Sixth in Series
Why I Read: I had read the previous books in the series and while I was disappointed in the last one (Night Jasmine), I wanted to continue.
Summary: Lady Frederick Staines, nee Penelope Deveraux, is in India trying to move past the gossip about her marriage and following her husband to his new appointment. Captain Alex Reid is frustrated that he has to babysit the Staines' on their journey to their new home. But Penelope intrigues him beyond all imaginings. Throw in French agitators, local warlords, and the spy Marigold for a new installment in Willig's popular Pink Carnation series!
Spoilers if you have never read a romantic novel.
Review: I was intrigued with the setting of India as the previous books were set in England and I've become more interested in Asia in general after my study in Singapore. It was not as detailed as I could have desired because the focus is more on character and the machinations of the spy, who is lamer than the first spies. But I loved the characters. Apparently Penelope was in previous books although I don't really remember her (She's friends with Henrietta.) She's talented, quite able in multiple languages, athletic, and determined, which is one of my favorite characteristics in a a character (I guess it's something I wish I had more of).
I spent a great deal of time wondering when her husband would die. He obviously had to die as he is barely mentioned in the book flap while Alex gets his own paragraph and divorce would not be an option. And he is a JERK! Believe me, you will want him to die as well! Alex is pretty great. I loved his family connections although we don't get to meet most of them, just heard about them. I really liked that he was devoted to his family and of course that he valued Penelope as a person rather than a sexual partner like pretty much every other guy in the book (that's why he's the hero!)
I did not solve the mystery of the Marigold nor of the smaller mysteries that can be traced back to him/her. But again character is the focus so I didn't feel too bad...
There is also the framing story of graduate student Eloise and Pink Carnation descendant Colin who are established as a couple now (yay for them!) and are dealing with some of his family issues. It looks like that will continue in the next book. One quibble, Eloise goes to see the new James Bond film starring...Pierce Brosnan, despite the fact that Daniel Craig has been Bond for quite a while now. I think the books are set in the year when the first one came out but I still found that jarring.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5. If you were disappointed with the previous book, like I was, give this one a shot. It's filled with lots of sparks between the romantic couple.