The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
11 October, 2009
I don’t recall where I stumbled upon this title but it was definitely on a book blog. So yay book blogs! And lucky me found this in my local library, which surprised me a little, as there hasn’t been that much coverage in the UK.
The Scarlet Pimpernel first stole my heart since I first read Baroness Orczy’s novels at school and watched Leslie Howard (what a dream!) as the elusive hero in black and white. More recently I watched Anthony Andrews take over as Sir Percy Blakeney on the telly, so I couldn’t really skip the chance of reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. It’s not a difficult book and took me a couple of days to finish, but it was very entertaining. Willig manages to entwine the fictional tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel with the reality of her characters by introducing his successor, the equally elusive Purple Gentian, after Sir Percy is unmasked and retires from espionage.
The story follows Eloise Kelly who is on secondment from Harvard to research the history of the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Purple Gentian, unmasked as Lord Richard Selwick, and the even more elusive Pink Carnation. Although the identities of the Pimpernel and Gentian are know, the Pink Carnation is still a mystery and Eloise is determined to find out who he is.
The story moves back and forth from the present day as Eloise reads the secret letters belonging to the Selwick family which chronicles the adventures of feisty Amy Balcourt, on a quest, together with her cousin Jane and chaperone Miss Gwen, to find and aid the Purple Gentian in restoring France’s monarchy and revenging her father’s death.
If you love the adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, do look this up because it’s light, funny, dotted with witty references to the Pimpernel himself and has a healthy dash of romance. After all, one of the things about the Scarlet Pimpernel that caught my heart was his love for his wife Margeurite.