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The Orchid Affair

Laura Grey a veteran governess joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling exploits in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of Andre Jaouen right hand man to Bonaparte's minister of police Jaouen and his arch rival Gaston Delaroche are investigating a susp. Here s the thing If you re at the point where you re reading the SEVENTH of a series in HARDCOVER you don t really need my review You re like me you re going to read it regardless of what the main storyline might be We ve come this far and we ve been amused enough with the ride so we ll continue on The Orchid Affair is indeed the seventh book in the Pink Carnation series a count which doesn t include the Christmas intrigue published a few months ago or that little online novella published by Lauren Willig historical romance novelist who found her way to full time writing only after going to Harvard Law something tells me that when they talk about the many things you can do with your law degree this might not have been what they had in mind Willig has certainly published a great deal since The Secret History of the Pink Carnation appeared in 2005 so thank goodness she seems to know exactly what her readers want The series is loosely gathered around the doings of the Pink Carnation an English spy but the Pink Carnation herself is a somewhat elusive character only peeking in occasionally while each book focuses on the love lives of two other individuals Most of the pairs of lovers in uestion are English regardless of the country that provides our setting but The Orchid Affair is uniue rather than featuring Englishfolk running about France while sporting flowery spy names this installment features a Frenchwoman returning home after spending years in England as a governess so she can sport a flowery spy name and be planted in the home of a French official Much less Englishness And running At least in the first half In the end what she and her super secret spy boss The Pink Carnation doesn t uite count on is that the French official in uestion might not be totally on board with the current government s practices either which would make them surprising allies in the need to smuggle a French claimant to the throne out of FranceWillig readers know the basic idea of what they ll be getting here Some ridiculous fun and an eventual happy ending preferably with a sexy scene or two tossed in or at least some nice romantic angst And when the obvious set up is between a secret spy governess and the employer she s spying on well there you have it Laura Grey is indeed a governess so posing as a governess isn t a terribly difficult role for her Her parents were artists her mother a poet of some note and her father a well known sculptor and while they had many friends in life when they died in a boating accident Laura made her own way in life Now the thrill of serving as a spy and having gone through the Selwick Spy School is a bit muted by the daily duties of teaching children so thankfully the story does eventually veer off into something much amusing a traveling troupe of actors Andre Jaouen is her employer the right hand man and cousin by marriage to the Chief of Police It s not surprising therefore that the Pink Carnation might want someone in his employ to glean any useful bits of information what Laura eventually discovers however is that Andre is assisting the Royalist cause having grown jaded with what the Revolution has led to As a result we get a fresher look at all the post Revolution politics in France which provides a welcome perspective in a series where naturally one must worry about the whole those Frenchies seek him everywhere storyline could get tiredOn the modern end of things as each novel does tie together with the modern graduate student Eloise and her blossoming romance with the many time great grandson of one of these flowery spies we actually are seeing some drama stir up that goes beyond Eloise and Colin I was a tad disappointed that we get no new information about exactly what Colin might be up to is he really writing a spy novel or is he perhaps taking up the family business of spying but we do get a bit of drama as it concerns his family s estate and his mother s husband who was her husband s nephew ew making a bit of a power play in his desire to be head of the family and trump Colin The trouble here is that we get so little time with this cast that I always find myself wishing for and not in the good sense strictly speaking Certainly it s interesting but it does feel like we re rather eking along thereI enjoy Willig s novels because she clearly has fun with the story which means that the reader is likely to have fun reading it She creates likable characters often of the bumbling variety and they get up to ridiculous antics and The Orchid Affair one was about par for the course though it takes a little while to get to the ridiculous antics as Paris is far too grim and serious for such things evidently Sadly we re getting to the point where Willig has paired off so many people it seems almost absurd when you come across them a whole group of perfectly matched couples in charge of espionage operations across the Channel But I chuckled and read the book in a weekend so clearly it was all still amusing enough It wasn t my favorite of her novels by any means the best one in the recent past was The Betrayal of the Blood Lily It was good to get back to the actual center of the series aka the French Revolution though and the French perspective was a nice angle The Mischief of the Mistletoe introduced a whole crop of younger sisters so clearly Willig has ample future heroines tucked away so I ll keep on reading Reading a Lauren Willig novel is an exceedingly pleasant way to pass a winter s afternoonevening Just keep the tea warm and the scones at the ready

characters The Orchid Affair

With Jaouen than she originally thought As their plots begin to unravel Laura and Jaouen are forced on the run with the children and with the help of the Pink Carnation they escape to the countryside traveling as husband and wife But Delaroche will stop at nothing to take down his nemesis With his men hot on their trail can Laura and Jaouen seal the fate of Europe before it's too lat. 35 stars After diving back into the Pink Carnation series with the sixth book The Betrayal of the Blood Lily I was eagerly ready to continue readingI have already read the seventh book so I moved on to The Orchid Affair instead As with the previous books we meet a likable heroine in a decidedly awkward situation and a headstrong bachelor with the last thing on his mind being loveWhile many of Willig s books have a decidedly obvious formula that has never turned me off to the series I think what I love most is her ability to make me buy into the romance no matter how odd or challenging it isAbout the only way I can describe this book is the Von Trapp family without Nazi s and singing I am not really sure why but it just seemed like that was the best way to describe it Governess goes to work for man who is supposed to be the enemy and has children to win over only to find that he isn t as brutish as he seems and the children in desperate need of a female influence With the threat of the French master of terror Gaston Delaroche stalking their every move it becomes rapidly apparent that the family needs to get out of Paris So for me there were hints of The Sound of Music throughout the storyI thought this was going to be a difficult romance for me to buy into mostly because the other romances has of less been between the gentry or lordsladies It s implied that Andre Jaouen is of a wealthy gentleman in Paris especially because he has a governessWhere as Laura is clearly what she seemsa poor governess eager for adventure but lacking funds or options I figured that would be a challenge for me to believe however Willig as usual does a fantastic job at weaving a believable story between the hero and heroine I loved watching their romance evolve and come to fruition There were times that I felt like maybe it was a little too rushed but the speed seemed about circumstance than about realismMoving there series back to its roots pleased me While I liked the dog leg into India and some of it s politics the series started as of a ParisEngland situation so I liked that we were getting back to its roots so to speak I also enjoyed returning characters like Miss Gwen and Jane I also appreciated how Willig kind of gave us a little ever after in this book Sometimes it isn t clear what happened to some of our favorite couples but in this one she kind of fills in the gaps toward the end with Eloise s researchI want to talk a little about my ratings for some of the books in the series While I might give 3 stars to a book in this series it by NO MEANS indicates that it s a subpar book Every book in the Pink Carnation series is wonderfully addicting for me I literally start one and the next thing I know it s 2 am and I am still reading I love love love these books They are everything that is promisedthe modern Jane Austen I love them However when compared to the first book in the series it s hard to compare I tend to base my ratings of the books as they compare to the first book This one was a 35 for me but as I said that doesn t mean it s a mean book because it was anything but that it just means that compared to the first book it was good rather than outstanding as was the first bookSee my full review here

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Ected Royalist plot to unseat Bonaparte and Laura's mission is to report any suspicious findings At first the job is as lively as Latin textbooks and knitting but Laura begins to notice strange behavior from Jaouen secret meetings and odd comings and goings As Laura edges herself closer to her employer she makes a shocking discovery and is surprised to learn that she has far in common. This was much MUCH better than the last couple of Carnation books I don t even think I really remember those I must have blocked them out Jane actually shows up and the focus is back on FranceEngland which makes much sense since I doubt the Secret Carnation controlled espionage on every continentAnyway this one was a bit mature in terms of character both Laura and Andre are in their 30s and I felt that it was also less frivolous than previous installments The romance bloomed slowly and the spy elements made sense although I m still not convinced of Andre s motives My only disappointment is the modern section which just seems to drag without purpose I would like it better if that story just framed the other the interruptions began to get tedious Still it was a welcome relief to have the Carnation series back into fighting shape


About the Author: Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen works of historical fiction Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages awarded the RITA Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction After graduating from Yale University she embarked on a PhD in History at Harvard before leavin



10 thoughts on “The Orchid Affair

  1. says:

    Here's the thing If you're at the point where you're reading the SEVENTH of a series in HARDCOVER you don't really need my review You're like me; you're going to read it regardless of what the main storyline might be We've come this far and we've been amused enough with the ride so we'll continue on The Orchid Affair is indeed the seventh book in the Pink Carnation series a count which doesn't include the Christmas int

  2. says:

    I'm glad to see Willig getting back to a espionage heavy plot I thought the political intrigue here was one of her best she notes at the end that it is based on real events and characters and I think that approach worked well for her

  3. says:

    The Silver Orchid shines in post revolutionary Paris The Orchid Affair is Willig’s eighth novel in the popular Pink Carnation series set during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France They involve historical espionage romance swash buckle and a fair dose of comedy and sardonic wit – neatly ticking off all the check boxes on my ideal historicalromancecomedy reading hit listThe opening chapters of Orc

  4. says:

    This was much MUCH better than the last couple of Carnation books I don't even think I really remember those I must have blocked them out Jane actually shows up and the focus is back on FranceEngland which makes much sens

  5. says:

    Oh dear Laura and Letty are now having a face off over who is the best Willig heroine Arabella is looking on to see if she can capitalize on the disagreement if Pen doesn't beat her to the punchline Mary thinks she is bett

  6. says:

    Oh I loved this installment of Pink Carnation The historical action shifts to France and I loved the intrigue The Selwick spy school sends one of its pupils off on a mission and it kept me buried deep in readingLaura Grey has spent 16

  7. says:

    There's a reason why Lauren Willig's books are so popular and The Orchid Affair reminded me of why I didn't want this book to end The story is

  8. says:

    Ahh Willig is such a delightful author to read Buta funny thing happened on the way through this book a subtle ro

  9. says:

    35 stars After diving back into the Pink Carnation series with the sixth book The Betrayal of the Blood Lily I was eagerly ready to continue readingI have already read the seventh book so I moved on to The Orchid Affair instead As with the previous books we meet a likable heroine in a decidedly awkward situation and a headstrong bachelor with the last thing on his mind being loveWhile many of Willig’s books have a decidedly obvi

  10. says:

    Laura Grey has had it being a governess She has just graduated from the Selwick Spying Academy and is off to France to do her bit to fight the revolution Of course she just happens to be going to France in the very role she was trying to escape that of governess Laura or precisely Laure Griscogne has been away from her homeland since her parents died and left her orphaned and having to take care of herself in the only way possible

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