Yes, I have enjoyed this series, but I am a bit tired of the format with the graduate student and her romance. I think that this portion is becoming tired and worn. However, the spy tale is intriguing although Willig had to throw a romance in that portion, too. It puts Laura Grey, a neophyte at spying, as a governess in the home of Andre Joauen. This is a role she is well qualified to occupy. Intrigue comes with the addition of a sinister colleague, Gaston DeLaroche, whose veiled threats are disturbing to the family.
The spy tale heats up when Laura encounters a childhood friend who painted her in one of his well known works. She was the girl with the yellow bird in Antoine Daubier's painting. He admired and called her parents friends. However, at a party in the home of Laura's employer, he is arrested for treason. In her efforts to search his flat and remove anything incriminating, Laura discovers the identity of prince the police are seeking.
When Antoine Daubier is arrested for treason, Laura discovers that Andre and Daubier have been hiding the prince. With Daubier's arrest, she becomes very worried about her old friend. Andre agrees to leave Paris under her guidance after he rescues the painter. In the prison, he finds a man unlike the one he calls friend. All the fingers on his painting hand have been broken and the knuckle crushed. The group leaves Paris with an traveling acting group. Yet there is more to this quick read but readers will need to discover the rest for themselves. Except, for the graduate student's romance, I quite enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com
Laura Grey doesn't want to be a governess anymore. Instead, she applies to the Selwick Spy School. After completing her training, she's sent to France to infiltrate the house of Andre Jaouen - as a governess.
Known as the Silver Orchid, she's to teach his two children. On her first day, she takes the children to the bookstore to select reading material for them. It's also the place where she'll receive messages from the Pink Carnation herself.
However, as soon as they return, Monsieur Jaouen forbids them to leave the house again. Laura isn't sure how she'll receive her messages now, but she's determined not to let M. Jaouen intimidate her. She stands up to him as much as she possibly can without getting fired.
Gradually, she begins to unravel the secrets in the house of the man second in line to Bonaparte's minister of police. As she learns more about her employer, will she find her heart changing?
I love this series! It's one of my favorites. I enjoyed this new spy's tale in the heat of the French Revolution. I liked the devious plots, the false leads, and how everyone wasn't what they seemed. I liked watching the relationship between Laura and the children grow. I loved the banter between Laura and M. Jaouen., and I also loved the present-day parallel story between Eloise and Colin.
I can't wait for the next book in the series!
PLOT SUMMARY: In this 8th book, we return to the location where the series started - revolutionary France in the early 1800's. Our heroine is 32 year-old Laura Gray, who, although raised in France, was orphaned at 16 while living in England and learned to make her own way in the world as a governess. After sixteen years as a governess, she decides she wants a little excitement in her life so she becomes the "Silver Orchid", a member of the Pink Carnation spy group. Her first assignment? To infiltrate the house of the assistant to Bonaparte's chief of police - by acting as governess for his children. Her new employer, Andre Jaouen, is a widower who was filled with revolutionary ferver when young, but is now becoming disillusioned with the politics and bloodlust of the French revolution.
The first half of this book is filled with Laura putting her new spy skills to use and figuring out how the Pink Carnation network of spies works in Paris. In the second half of the book, the action - and the romance - picks up on a plot that the author freely admits was inspired by the classic novel Scaramouche.
MY REVIEW: Last week was a busy and stressful one for me at work, and listening to the audio of the newest book in the Pink Carnation series on my commute helped keep me sane. Even in the 8th book, this series is still witty, supenseful and every book is inventive and unique.
As usual, the author added an epilogue to the end of the book to give details on the history behind the story, including what was real and what wasn't. And as usual, since I'm someone who enjoys history but can't always remember the historical details, I very much appreciate this factual summary. Saves me the Googling that I usually do after reading historical fiction to learn more :-)
Some of the reviewers of this book have said that this wasn't their favorite book of the series. Well, I beg to diifer because it was definitely one of mine. That's probably because the heroine and the hero were both older (than usual). She actually had crinkle lines around her eyes! And he wore glasses. I'm a sucker for a man in glasses. Plus I think the fact that they were older added to the maturity of the characters and made their verbal sparing even more witty. I say hurrah for mature characters!
ETA: I forgot to mention that for those of you who are audio book fans, these are EXCELLENT books on audio. The narrator, Kate Reading, is a natural.