by Lauren Willig
Fourth book in The Pink Carnation series
At this point, I know what to expect from one of these books. Two initially adversarial individuals will meet and fall in love, but will spend much of the story in denial. So when Mary and Lord Vaughn’s initial conversation ends with her flouncing away, I knew they’d be wed by the end of the book. Willig manages to throw some surprises into the plot without throwing off her winning formula.
One of the things I found most entertaining about the story was the perspective flip. In previous books, we’ve seen Vaughn and Mary through an unflattering lense, but when the story is told from their perspective it is characters like Letty, Miles, Henrietta, and Geoffrey who appear to be silly, flighty, or insipid. Vaughn’s cynicism and Mary’s desire to marry for money are far more sympathetic when readers understand their backstories. As morally ambiguous characters, I found them far more interesting than the previous heroes and heroines.
Eloise and the 21st century cast continue to flesh out nicely. Eloise and Colin’s relationship continues to deepen as they get to know each other, but more rewarding is learning the unfortunate events that have rendered Colin’s sister Sabrina so brittle and shy. The rivalry between Eloise and Vaughn collection curator Dempsey made me laugh. Academia can be so cutthroat!
I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned the audiobooks for this series. I read the first three novels in print years ago, but for this round of reviews I’ve been listening to the books and Kate Reading has been an excellent narrator. She does a great job distinguishing characters through pitch and tone and accents, and keeps sillier scenes believable. I highly recommend her.
3 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2014: Author Talk: Lev Grossman and The Magicians Trilogy
2013: The House of Impossible Loves by Cristina Lopez Barrio
2012: Hetalia Vol. 2 by Hidekaz Himaruya
2011: Elizabeth's Women by Tracy Borman
2010: News: Press “Pause” on the Piranha
2009: The Rapture by Liz Jensen
2008: Tan Lines by J. J. Salem