Title: Masque of the Black Tulip
Author: Lauren Willig
Page Count: 464 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: historical romance, contemporary romance
Copy for review was from my personal library
50 words or less: In today's world, Eloise is trying to track down some sources to finish her dissertation and figure out whether Colin likes her or not. In history, Henrietta is trying to catch a French spy and figure out whether Miles likes her or not.
Lauren Willig is one of my favorite authors and each book is a treat in and of itself. While The Masque of the Black Tulip is not my absolute favorite of the series, it's definitely enjoyable and contributes a lot of important details to the overall arc of the story.
As an aside, this is definitely a series to read in order, so if you haven't read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation yet, you definitely need to start there.
Anyway, this story continues with the alternating perspectives of Eloise, the grad student in history who's studying English spies for her dissertation, and Henrietta/Miles, the sister and best friend, respectively, of Lord Richard Selwick, recently unmasked as the master spy known as the Purple Gentian. Miles likes Henrietta and Henrietta likes Miles, but neither one wants to admit to the feelings and do anything about it. Unsurprisingly but certainly delightfully, a comedy of errors results.
To make matters worse, the Black Tulip, a horribly deadly French spy, has reappeared on the scene after a long hiatus, and has Henrietta and Miles squarely in his OR her sights. We don't get to learn the spy's identity- at least not yet.
Meanwhile, Eloise finds herself as Colin's houseguest, which is a pretty sudden upgrade from nemesis, which was Colin's first impression of her. Turns out Colin isn't quite as much of an ogre as he'd like her to believe, which causes no end of confusion for her.
Since there are several more books in the series, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the main tangles of the plot don't get resolved in this particular story; in fact, the next book picks up right where this one leaves off. All that means, as far as I'm concerned, is that you should have the next book ready to go right away, as the witty dialogue, sparkling wit, dramatic settings, and adventures large and small will make you want to pick up book three, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, right away.
Overall Grade: A-
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