I don't read too much fiction any more because my days are pretty busy. About 2 years ago, I happened upon The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
at Target when I was looking for something interesting to read. The writing was very good and the story sounded interesting. A Harvard graduate student doing research on aristocratic spies in the time of Napolean stumbles upon an unknown spy and a love story while finding her own love story too. By the time I finished it I was hooked and so pleased to find the sequal, The Masque of the Black Tulip at my local bookstore.
This book has been my favorite of the series. These books are so well written that it is hard to believe "The Pink Carnation is the first novel written by Lauren Willig. I love the language--it's the sort of writing I would aspire to. There is a lot of humor in these as well as unforgettable characters. The leading man in the Black Tulip is Miles Dorrington, one of my top favorites for the Carnation men; now also my daughter's favorite too. I picture him as a Brandon Fraser kind of guy. But I digress...
Other books in the series are The Deception of the Emerald Ring, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and the most recent (Feb 2010) The Betrayal of the Blood Lily.
There is a sex scene in each of the books but it is short about a page. Sorry if this offends but I tore out the page before letting my daughter read it. Personally I don't think the books needed this and it seems more out of merchandising concerns than necessary to the plot. The most recent book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily had 3 scenes I thought were a bit explicit. The most of any of the books. I suppose because of the setting in India and this book seemed a bit darker. Although I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would, I am hoping this won't be a trend with future books in the series. It is the richness of her writing, her humor and her relatable characters that keep me coming back to these books. I am eagerly awaiting the October debut of the next installment.