The Passion of the Plumeria and The Ashford Affair

You know I love the Pink Carnation romance spy series. I saw the newest Pink Carnation (The Passion of the Purple Plumeria) at a bookstore in Santa Cruz, California, and bought it to read on our camping trip. And I have to say, it’s a good thing I love Lauren Willig’s books so much, or I might have regretted the purchase. (It also helps that my dad so very generously funds my book habit when we travel.)

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria In this installment, we meet up with Captain Reid and Miss Gwen, who are thrown together when two girls go missing. One of them is Reid’s daughter, the other the sister of the Pink Carnation. Since Miss Gwen is the Pink Carnation’s chaperone, she injects herself into the search. A lot of intrigue and romance later, will the girls be found?

The book contains everything you need for a good spy romance, but it was hard not to keep shaking my head at the thin plot and less-than-stellar writing. In fact, the only thing I really appreciated about the book was that for once, the characters weren’t young and pretty and oh so innocent. It was kind of refreshing to see romance happen to the over-forties.

But I do hope that this isn’t the last Pink Carnation book, as it would break my heart to have the last one be so forgettable.

9781250014498-1 But then I picked up The Ashford Affair at the library here, and my faith in historical romances–and Lauren Willig–was restored. The basic plot is: lawyer girl gives up everything to further her career, then finds out a family secret that turns her life upside down. Half the book describes Clementine’s life, the other half is devoted to retelling the secret in real time. It’s pretty well done, leading the reader from New York to Africa, with just enough clichés to keep it light and easy, and just enough plot twists to keep it interesting.

So, in summary? Go read The Ashford Affair if  you’re so inclined, and leave The Purple Plumeria to the diehard fans like me.

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