In Lauren Willig's sequel to The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, the intrigues of the French Revolutionary era continue to haunt graduate student Eloise Kelly. On a trip to England, she pursues papers that will help to reveal the histories of English and French spies, most of whom used floral sobriquets. Colin Selwick is keeper of those secrets and his ancestor is one of the bouquet, the Purple Gentian. As The Masque of the Black Tulip begins, Eloise has discovered the 1803 papers of the Gentian's sister, Henrietta (Hen) Selwick. Hen is determined to help the English cause by exposing a mysterious spy, the Black Tulip, and her amateur efforts run up against her friend Miles Dorrington's more official assignment from the War Office. As the intrigues swirl, so does the romance as fiery passions surface between Miles and Hen. Their story is interwoven with Colin and Eloise's modern-day attempt to piece together the history and perhaps begin a romance of their own. An appealing tale that deftly blends the intrigues of wartime with the oldest story of all.