Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig

Pages: 468
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: August 6, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed in an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates. Having served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England’s most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she’s just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation’s little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl’s disappearance. Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen’s partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls…"
The year is 1805 and Gwen, lady companion to Jane (The Pink Carnation) isn't what she appears to be.  She is also a spy and a good one at that.  At night, in Paris, she masquerades as a man and spies on Napoleon's foreign minister.  Meanwhile, Jane and Gwen are called back to England to receive some bad news about Jane's sister, Agnes.  While at boarding school, it seems that she has "disappeared."  While investigating the situation, Gwen meets Col. Reid, whose daughter has also disappeared along with Agnes.  What is even more sad is the fact that Reid has been waiting to be reunited with his daughter as he sent her away to be educated and for her safety many years ago.  He is hoping the girls are merely visiting his daughter's older sister in Bristol; however, much to his dismay, that it is not the case. Thankfully, Gwen accepts the task of finding the two girls along with the handsome Col. Reid.  Then the plot thickens! Lauren Willig's latest installment in the Pink Carnation series, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, is a fun and light historical read that I enjoyed getting lost in.

Gwen is the kind of herioine that I love in The Passion of the Purple Plumeria. She can hold her own, she's clever, witty, and a lot of fun.  I thoroughly enjoyed her.  One of my favorite aspects of the book was following Gwen's gothic novel, The Convent of Orsino, which is a tell-all of her adventures as Purple Plumeria, her alter-ego.

Willig is such a fantastic author. Although I have read her before (The Ashford Affair) this novel was a lot different in that it was pure fun.  There were even moments that made me giggle.  Also, one thing I really enjoy about Willig's writing is that she frames her historical part of the novel with a present day story.   In The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, readers become familiar with Colin, a descendent of the Pink Carnation, and a historian, Eloise.  I love how Willig uses this technique in her books; it works really well.

Who doesn't love a romance/spy series? My only regret is that I haven't read the other books in the series and while I could keep up, there is no denying that there is definitely an involved back story in The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, specifically with the character of Eloise.  Either way, this book was pure entertainment and I can't wait to check out the other books in the series. If you like historical fiction, spy stories, and some romance, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria will be right up your alley

Be sure to check back on Thursday for my exclusive interivew with Lauren Willig!


  1. I really want to read this one because I like the character of Gwen. I have read most of the books in the series except for the one right before this one. I prefer the historical parts to the contemporary and I enjoy how the author incorporates humor, mystery, and adventure.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series too! Great review.

    1. Gwen was such a fun character! I really enjoyed the historical parts as well. I was surprised by all the humor in it, which I don't think was present as much in The Ashford Affair. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one! Hope you continue with the series. I'm looking forward to your interview.

    1. I will definitely continue with the series. I want to start with book one though. :) Thanks for checking out my review, Kate!

  3. You've gotta love clever, witty, and fun heroines! They make books so much more enjoyable. I'll have to check out this series.

    Great review :)

  4. I haven't heard of this one and have never read anything by this author. I was under the impression that she wrote straight and serious historical fiction. I didn't realize there was a modern aspect or that they were lighter books. I may have to check her out. Great review!


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