The Betrayal of the Blood Lily continues Lauren Willig’s best-selling Pink Carnation series. The author, a Harvard law school graduate, has made good use of her additional degree in history to brilliantly create 19th-century British heroines and heroes.

Lady Penelope Deveraux Staines, a rebel at heart, is forced into marriage to avoid a scandal, and then whisked off to India by her husband. It quickly becomes apparent that Lord Staines is many things—but he is neither faithful, honorable nor courageous. Since Lady Penelope is all of the above, the marriage quickly grows strained and difficult.

While her husband eagerly embraces the more decadent and debauched aspects of their new surroundings, Penelope is entranced by the lush and wildly exotic India countryside. The strictures of London society had chafed her independent heart, but the beautiful yet dangerous land surrounding Hyderabad calls to her very soul. So, too, does the handsome and equally dangerous Captain Alex Reid. Thrown together when Alex is assigned to transport Penelope and her husband to Hyderabad, the two are first wary and suspicious of each other. But neither can deny the irresistible pull of attraction.

Adding even more intrigue to the journey, Penelope has information regarding a spy known as the Marigold. After several unsuccessful attempts on her life, Alex knows the beautiful redhead is in serious peril. The two must combine all their intelligence and knowledge of human nature if they are to survive, and soon, they’re working together to unravel the complex threads of political and militant forces—a net of French spies, espionage and danger that draws tighter about them each day.

As in the other Pink Carnation novels, this historical storyline is framed by a modern-day one, as American scholar Eloise researches Penelope’s adventures with the help of a dashing Brit. Both plotlines keep readers entertained with ever-heightening emotional stakes. The Betrayal of the Blood Lily will delight readers with its vivid historical detail, deeply honorable characters fighting against truly wicked villains and a plot filled with baffling mystery and heart-pounding danger.

Lois Faye Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington.

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