France’s most notorious secret agent, the Black Tulip, foments the 1803 Irish Rebellion in this third installment of Willig’s delightful series (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, 2005, etc.).
Plump Letty Alsworthy awakens to find her gorgeous sister Mary plotting a midnight elopement with Lord Geoffrey Pinchingdale. Determined to save the family’s honor by thwarting the runaway marriage, she heads downstairs in hopes of reasoning with Mary. In a case of mistaken identity, Letty is thrown into the getaway carriage; her spotless reputation compromised, she is forced into matrimony. At their wedding the next day, Geoff (who, unbeknownst to his bride, is an English spy and second-in-command of the League of the Purple Gentian) receives orders to leave immediately for Ireland to quash the uprising. Humiliated by his sudden disappearance, Letty decides to forestall any further gossip by following her husband to the Emerald Isle. There, the two join forces with Miss Gwen and Jane, fellow agents of English master spy the Pink Carnation, and hit upon a surprising revelation: Perhaps the Black Tulip isn’t a single agent after all, but two, or even three or more. As they foil the Black Tulip’s plan to incite insurrection, Geoff and Letty fall in love, Jane retains her cool demeanor (just what is going on between her and Lord Vaughn, anyway?) and Miss Gwen once again employs the parasol as her weapon of choice. As in the first two installments, grad student and intrepid researcher Eloise Kelly, living in the 21st century, unravels this tale, all the while lusting after hunky Colin Selwick, descendant of the Purple Gentian.
Heaving bodices, embellished history and witty dialogue: What more could you ask for?