REVIEW of The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation #3) by Lauren Willig

Deception of the Emerald RingLetty Alsworth is decidedly against the idea of elopement. When she discovers that her older sister Mary intends to run off in the middle of the night with Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, she throws a cloak over her nightdress and goes downstairs to expostulate with the crazed gentleman. In an unexpected turn of events, Letty finds herself thrown into the carriage and compromised beyond repair. Now she must bear the indignity of marrying her sister’s besotted swain and the whole of society knowing about the botched affair.

Geoffrey never wanted to elope, but Mary had insisted that it was the only way. When he finds himself leg-shackled to Letty instead, he thanks his lucky stars that the War Office has a mission for him and hightails it to Ireland to find intelligence on the radicals there. What he doesn’t expect is for his mulish new wife to follow him there and nearly blow his cover to the French agents. Infuriated, frustrated, and falling in love despite himself, Geoffrey must find a way to find a hidden munitions depot while protecting Letty at the same time.

While reading this book, I could not help but think of Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub. The setup–one sensible young lady being carried off on an elopement while trying to stop her less moral sister from doing just that–was entirely too similar not to evoke comparison. Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe is no wolfish Marquis of Vidal, however. Rather than opposites attracting, Willig’s strait-laced operative (the second-in-command in the League of the Purple Gentian) is a perfect fit for the dearly domestic Letty. Per usual, the spying plot (and the Pink Carnation) was on the silly side, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Interspersed with the story of Letty and Geoff, the dual narrative also continues the modern-day romance of Eloise and Colin. Regrettably, not much happened during the course of their story. One wonders how much longer their (non-)relationship can drag on since this is now book three of it…. Perhaps they’ll finally admit they like each other in book four? One can only hope.

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