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The seduction of the crimson rose
Lauren Willig
Adult Fiction WILLIG

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In the fourth installment of the Pink Carnation series, Mary Alsworthy suddenly finds herself on the outside of polite society after her younger sister, Letty, marries Mary's intended. Partly from boredom, partly from fascination, Mary accepts the advances of spy master Lord Vaughn when he asks her to help uproot a French spy called the Black Tulip who has a weakness for dark-haired women. As it turns out, the Black Tulip is no longer interested just in beautiful companions; he demands a sacrifice of Mary that she is reluctant to make. Navigating both the world of high society, where, if Mary doesn't find a husband soon she'll be doomed to live off her sister's charity, and the underworld, Mary may only realize too late that the Black Tulip is more connected to her than she ever imagined. This historical romance is filled with witty repartee and arch conversations between Mary and Vaughn, leaving no doubt as to the story's conclusion. Though the occasional jumps to the modern-day travails of Eloise Kelly, a grad student researching the Vaughn family for her dissertation, are as jarring as ad breaks in the middle of a film, the novel handily fulfills its promise of intrigue and romance. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In her fourth book of the "Pink Carnation" series, Willig continues to follow the adventures of the "flower spies" of the Napoleonic era. This time, Mary Alsworthy and Lord Vaughn, characters from her previous book The Deception of the Emerald Ring, decide to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Tulip, the noted French spy. Paralleling this story is the present-day tale of Ph.D. candidate Eloise Kelly, who continues to be romanced by Colin Selwick and who must now deal with the attentions of the archivist in charge of the Vaughn family papers. Listeners will get wrapped up in this interesting story. At the end of the book, Willig provides historical notes putting the material in context, also showing where she has twisted history a bit to create a more effective tale. Narrator Kate Reading is masterful; it's amazing how she can move from speaking in a deep, formal British accent as Lord Vaughn to Eloise, who sounds like a breezy young American, without missing a beat. For all public libraries. [Penguin Audio also has a version available: 11 CDs. unabridged. 14 hrs. 2008. ISBN 978-0-14-314295-9. $39.95.--Ed.]--Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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main characters Eloise Kelly
Age: 20s
Working in London on her dissertation on a pair of 19th century spies.

Mary Alsworth
Her sister accidentally stole her suitor; accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation; determined to uncover the identity of the Black Tulip, a French spy.

Lord Vaughn
Working with Mary to uncover the identity of the Black tulip; finds himself falling in love with Mary.

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