The flower-named spies
of Regency England return as Willig's smart, sassy style cleverly incorporates a modern-day historian's hunt for information with Regency characters and events. Willig switches from a historical voice to a modern tone with ease, drawing readers back and forth in time as
they hold their breath to see what
happens next.

As Eloise Kelly researches the identity of the British spy known as the Pink Carnation, she becomes immersed in uncovering the truth about the Carnation's nemesis, The Black Tulip. She suspects he's Lord Vaughn.

As the novel moves into the past, it's obvious Vaughn is one of the Carnation's agents. His assignment is to lure Mary Alsworthy to infiltrate the Tulip's ring. Just recovering from being jilted, Mary is the ideal pawn. But can an innocent woman stand up to a master spy?

With Vaughn as her mentor, Mary navigates the maze the Tulip has laid out and prevents his plot from destroying England. Her more difficult task is not falling in love with Vaughn, who finds Mary his equal in every way. But then his wife returns from the dead, throwing them into danger. (Dutton, Feb., 400 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin