THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION

Author(s): 

Part chick lit, part historical romance, part spy story, this novel never overcomes its bulkiness. Contemporary scenes start promisingly, but become gratuitous. More compelling are the sections about an imaginative 19th-century spy story.Despite her problems with plotting, first-time author Willig is wickedly erudite. Her elegant sentences and droll wit complement impeccable historical accuracy.

Part chick lit, part historical romance, part spy story, this novel never overcomes its bulkiness. Contemporary scenes start promisingly, but become gratuitous. More compelling are the sections about an imaginative 19th-century spy story.

Eloise is a Harvard graduate student researching her dissertation in London. When she discovers a secret cache of letters about the most elusive spy of all time, readers are taken back into the exciting historical events. The historical sections have all the action and punch the contemporary scenes lack as Eloise grows closer to discovering the identity of the Pink Carnation.

Despite her problems with plotting, first-time author Willig is wickedly erudite. Her elegant sentences and droll wit complement impeccable historical accuracy. (Feb., 400 pp., $19.95)

Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison