, swash, buckle and a fair dose of comedy and sardonic wit – neatly ticking off all the check boxes on my ideal historical/romance/comedy reading hit list.

The opening chapters of Orchid were an abrupt change after the high comedy of Willig’s last offering, The Mischief of the Mistletoe. Get ready to shift gears. No Christma Continue reading “The Orchid Affair: A Pink Carnation Novel (Book 8), by Lauren Willig – A Review”

Regency-era English Christmas Pudding: American Fruitcake’s Kissin’ Cousin

Mrs. Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding circa 1890s

I recently read the delightful Regency-era Christmas novel The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig. Our hero Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh and heroine Arabella Dempsey are brought together by a Christmas pudding! Yep. A very creative ice-breaker to introduce and spark a romance, right?

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, by Lauren Willig (2010)In 1803, Arabella is an instructor at Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies in Bath, where “Turnip’s” sister Sally is a pupil. He is delivering her Christmas hamper to her and she in turn gives him a small muslin-wrapped and beribboned Christmas pudding which he proceeds to drop after barreling into to our heroine in the making in the hallway of the school. After profusely apologizing, he bounds out the door with Arabella in pursuit in an attempt to return the pudding to him: Continue reading “Regency-era English Christmas Pudding: American Fruitcake’s Kissin’ Cousin”

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