Thursday, February 17, 2011

Giveaway and Review: "The Orchid Affair"

To celebrate the release of Lauren Willig's newest book, "The Orchid Affair", I have my review and a giveaway of the book, sponsored by Dutton!

"The Orchid Affair"
 by Lauren Willig

Publisher: Dutton Adult
Release Date: Jan 20, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary from
"Pride and Prejudice lives on" (USA Today) in Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, which has been hailed for its addictive blend of history, romance, and adventure. In The Orchid Affair, Willig introduces her strongest heroine yet. Laura Grey, a veteran governess, joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling exploits in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation. She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of Andre Jaouen, right-hand man to Bonaparte's minister of police. Jaouen and his arch rival, Gaston Delaroche, are investigating a suspected Royalist plot to unseat Bonaparte, and Laura's mission is to report any suspicious findings.
At first the job is as lively as Latin textbooks and knitting, but Laura begins to notice strange behavior from Jaouen-secret meetings and odd comings and goings. As Laura edges herself closer to her employer, she makes a shocking discovery and is surprised to learn that she has far more in common with Jaouen than she originally thought...
As their plots begin to unravel, Laura and Jaouen are forced on the run with the children, and with the help of the Pink Carnation they escape to the countryside, traveling as husband and wife. But Delaroche will stop at nothing to take down his nemesis. With his men hot on their trail, can Laura and Jaouen seal the fate of Europe before it's too late?

My Review: 

There's a reason why Lauren Willig's books are so popular, and "The Orchid Affair" reminded me of why. I didn't want this book to end. The story is an excellent, well-rounded historical. There's lots of adventure and mystery, great characters, and a lot of sweet romance.

The book started a little slow for me, there wasn't a lot of action at the start. But I felt the story picked up as soon as Andre and Laura ran into the boisterous painter, Daubier. I feel like that's when the secrets really started to come out in the open.

At first, I couldn't tell if Emma's relationship with Andre was going to lead to romance or not, but once it did, I was on the edge of my set for the rest of the book. Their love had it all, secrets, jealousies, insecurities, and always and foremost, respect and friendship. I loved that they were a little older and wiser than romance heroes and heroines normal are. That made their love so much deeper and more real. 

Andre was so strong and such an honorable character. I loved that his quiet strengths were so much different than a typical hero. I also loved that Andre had eye glasses and that he was always actually wearing them. It wasn't a detail that got lost in the story, it was very much a part of his character.

I really liked the secondary characters, they made the story come alive. The two children were so cute and seem so real, they weren't used just for laughs. Daubier was a lovable bachelor Uncle type of character, and I'm not going to lie, de Barry was hot!

The mystery was very well plotted and had me guessing the whole time. I was often shocked at the twists and turns in the story. I loved trying to decipher the messages form the Pink Carnation.

I wasn't totally a fan of the present day part of the story. I see it as a way to tie the series together, but I felt it took me out of the real story sometimes. At one particularly exciting point, I was so upset to turn the page and see the modern characters. It was like the dreaded "to be continued" at the end of your favorite tv show.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5

Bottom Line: This book perfectly balances a sweet and tender romance with an adventurous historical mystery. I can't wait to read the books that I've missed in this wonderful series.


Dutton has generously provided a copy of this historical romance for readers of my blog!

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