by Lauren Willig

January 2006
ISBN: 0-525-94920-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Dutton

Eloise Kelly is back again! This time to discover the identity of the Black Tulip. We first met Eloise in The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. To say she is a little quirky is an understatement. She just wants the chance to be the person who discovers the truth without interruption. But in order for her to see the Selwick family files, she has to be driven there by Collin Selwick, and he would rather be anyplace else.

Once Eloise starts reading the family papers, the reader is introduced to Henrietta Uppington and Miles Darrington. Henrietta has figured out how to decipher code in a message. This message tells of the plot of the Black Tulip to find and kill the Pink Carnation. Henrietta knows who the Pink Carnation is, she wants to warn this person, but with a watchdog like Miles guarding her day and night, that is next to impossible. She has to come up with a different plan. Miles is the best friend of Henrietta’s brother. He has promised to keep Henrietta safe and unharmed from any unwanted advances from men. He takes this very seriously. When the War Department hires Miles to find the Black Tulip before the plot can take place, he is torn, keep Henrietta safe or catch the the Black Tulip?

What Henrietta and Miles don’t realize is the Black Tulip is also watching them, thinking they will lead the Black Tulip right to the prey.

As the story weaves from Eloise’s time and Henrietta’s time. The reader notices Henrietta and Eloise are alike in many ways. They both have strong feelings for a man who in turn does not realize they do. Miles and Collin are not aware they each have lovely young woman about to throw themselves at their feet. The dialogue between Eloise/Collin and Henrietta/Miles are priceless. There are laugh out loud moments in this book. Will Collin finally realize Eloise wants more from him, than just being a pesty guest in his family home? Will Miles ever get over the fact he is more than just Henrietta’s bodyguard? Will Eloise figure out who the Black Tulip is before her time is up? Will Henrietta get Miles to finally look at her as a woman and not her brother’s little sister? Will the Black Tulip succeed in the plot against the Pink Carnation? Who will get to the Pink Carnation first?

This reviewer adored this book. What a great author this is. She knows how to keep her readers hooked until the very last sentence. She also knows how to make the characters seem real and not just fictional people with her writing style. There is good news, the author is in the process of penning a third book in this series. This is a highly recommended read.

Reviewed in December 2005 by Pat.

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