The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

the garden intrigue lauren willigI was cautious when I sat down to read Lauren Willig's latest installment of the Pink Carnation series, The Garden Intrigue. The cover is a bit different than the rest of the series. The title was a bit different. First of all, a garden in a not a flower even though it may be full of them. Secondly, I felt it needed an "of" -- don't you think that The Garden of Intrigue sounds more Pink Carnation-y than The Garden Intrigue? Exactly. So I was cautiously eyed it for several months before sitting down to read it.

Yes, several months. I've had this advanced review copy since October when I met up with Elizabeth in NYC before BlogHer Writers '11. Elizabeth managed to get not one but TWO advance copies of this gem and was kind enough to share with me. It'll hit store next month but the fact that I've had it since October... well, that shows some restraint don't you think?

The Garden Intrigue has us back in France again. This time we're right in Bonaparte's court with Jane and Augustus, and the new (I think) addition of Emma Morris Delagardie. (It's possible she was around in one of the earlier books and I don't remember her.) Emma's uncle was the American envoy in France so she came over with him and then she became afriend of Bonaparte's stepdaugther at school. She ended up eloping with a Frenchman, had marital issues, and then just when they were starting to work then out her husband died. She's been a bit aimlessly living in Paris ever since.

We've met Augustus Whittlesby in previous books. He's the brooding poet -- the brooding bad poet. He's also a secret agent for England. Hidden in his many cantos are secret messages for the British War Office. He and Jane plot together, work together and Augustus sometimes wonders if they could be something else together. But then there's Emma... maybe he's meant to be with her and not Jane?

And as always, Bonaparte is up to something. Rumour is that he's going to be named Emperor of France. But is that all he's got up his sleeve? Jane will find out but what will happen with Augustus and Emma when she does?

And in the modern day romance -- what's going to happen to Colin and Eloise now that her time in England is almost through? Add in a film crew descending on Colin's estate and you have the making for some modern day chaos.

My concerns about the content of the book based on the title and cover? Pfft. Gone within a few pages. As usual, I turned the last page and wanted more. Unfortunately. I have at least a year to wait. At least I already know it's going to be about Miss Gwen! Yes, Willig found a man who can stand up to the mighty parasol! Though I do hope that it will happen in England. I miss seeing the other Pink couples.

Disclaimer: This review is based on an ARC I received by a third-party.