by Lauren Willig
New York : Dutton, c2005.
Eloise is working on her dissertation, and she's always been fascinated with enigmas like the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Purple Gentian, and the Pink Carnation. The identity of the first two have long been unmasked, but her hope is to come across something in the archives that will reveal the long-debated identity of the Pink Carnation. In the course of her search, a descendant of the Purple Gentian gives her unprecedented access to family papers, which contain the story of the origins of the Pink Carnation.
Most of the story, in fact, is set during 1803, when Amy Balcourt returns to France (she is half-French, half English) to try to meet the Purple Gentian and assist him in his fight against Napoleon. I am a moody reader and what I, apparently, was in the mood for when I picked up this book was pure, unadulterated fluff. Oh, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and would probably read it again. The characters were engaging and the romance aspect of the story amusing. Don't expect to find accurate historical fiction, however. History bends to serve the purpose of the narrative in more ways than one. The plot twists were not unexpected; in fact, I'd already guessed elements of the past and present story lines far before they were made explicit in the narration. Despite these facts, it was precisely the story I was in the mood for, and I enjoyed every unbelievable minute of it.
Oh, and now I'm rereading The Scarlet Pimpernel...