I quite enjoy the light romantic tales that Willig writes about spies and a graduate student who falls for a handsome Englishman. This story features a spy or spies known as the Black Tulip. Was there really a ring of them?
The tale begins with research where Eloise Kelly discovers more about the Pink Carnation spying group and uncovers leads to the Black Tulip. From this the story develops as Letty, striving to prevent her sister Mary from eloping and bringing scandal to her family is herself kidnapped by the would-be groom. Compelled by his honor to marry the petite red-haired sister, Geoff feels he is trapped into an undesirable marriage. He is certain he is in love with the tall, beautiful Mary who is always surrounded by admirers, certainly not her dumpy little sister. However, he discovers that there is much more to his new wife than he ever thought and his dreams about Mary begin to fade as he begins to know and understand Letty. She is straight-forward, honest, direct and sincere. Can she love him? Is he falling in love with her?
When the bodies of two raven-haired women are discovered, they wonder who will be next. Adding interest to the story is the jealous cousin, Jaspar, who cannot hold onto whatever money he has. If he only had the title and the money belonging to Goeff, his life would be perfect, so he begins to scheme to make it happen. Again, a delightful read from Lauren Willig who herself was a phD candidate in history like Eloise Kelly.