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The Passion of the Purple Plumeria is the penultimate book in the Pink Carnation mystery series. While I enjoyed the previous two books in the series, I felt there.
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You really get to see her vulnerability in this book. In terms of the romance in this book, I think Ms. Gwen and Colonel Reid may become one of my favorite couples in the series. The romance easily reminded me of the one between Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night, but this time we actually get to peak at what happens after Gabriel blows his horn. In terms of the modern side of the story, the book felt a little light on the happenings of Eloise and Collin, but when they do appear it's meaningful.

While the stage is set for the story of the Pink Carnation to come to a climax, it's what happening between Eloise and Collin which is preparing the reader to come to the end of this series in one book.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel

Frankly, much like Eloise and Collin, I am not ready to say to goodbye. I should add that my version of the book is the Audiobook, read by Kate Reading. I've always enjoyed her readings of the Pink Carnation series, although I do think that maybe the voice she used for Ms. Gwen is part of the reason why I originally assumed Ms. Gwen was so much older than I thought. The series is still winding down, but there is going to be another book in between The PPP and the final book. Can I just say that this makes me super psyched. This doesn't really change the opinions I expressed in my review still sad that the series is still winding down, just not as fast so I just decided to add this little bit of info as an update instead of rewriting it.

Oct 26, MB What she read rated it it was ok Shelves: Found both of these characters to be too heavy handed on the buffoonery side. Author seemed to intend them too much as figures of fun, and personally that grated on me the reader. Felt like Willig was treating them as clowns-- due to their 'advanced age' perhaps?

Just a feeling--I felt they were disrespected. Miss Jane's sad backstory meant to make readers feel for her but then author goes back to using her as the comic element. Would much rather have seen this story handled touchingly with real Found both of these characters to be too heavy handed on the buffoonery side. Would much rather have seen this story handled touchingly with real emotional impact like Loretta Chase's "Not Quite a Lady" or to have Miss Gwen treated as worthy of respect yet hilarious like Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody.

Btw, was Gwen intended to imitate Amelia? Problem is that readers laugh with Amelia and at Gwen. Sorry, hard to explain my train of thought. Hope this somewhat makes sense. Skip if you don't like that. I had one major problem with the hero which made me furiously angry and dropped this down a star: Why, when he found his daughter 1 living in abject poverty in a slum, 2 taking in washing to survive, 3 the only means of support for an invalid aging grandmother, does the man not bother to leave her any money or arrange to care for her financially?!?

What kind of idiot does that? He offers to put her up at an inn, but when she refuses he hasn't thought it through or made any real plans , he just takes off. He feels guilty, yes. But there's no follow-up nor does he seem to think much about her again or make any plans to care for her in the future.

Even Miss Gwen, who has experience of living on the edge of poverty on her relative's charity doesn't seem to think of helping out. They just both go merrily off on their adventures. Frankly, this made them both come off as thoughtless twits. No mention was made ever that they went back and fixed their messes to my knowledge. I was utterly flabbergasted by this! As if I'd hit a brick wall. I never regained my respect for both of them after that point. Thinking about the real life consequences of a woman living in poverty at that time, as well as for a young woman wandering around the countryside.

I felt Willig really missed the mark. Instead, it was all light-hearted adventure We should worry about them but let's go chase spies and romance each other instead! I seriously wanted to bang the character's heads together! View all 6 comments. Colonel William Reid is retiring to England to live out his life in leisure with his two daughters, Kat and Lizzy, leaving behind three very different, one very difficult, sons in India.

Little does he know that the school in Bath that Lizzy has been attending, Miss Climpson's Academy, seems to be the epicenter of spies in the battle between the French and the English. For two years Miss Gwendolyn Meadows has been at the center of that fight, or slightly next to the center wielding a dangerous p Colonel William Reid is retiring to England to live out his life in leisure with his two daughters, Kat and Lizzy, leaving behind three very different, one very difficult, sons in India.

For two years Miss Gwendolyn Meadows has been at the center of that fight, or slightly next to the center wielding a dangerous parasol as the second in command to Britain's chief operative, The Pink Carnation, aka, Jane Wooliston. She has ostensibly been the dragonish chaperone of Jane while they lived in France with Jane's cousin. Jane has received a missive from her family that finds Jane and Gwen on the steps of Miss Climpson's just as Colonel Reid arrives.

As fate would have it, these three must unit in their cause because Jane's sister, Agnes, has gone missing along with Colonel Reid's daughter Lizzy. William doesn't grasp the seriousness of this, thinking it's just girls being girls. Jane knows that this is probably not the case. Somehow Agnes and therefore Lizzy's disappearance has to do with Jane's subversive activities. When William and Gwen are attacked while inquiring after Lizzy with his other daughter Kat, he comes to see that his little girl is truly in danger. He might have not been the best parent so far, but he was going to fix that.

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Though the reason for the girls disappearance might just not be Jane's fault and might actually be tangled up with William's most dubious of children, Jack, and not Jane at all Rumors are that, besides playing for both the French and the English, Jack has also made off with the famous jewels of Berar This means that they aren't the only ones looking for the girls. That most dangerous of French spies, The Gardener, is also on their trail.

There's "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles" The release of yet another book in this series brings joy to my heart which was tripled when I realized that The Passion of the Purple Plumeria an alliteration worthy of Gwen's lurid prose was yet again raising the bar of this series. To have a long running series, ten books and counting, and to have each entry just as fresh and alive is a fete that Lauren needs a round of applause for.

Yet in this installment we have a character we have loved since day one and who has been desperately demanding her own book, seriously, ask Lauren, Miss Gwen said her book was next and so it was. Miss Gwen has always been a pillar of strength and fortitude. Ready to take down the French with an arch look or a well placed parasol to shin or other vulnerable body parts.

We have seen this hilarious yet adept spy trailing behind The Pink Carnation, almost as an accessory to Jane. It is as if Gwen herself was Jane's multifunctional parasol weapon. Gwen is just as in the dark as other agents, just hoping that in lying to herself, that she has found a place where she belongs, working beside Jane.

Holding on to the dream that her life has purpose and that this work will continue. Lauren brings such depth to Gwen, showing that while she is strong and kicks ass at her job, there's a vulnerability. Gwen could lose Amy and therefore lose her calling. Beneath the gruff exterior Gwen really does have a gooey center. Yet in revealing Gwen's weaknesses, in showing us her painful history, Lauren doesn't take away anything, Gwen can be both vulnerable and strong.

Like a parasol, something light and frilly, but with a hidden sword in the shaft. Gwen is just simply remarkable, "beneath that stern exterior was a lifetime's worth of adventure for the man brave enough to win her. Up until now, any people from lower classes, which weren't that numerous, were always seen in the setting of the world of prosperity. Laura Grey was a governess in a Parisian home, Arabella Dempsey is a teacher at the aforementioned Miss Climpson's Academy, and Letty Alsworthy's family is just a little hard up. Yet they are still in the sphere of influence.

They are not in the gutter or in crummy little houses taking in laundry to just get by. Yet these people existed. The children out of wedlock, the family scraping by, these are incidents straight out of Jane Austen that are there, pushed into the corners but never talked about, not really. Here Lauren tackles that to some degree, and in doing so, she has made her world more whole. Every level of humanity makes up the world and in showing us something not quite pleasant there is a satisfying feeling of completion. And in speaking of completion Lauren has often said that this series would be ending soon with Jane's book, yet characters are always speaking up and demanding their own book, ie Sally Fitzhugh coming out next year I hope.

I personally would be happy to see this go on for quite some time, as long as Lauren's writing the Pink Carnation series, I will read it. Yet, with her first stand alone, The Ashford Affair , you can see that Lauren has considerable talent and a lot more to offer and that to keep her churning out this series is unfair to her as a writer, I mean, the series does have it's limitations with time period and historical authenticity.

But with her second stand alone coming next year, perhaps a happy medium will be reached. Yet one does feel that in the final pages of this book there is a big game changer at the hands of The Gardner. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria does lend itself to flipping the page to the final chapter of The Pink Carnation's story. A final chapter that will be bittersweet.

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The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, book 10) by Lauren Willig

Mar 31, Gawelleb rated it it was amazing. On renoue avec le grand n'importe quoi sur ce tome!!! Aug 11, Gretchen rated it really liked it Shelves: Yay, Miss Gwen gets a book! One thing I have enjoyed about this series is seeing minor characters develop into major ones. This installation is a great example as Miss Gwen, fearsome chaperone and wielder of a vicious parasol, steps onto the main stage. I liked the way Willig approached this story. Miss Gwen is past 40, not the early 20s of Jane and her friends. So there was some backstory that needed to be explained, as well as an opportunity to comment on social options for spinsters in Regenc Yay, Miss Gwen gets a book!

So there was some backstory that needed to be explained, as well as an opportunity to comment on social options for spinsters in Regency times. I also enjoyed the way the plot tied in multiple players: Most of all, I liked the idea of starting a new chapter, which is something that Gwen and Jane have in common. This time, the "modern" story took a backseat. Overall, a great addition to the series. Cheers to Willig, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Apr 29, Christine rated it it was amazing. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an ARC of this book and it's fantastic. Pink Carnation fans will be delighted by it. We learn so much about Miss Gwen and why she is the way she is. While Purple Plumeria has all of the elements of a great Willig book humor, romance, swashbuckling spies , what sets this book apart from the others is that it's told from a more mature perspective and highlights the fact that priorities are different for people in their 40s and 50 as are Miss Gwen and Col I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an ARC of this book and it's fantastic.

While Purple Plumeria has all of the elements of a great Willig book humor, romance, swashbuckling spies , what sets this book apart from the others is that it's told from a more mature perspective and highlights the fact that priorities are different for people in their 40s and 50 as are Miss Gwen and Col. Reid than those in their 20s like all the other Pink heroines and heroes. Without revealing any of the plot points, I will say that the book is so well-written and hard to put down.

It's been delightful to see Ms. While all the books have been enjoyable, this one takes the series to yet another level. Nov 07, The Lit Bitch rated it really liked it. With the last book, I was so not looking forward to it but found it was one of the more enjoyable ones! So one would think that I would keep an open mind. In my mind, Miss Gwen is this old lady chaperone with pursed lips and grey hair while Colonel Reid seemed like this rough around the edges ladies man with grey hair…. While this book had the same hallmarks that Willig is known for, it read a little differently for me.

Most of the books up until now were all whimsey, dashing spies, and easily conquered villains who had a code more of less. There was never a time in the series that I felt like the heroines or heroes were in any real danger. With this book I feel like shit just got real. I am just going to say upfront, that Jane has been my least favorite character throughout the series.

I never feel like I ever warmed up to her and she never really endeared herself to me and in this book I like her even less. I completed the book with a bad taste in my mouth for her. More on Jane in my future reviews of this series so stay tuned. We got to know Miss Gwen on such a personal level and it was touching to see her for the gem that she is under all that pomp and gusto. I loved that Colonel Reid was able to really strip her down and identify her weaknesses as well as how others viewed her was so wonderfully touching and inspiring.

I loved their conversations and watching them come together in unexpected ways. I also loved their easy banter. To me it seems so much more real than the stuff of poetry and romances. This book was such a great installment with two memorable characters that I cannot wait to see in future books.

See my full review here Apr 01, Pandora Black rated it it was amazing Shelves: Aug 09, Lori McD rated it really liked it Shelves: She's been in the shadows of Jane and the "younger" set so far in the Pink Carnation series. Well, in this book, Miss Gwen has her day and meets her match! Jane's younger sister is missing from her young ladies' finishing school, and with the Gardiner the latest French spymaster breathing down Jane's neck, it's time to pu 3. Jane's younger sister is missing from her young ladies' finishing school, and with the Gardiner the latest French spymaster breathing down Jane's neck, it's time to pull out of France for awhile.

Jane's also concerned that the Gardiner might have captured and kidnapped Agatha Jane's sister and her friend, Lizzy, as a way to get to Jane and the Pink Carnation. Lizzy is the half-caste illegitimate, but claimed, daughter of Col William Reid, who spent most of his military career in India. Reid is retired, finally, and returned to Britain to put his family back together - or at least return to his two daughters, Kitty by his 1st and only wife and Lizzy. Miss Gwen and Col. Reid meet during the hunt for Agatha and Lizzy, and the two embark on an adventure that takes them to Bath.

Reid is a few years older than Miss Gwen, but he's her match in every way, including his witty repartee.


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But we learn a few of Miss Gwen's secrets along the way, including the heartbreak that makes her wary of men and love. One of the funniest and best scenes takes place after a lively scene at the opera. Reid find themselves in an underground literally and figuratively Hellfire Club meeting. The opium smoke and the licentious scene they witness has them both in such a state, that they push caution to the wind and ravish each other backstage at the opera house.

The main gist of the novel is that a former French spy by the name of Moonflower has defected, and he's absconded with the jewels of Berar, including a stone reported to provide special powers to the one who possesses it. Something that the Gardiner and Napoleon badly want. The missing girls figure into the plot, as well as Col. Reid and his interesting collection of sons and daughters. And, of course, Jane is very much a part of the whole thing, too.

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Miss Gwen comes to realize that as essential as she feels to the Pink Carnation and the cause, she's pushed her own life back in favor of society and then the cause. She's only really lived in the past 2 years, and she's shocked and hurt by Jane's admission that even Miss Gwen doesn't know everything.

But can Miss Gwen give her heart away and trust a man to help her find a new life - perhaps the one she'd dreamt in her younger years? Meanwhile, in , Colin and Jeremy are forced to work together by Mrs. Selwick-Alderly, who tells them she's ill. And she's sick of their rivalry. She gets Eloise's help to force them to try to find the lost Moonstone, one of the jewels of Berar, supposedly hidden at Selwick Castle. But Colin isn't so sure that they can find something that years worth of ancestors have searched for and never found - or did they?

We also learn a new branch of the Selwick family tree as the two times converge at the end. Although, I wish there was some sort of ancestral tree or cast of characters and relationships somewhere to consult. It gets confusing trying to remember who's who in this story, both past and present, during the gap in publishing. Willig delivers, as always, and leaves the door open again for the continuing saga. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. Not necessarily for the actual romance in it, though I thought that was well done. But more, I was into it for where I think the rest of the series could be going now. I liked the additional information we got as to how Miss Gwen became Miss Gwen, and how their pasts shaped the relationship they were having in the present. He's paying Lizzy's school fees! He sends his sisters regular presents! I feel like there's no way we get that much of him without him even being there in this one if he doesn't come back. That can't happen, right? And Lauren Willig wouldn't waste him on Sally Fitzhugh, would she?

Please, please say no. Cameos by Miles and Hen are my favorite forever.


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So, I've been struggling with her character for awhile now, but after this one it is extremely clear that she's being set up to be deliberately unlikable. I'm curious to see where she goes in the theoretical remaining two books. I think it will be hard work to make her a believable romantic heroine, but I think it's probably possible.

A lot of it probably hinges on the hero, who has to either be the Chevalier or Jack, right? There's too much development tied up in those two unattached male characters for it not to be one of them. My preference is obviously Jack, but I can see a possibility where it could be the Chevalier and I would be into it. But don't do that. Jul 26, Angie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I have long been a Pink Carnation series fan I just didn't know how she'd work her magic.

This is now one of my favorites in the series! I loved hearing Miss Gwen's story and seeing her bloom. There are many revelations involving multiple characters you won't want to miss!! I'm already looking forwar I have long been a Pink Carnation series fan I'm already looking forward to next year's book. A must-read for any Pink Carnation fan.

Trust me when I say this one does not disappoint: Aug 10, Sharlene rated it it was amazing. I loved this book. It was a fun read with plenty of suspense and humor and a delightful love story intertwined. Nov 28, Holly rated it it was amazing Shelves: I knew I would love Miss Gwen's story: In the tenth installment of the Pink Carnation series, Jane and Miss Gwen find themselves back in England, searching for Jane's younger sister, Agnes, and her friend, Lizzy.

Jane is afraid that someone has discovered her secret and is using poor, dull Agnes as a means to get to her. Shortly after arriving on the scene to begin In the tenth installment of the Pink Carnation series, Jane and Miss Gwen find themselves back in England, searching for Jane's younger sister, Agnes, and her friend, Lizzy.

Shortly after arriving on the scene to begin their investigation, Lizzy's father, Colonel William Reid, shows up. He's just arrived home from India and has no idea that his daughter is missing. The Colonel, Miss Gwen, and Jane search for the girls, hoping to find them before any harm befalls them.

I did not ever, in my wildest dreams, expect a book about Miss Gwen! Somehow, I'd decided that she was at least She's actually only about And an attractive 45 at that, if you can get past the fierce way she wields her parasol in defense of Jane's virtue. I'm so glad she got her own story though. I've always thought that she was pretty one-dimensional in a series that is full of so many great, unique characters.

Don't get me wrong--I've always liked her--but she's mean and fierce and loves espionage and that's pretty much all I needed to know about Miss Gwen. Except that there's so much more. We learn about her past and what exactly happened to her to leave her such a confirmed, man-hating spinster. She has a huge heart that's been severely wounded and she's doing her best as a single woman in a man's world. She deserves a little happiness. And that's where Colonel Reid comes in.

He also has very loose ideas about love. As Jacqueline Carey would phrase it, his personal motto could be, "Love as thou wilt. He does his best by them, even though other "gentlemen" don't recognize their half-Indian offspring. He is as much of a match for Miss Gwen's sharp tongue as any man can possibly be. She always gets the last word, of course, but he holds his own.

I was so afraid that I would be disappointed when I realized this one was going to be about Miss Gwen. Who could possibly live up to her?

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria

But I finished it happy and satisfied. I'm getting worried about Jane, though. The pressures of leading the League of the Pink Carnation are starting to take a toll on her. And then there are Eloise and Colin in They don't seem to be getting anywhere. For my taste, their chapters could be left out completely. I know they have to be written because that's how the whole series is framed but they really aren't doing anything for me now. It's just moving along so slowly!

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Kate Reading did an excellent job with the narration, as always. I adore this series. It's one of my guilty pleasures. If you haven't started it, fix that now. It is romantic, but it's also funny and clever. Jun 28, Jessica rated it it was amazing Shelves: Wow, I knew this one was going to be a great historical read, but I had no idea there would be mystery and secret spies involved. Instead of the same old historical romance, this book had much more intrigue, secrets, and, of course, a steamy romance.

Colonel William Reid has returned from India in hopes of settling down with his children, but he doesn't expect to find his youngest daughter missing with one of her classmates. Lucky for William, the classmate just so happens to be the sister of th Wow, I knew this one was going to be a great historical read, but I had no idea there would be mystery and secret spies involved.

Lucky for William, the classmate just so happens to be the sister of the secret spy the Pink Carnation. Along with the Carnation comes her guardian Gwen, who will do anything to protect her country and the two innocent girls caught in the middle of a dangerous game. The girls, though, aren't the only thing on Gwen and William's mind as they spend more and more time together. They're both in for an adventure they definitely weren't expecting Like I said, this book was so much more than I was expecting.

First, it starts out in the present day, which really threw me off. But the present day is about a couple searching for missing jewels and researching about the lives of our historical cast of characters. Then, it switches to the historical storyline where the spying and espionage comes into play. Find your local bookstore at booksellers. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: Also by Lauren Willig.

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