Book Review: The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig

The Pink Carnation, history’s most elusive spy and England’s only hope for preventing a Napoleonic invasion, returns in Lauren Willig’s dazzling imaginative new historical romance. The Masque of the Black Tulip opens with the murder of a courier from the London War Office, his confidential dispatch for the Pink Carnation stolen. Meanwhile, the Black Tulip, France’s deadliest spy, is in England with instructions to track down and kill the Pink Carnation. Only Henrietta Uppington and Miles Dorrington know where the Pink Carnation is stationed. Using a secret code book, Henrietta has deciphered a message detailing the threat of the Black Tulip. Meanwhile, the War Office has enlisted Miles to track down the notorious French spy before he (or she) can finish the deadly mission. But what Henrietta and Miles don’t know is that while they are trying to find the Black Tulip (and possibly falling in love), the Black Tulip is watching them.

Let me start this review by saying I am sorry for the delay I have been ill. Now…to the good part. *Completed April 30th*

The Masque of the Black Tulip brings us once again into the modern day life of Eloise the grad student and Colin the Selwick descendent. And of course the past lives of Richard, Jane, Miles, Amy and Henrietta. Slipping into the pages of this book was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. You knew where you were, picking up precisely where you left off. But oh the places you will go.

We see more flirtations between Eloise and Colin, as you might in any good chic lit. But it remains mostly light, sarcastic and fun. They have a witty commentary all the while Eloise is flipping through Colin’s family papers. And oh what we learn in those family papers this time.

Miles is tired of being the side kick, its not that he doesn’t love his fried Richard (The Purple Gentian), he does of course. But now that Richard has been unmasked Miles would like to find his own way to help the kingdom. The problem for Miles is he happens to be very big, very broad, and very blonde. He doesn’t move with the same graceful ease as a general spy, rather he looms. And once in a place is somewhat like a bull in a china shop. But never mind he has charm! I positively love Miles; he is witty, charming and just hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud (and getting some looks) on more pages than I can count.

Miles is eventually given the job by the War Office of finding the Black Tulip, a very dangerous French spy. You really will enjoy following Miles and Henrietta as they see about catching the Black Tulip. Because Henrietta doesn’t see why Richard should have all the fun. Why should her brother be the only spy in the family? Along the way somehow the pair (separately) realise…they are in love. But the key is…will they tell one another? If you enjoy history, and a bit of fun you will love the Mask of the Black Tulip. This is one you can’t miss.

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