THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY
Willig's charming sixth Pink Carnation book leaves the stuffiness of London drawing rooms behind for treacherous and tantalizing colonial India. In a fast-paced and riveting race to the finish, Penelope, Lady Frederick Staines, and Captain Alex Reid are caught up in a passion as unfamiliar and exhilarating as the Indian countryside around them. Focusing more on the historical storyline than the concurrent contemporary one, Willig teases and entices until the very last moment.
Having been shipped off to India with her new husband, Penelope is not the quiet, docile special envoy's wife everyone expects. Even surrounded by Freddy's British cohorts, she hears whispered rumblings of unrest and the mysterious French spy who calls himself the Marigold.
Hers is a marriage of convenience. She doesn't think she deserves better until she meets the honorable Captain Alex Reid, who challenges her to be herself. She seduces Alex out of a misguided sense of revenge over her husband's blatant infidelities. When tragedy strikes, Penelope and Alex are thrown together to seek out Marigold's true identity and to finally admit their feelings for each other. Meanwhile, in the present, now that Eloise and Colin are happily a couple, she tries to matchmake his sister Serena, only to discover just how complicated his family really is. (DUTTON, Jan., 416 pp., $25.95)