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The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren…

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (edition 2008)

by Lauren Willig

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7243712,977 (3.7)57
Title:The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
Authors:Lauren Willig
Info:Dutton Adult (2008), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig


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I am continuing to enjoy Willig’s historical fiction/espionage/romance series. For me, a lot of the charm is that in each book Willig focuses attention on a different romantic couple, while continuing to bring earlier characters into the story line, where appropriate. I have to say that Lord Vaughn and Mary Alsworthy have been my favorite “couple” in the series so far. Lord Vaughn is the epitome of a wealthy sardonic rake of the time period, one who lives for verbal sparring and mental game-play with the individuals he encounters. Mary is the epitome of an icy goddess capable of matching Vaughn’s remarks with sharp, witty rejoiners of her own. The espionage case plays second fiddle, IMO, to the sparks flying between Vaughn and Mary, while the “complication” in Vaughn’s life works exceptionally well to spice up the plot. The developing romance between the present day characters of Eloise and Colin continues to move along at a nice pace but for me, it is the historical fiction part of the story that really captured my attention.

Overall, I am loving this series and looking forward to reading the next installment. ( )
  lkernagh | May 1, 2017 |
This episode stars Lord Vaughn and Mary Alsworthy. Both of them have appeared in earlier books. Neither was really a positive character. Mary is single-minded in her search for a husband and is willing to use all her womanly wiles to capture one. Lord Vaughn has been a mysterious character of uncertain loyalties.

In this story, Vaughn offers to pay for Mary's next London season if she will act as bait to capture the mysterious Black Tulip. Mary wants the season. In her defense, marriage really was the only acceptable path for a woman in her social class at the time. I loved the dialogue between the two of them as they sparred, exchanged quotations, and tried to outdo each other.

It was fun to watch two cynical and practical people fall in love but secrets from Lord Vaughn's past threaten to derail their bright new future. And the Black Tulip has plans of his own that create all sorts of danger for both Vaughn and Mary.

In the present section of the story, Eloise finally gets to have her date with Colin wherein she learns why he was so unwelcoming when she came to look at the family papers. ( )
1 vote kmartin802 | Jun 17, 2016 |
Fourth book in The Pink Carnation series

After her beau is stolen by her younger sister, Mary Alsworthy is determined to find another suitor. She’s not interested in love – only in landing a rich man who can support her. In order to fund another season in London, Mary agrees to help the Pink Carnation through the English spy’s agent, Lord Vaughn. Mary’s dark hair and fair complexion is the type that attracts the Black Tulip, and it is hoped that she’ll lure him out of hiding before he and Napoleon launch their plot to invade England. Two centuries later, Eloise Kelly continues her research on the Pink Carnation and learns she isn’t the only one seeking the spy’s identity. The curator of the Vaughn archive believes that the key to the mystery lies in the Selwick family papers, and he will stop at nothing to gain access to them.

At this point, I know what to expect from one of these books. Two initially adversarial individuals will meet and fall in love, but will spend much of the story in denial. So when Mary and Lord Vaughn’s initial conversation ends with her flouncing away, I knew they’d be wed by the end of the book. Willig manages to throw some surprises into the plot without throwing off her winning formula.

One of the things I found most entertaining about the story was the perspective flip. In previous books, we’ve seen Vaughn and Mary through an unflattering lense, but when the story is told from their perspective it is characters like Letty, Miles, Henrietta, and Geoffrey who appear to be silly, flighty, or insipid. Vaughn’s cynicism and Mary’s desire to marry for money are far more sympathetic when readers understand their backstories. As morally ambiguous characters, I found them far more interesting than the previous heroes and heroines.

Eloise and the 21st century cast continue to flesh out nicely. Eloise and Colin’s relationship continues to deepen as they get to know each other, but more rewarding is learning the unfortunate events that have rendered Colin’s sister Sabrina so brittle and shy. The rivalry between Eloise and Vaughn collection curator Dempsey made me laugh. Academia can be so cutthroat!

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned the audiobooks for this series. I read the first three novels in print years ago, but for this round of reviews I’ve been listening to the books and Kate Reading has been an excellent narrator. She does a great job distinguishing characters through pitch and tone and accents, and keeps sillier scenes believable. I highly recommend her. ( )
  makaiju | Dec 13, 2015 |
I ended up liking this a bit more than I expected. With the minimal exposure to the Mary from the previous books and the unflattering exposure to Lord Vaughn in book #3, I was not expecting to care about the relationship — either good or bad — between them. Thankfully, the author managed to produce a story that did not rely on a graphic coupling between the main characters. (To be fair, she flirted with it, but refrained from letting the temptation carry through.) Mary's character become a bit more sympathetic over the course of the book, but I honestly never got a firm grasp of what Willig wants us to think about Vaughn. And I sincerely hope the Black Tulip is not going to continue to be presumed dead at the end of successive books, only to resurrect in a new storyline. This is two books in a row, and the is-he (or she)-dead-or-inexplicably-escaped trope has already worn thin for me. I have two more books in the series on my shelf, but I am already beginning to feel a sense of ennui with both the historical and modern-day stories of the series. I may see if they are available from the library, but I definitely will not be buying any more of Ms. Willig's books; it's beginning to feel like the same basic story being told over and over with a basic change of name and location. ( )
  tarheel96 | Apr 11, 2014 |
Mary Alsworthy, who faithful readers will remember as being the jilted sister in [b:The Deception of the Emerald Ring|25802|The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, Book 3)|Lauren Willig|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167766189s/25802.jpg|26522], is living with her sister- and brother-in-law. As the woman widely believed to be the most beautiful in London society, she finds this unbearable. She should be the Viscountess, not her sister. When the Pink Carnation, through Lord Sebastian Vaughn, offers Mary the opportunity to win a little independence in exchange for some faithful service to the Crown, Mary jumps at the opportunity.

Fun fluff. That really sums these books up. But they are such fun fun fluff. I call them my slightly guilty pleasure. I try to tell myself that the historical fiction aspect redeems them a little, but that's not really true. There's probably technically no redeeming value to this series at all--except that I find myself at the very least slightly smiling through the whole book. That's worth something, isn't it?

This one was just as good as the others. Around page 150 I thought I had the whole thing figured out, so I was starting to get a little disappointed. It turns out that I didn't have a clue what was going on.

I have developed this phantom pain in my right eyebrow though. It seemed like someone was arching an eyebrow or raising a brow at least once on every page. Seriously. It's all well and good to give your characters mannerisms, but don't wear them out. Please.

In the current time, Eloise and Colin are finally starting to get somewhere. Their storyline is moving so slowly though that I really don't care. I can't wait to get back to early-19th-century England and see what's going on with the characters back then.

And speaking of characters--Letty was cute in the last book, but she got positively annoying in this one!

I recommend this for those needing a little--you guessed it--fun fluff. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
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"Four pounds,” demanded the fourteen-foot-high statute of Hercules.
Plots and counterplots, alliances and betrayals had all left their mark on his form. They were written on the thin, flexible line of his lips, designed to laugh or sneer as the occasion required; the hooded lids that shielded his eyes from scrutiny more effectively than any number of hats; the lean swordsman's body disguised beneath an incongruous armor of lace and jewels. Vaughn, Mary thought, would have made an excellent Caeser, raw power clothed in deadly pomp.
There was nothing like a bit of the Bard to add depth and grandeur to one's petty peccadilloes.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525950338, Hardcover)

'I cannot imagine any recompense you might offer that would be of any interest to me.' Basking in self-satisfaction, Mary swished regally down the long corridor, giving Vaughn an excellent view of her elegant back and graceful carriage. Vaughn's amused voice snaked after her. 'Can't you? I can....'

England 1803. Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn: to infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master Napoleon Bonaparte can stage their planned invasion of England

Every spy has a weakness, and for the Black Tulip that weakness is beautiful black-haired women. Mary easily catches his attention, but Lord Vaughn never anticipates that his own heart will be caught as well, and it won't be long before Mary and Vaughn find themselves lost in the shadows of a treacherous garden of lies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:45 -0400)

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Determined to secure another London season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation: to infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England. Every spy has a weakness, and for the Black Tulip that weakness is black-haired women--his "petals" of the Tulip. A natural at the art of seduction, Mary easily catches the attention of the French spy, but Lord Vaughn never anticipates that his own heart will be caught as well.--From publisher description.… (more)

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