The Black Tulip picks up immediatly where The History of the Pink Carnation leaves off. Eloise (in trying to gather research for her dissertation) has just discovered the true identity of the Pink Carnation. It's what's she's been looking for, but there's a catch. The keeper of the archives that she's searching through when she discovered the indentity belongs to Colin Selwick (descendent character from the 1st book).
He invites (relunctantly) Eloise to his home to finish her research. At the end of Carnation, Eloise discovers who the Pink Carnation is, but also finds out about the Black Tulip, a deadly instrument of the French. So, Eloise delves into her research at Colin's home, this time following the story of Richard's (from Carnation) sister Henrietta and his best friend (and wannabe spy) Miles.
Henrietta wants to by a spy and Miles is sent on a mission. The two do not realize that they are after the samething. Throughout the story sparks fly between the pair as they try to solve the mystery of the identity of the Black Tulip. This also coincides with Eloise's own life and her growing attraction to Colin.
It's a great read, even better than Carnation. If you are looking at starting with this book...don't. Read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation first. It sets up this book and if you read this book first, it takes the fun out of finding who the Pink Carnation is in the 1st. If possible, I would have the 3rd book ready (The Deception of the Emerald Ring) because this book is another 'to be continued...' like the Carnation.
this is the second book of the trilogy, the first book is "the pink carnation". you'll enjoy and understand this second book if you read the first book. the third book is entitled "the deception of the emerald ring" which i look forward to reading. lauren willig has given her main character eloise, a modern graduate student a great sense of humor,human feelings and romance with another main character. the story is fun to read,the settings flip between victorian england with mystery and modern day england. you'll enjoy reading all the books.
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 Colins 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 doesnt 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 doesnt 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 doesnt 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) realisethey are in love. But the key iswill 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 cant miss
A very good follow-up to "The Secret History of the Pink Carnation". I know professional reviews seem to feel the contemporary plotline was a distraction the regency/spy plot, but I enjoyed it and am anxious to see how it resolves in the third book of the series.
More fun from Lauren Willig. I can't recommend this series too highly. Curl up with a blanket, a cup of tea, and forget your cares (and everything else) while you romp through this funny, exciting, romantic spy story. You won't regret it.
The books of the Pink Carnation series are fun, light reads. This one might be my favorite of the series. (I will have to see what Lauren Willig comes up with next.) I enjoy the historical aspect of all of these novels, and I love that Willig tells at the end of her books where she came up with the ideas from history and what parts of her stories are real. I also like that she gives references if you would like to find out more about the time period. Willig has done a great job following up the first book in the series. If you like the Pink Carnation, you will like this.
Slow start, but things pick up as the story moves along, especially the historical storyline which was a lot of fun in the second half. In fact the historical parts make this story, and things get very madcap by the end! The modern part of the plot is just sort of there -- it can't really be called "bad" since that would have required something to actually happen so you could judge it.
This series is so much fluffier than I thought it was going to be. From the covers you'd think this was going to be historical fiction, but it's straight romance. This is the second book in the series.
Oh, and I agree with the previous reviewer -- excellent narrator!
I absolutely love the narrator for these books. She does an amazing job -- for her alone, I will be purchasing the next one to listen to. The story is, of course, fun, silly, adventurous, etc etc. You can't help but laugh AND be entertained. This is a great series!
This is a wonderfuls story that continues the story of the spies in France,England and Ireland. You have to get used to the back and forth of the narration. It bugged me at first but then I came to like having the two stories going on at the same time. Great historical information and lots of fun!!
Mila G. (milacgates) - , reviewed The Masque of the Black Tulip (Pink Carnation, Bk 2) on
I love this series. I do skip the sections with the modern-day story, it really doesn't contribute anything. But I love the romance, the mystery, the adventure...and I will be working my way through all of them!
If you have read book one you realize this a modern story of grad student, Eloise the grad student researching England around 1803 using the archives of Colin Selwick's family.
In her latest research, we hear the story of Miles and Hen, and their romance.
So two romances in one. Chick lit with Historical Romance. and she flips back and forth from one to the other. If you are not fan of any of those genres this will just drag for you. Sometimes it did for me. And right when one story would get good she would switch back to the other, which kept you hooked. I couldnt wait for it to end, I needed to find out who the Black Tulip was. Of course it was not who I expected. Then she hooks you into book 3... so off to read that one next and see what happens... my prediction, Eloise and Colin continue to dance around each other and Geoff, heads to Ireland and gets a story of his romantic life next.
I am sure it says something like that on the back anyway.
I really like this series. Intelligently written, they're a cross between Jane Austin, Bridget Jones' Diary and spy thriller. The characters are interesting, and well formed and there's plenty of humor. Probably crosses over into chic-lit a little bit, but still, smart.
Usually Willig's books are fun, light reading for me but this one was a bit much. The plot followed her usual romps with Eloise, the graduate student studying spying activities during the English/French war with Napoleon at the head of his troops. And, of course, Eloise falls for her host, Colin Selwig, hoping for a romantic adventure. However, all this is normal for this series. What bothered me was some of the dialog. I doubt that women of this period used the phrase, "Chop, Chop!" In addition, the sappy conversation between Henrietta and Miles during their fight with the Marquise de Montval and her men was silly. I almost put the book down at this point but continued to the end. And, the last chapter seemed like an afterthought to me. I thought the book should have ended with the previous chapter. I did enjoy her historical notes at the end where she explains while her spies did not exist there were operatives who bore floral names. However, I have read others in the series that I enjoyed more. You may agree.