I just found a review I had written a few months ago of Lauren Willig's sixth installment in the Pink Carnation series, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, which was released last January. If you haven't read the previous books you need to start with the first (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), as Willig builds on the characters' relationships and the relationship between the modern day heroine Eloise and Colin Selwick. While I always love Willig's writing and have devoured the previous books, I must admit this is tied for my least favorite with The Seduction of the Crimson Rose.
Like Mary Alsworthy, Penelope Staines (nee' Devereaux) is a difficult heroine, and though you come to admire her strength and wit as love softens her, she is not easy to love. Also, (BIG SPOILER ALERT) I was really bothered by the adultery that took place between the still-married Penelope and Captain Alex Reid. In her previous books Willig has pretty much confined the sex scenes to when the characters were (however reluctantly) married, so I came into Blood Lily expecting the same. I know it contributed to the image of Penelope as more of a rebel, but it cheapened their relationship to me. On the positive side, Willig's writing is as witty and fun as ever, and it was nice to see a feisty woman match wits with a handsome, kind and honorable hero. Willig's descriptions of India are very evocative and obviously very well-researched.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Wanted to love it, just couldn't really identify with Penelope as I had with previous heroines Henrietta, Letty and Charlotte. However, I did enjoy it and loved The Mischief of the Mistletoe (see review here), so I'm looking forward to reading Willig's next book, The Orchid Affair..
source: personal copy