Cynthia's Reviews > The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
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's review
Jan 17, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Cynthia by: Michelle
Read in January, 2008

I really enjoyed this book. It was humorous and cute. This book follows Amy, a wannabe spy adventurer, who tries to join The Purple Gentian's spy network against France shortly after the French Revolution. Of course nothing goes smoothly for the slightly dizzy heroine. The author combines historical fiction with fun chick lit, mostly focusing on Amy's romance with the Purple Gentian. I like both types of work so I enjoyed the combination.

I read some reviews of this book on Amazon and found people either really liked it or absolutely hated it. Some comments I thought went way overboard included, "Jane Austen would scream, you'd have to be braindead to like this, when I think of this book I throw up a little in my mouth, and my favorite, "chick lit reflects poorly on women's literature, why isn't poorly written books written by men called dude's lit." Of course I had to reply back to some of these reviews with my own comments... like lighten up.

When I think about books, there are two main categories I divide them up in: deep, soulful books usually filled with symbolism and themes and then there's escapism books. Now I am not going to lie, when it comes to the first category I don't always "get" the message of the book. I am disappointed after I read 400 pages of fancy, convoluted sentences that I can't relate to. But a lot of that is a reflection on me as a reader, not necessaily a reflection on the author. I tend to like stories focused on great characters, interesting plots, and unusual places or time periods, like "The History of the Pink Carnation".

Pink Carnation is meant to be a light, fun book. If you don't expect Jane Austen or a historical book full of facts and dates, then I don't think you'll be disappointed. The book isn't perfect, even I noticed a few things that didn't make sense, i.e. when the true identity of the Purple Gentian is discovered and his family helps him escape, don't they all need to get the heck out of France. Also, I think it would have been funnier if the chaperone with the parasol could be the Pink Carnation.
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