Lauren Willig's third installment in her Pink Carnation Series (after The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque of the Black Tulip) is another entertaining blend of chick lit and historical fiction. The Deception of the Emerald Ring explores the world of espionage and intrigue in 1803 England, when Napoleon supported a group of Irish rebels in their efforts against the British government, and continues the present-day tale of American doctoral candidate Eloise Kelly, who is researching 19th-century British spies. Eloise discovers that the spy known as the Purple Gentian may have been connected to Letty Alsworthy and Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, and begins researching their lives.
Geoff marries Letty after an elopement gone awry makes it impossible for him to wed her lovely older sister. Initially, Geoff believes he has married the wrong sister, but he soon finds that Letty has hidden depths. When the War Office requests Geoff's help in Ireland, he leaves his new bride and travels to Dublin to uncover the identities of insurgents supported by Napoleon. But Letty follows him and ends up involved in the dangerous search.
The growing attraction between Geoff and Letty interspersed with Eloise's own romantic adventures is very real and believable as the tension comes to a boiling point. Though the tone of the novel is decidedly modern, Willig, a Harvard Law School graduate, weaves in plenty of history (the Irish rebellion actually happened, though the floral spies are her own invention). Light and frothy fun, The Deception of the Emerald Ring is a delightful third third act.