I don’t know why but I always seem to go into the later Pink Carnation books with a preconceived notion of the romance.
With the last book, I was so not looking forward to it but found it was one of the more enjoyable ones! So one would think that I would keep an open mind. But I didn’t.
I was not really looking forward to an ‘old person romance’ in this book…not that I’m a spring chicken mind you but still…something about Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid just didn’t scream sexy to me.
In my mind, Miss Gwen is this old lady chaperone with pursed lips and grey hair while Colonel Reid seemed like this rough around the edges ladies man with grey hair….both charming in their own right but not anyone that I would fancy reading a romance about.
I am continually shocked with Willig’s ability to make me love her romances in spite of myself and my preconceived notions. Mind blown.
Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed in an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates.
Having served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England’s most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she’s just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation’s little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl’s disappearance.
Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen’s partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls (summary from Goodreads).
While this book had the same hallmarks that Willig is known for, it read a little differently for me. Most of the books up until now were all whimsey, dashing spies, and easily conquered villains who had a code more of less. There was never a time in the series that I felt like the heroines or heroes were in any real danger. With this book I feel like shit just got real.
With the two girls missing, Jane all of a sudden realizes that her a little ‘game’ isn’t such a game after all but a real danger with real consequences. Not that I think she didn’t know that but I think the disappearance of her sister left its mark and impression on her and Miss Gwen as well.
I am just going to say upfront, that Jane has been my least favorite character throughout the series. I never feel like I ever warmed up to her and she never really endeared herself to me and in this book I like her even less. I completed the book with a bad taste in my mouth for her. More on Jane in my future reviews of this series so stay tuned.
Even though Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid seemed like an unlikely romance, I loved watching it unfold. We got to know Miss Gwen on such a personal level and it was touching to see her for the gem that she is under all that pomp and gusto. I loved that Colonel Reid was able to really strip her down and identify her weaknesses as well as how others viewed her was so wonderfully touching and inspiring. I loved their conversations and watching them come together in unexpected ways.
I also loved their easy banter. Sure it’s nice to read flowery prose and sweet nothings but there is something about sharp pointed wit and dressing down that I can’t resist. To me it seems so much more real than the stuff of poetry and romances.
This book was such a great installment with two memorable characters that I cannot wait to see in future books. While each of Willig’s books are great in their own ways, there are some romances that are more memorable than others and this is one of them.
- Review copy provided by: Personal Collection
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: historical fiction, romance, Regency lit