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The Garden Intrigue

(Pink Carnation #9)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,941 Ratings  ·  398 Reviews
In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig's bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon's invasion of England. Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can't bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Dutton Adult (first published February 1st 2012)
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Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is all about bad poetry isn’t it? Thus, shamelessly pressing on……

Augustus Whittlesby
has nothing on me.
When it comes to verse
I’m considerably worse.

Dear readers and fans I bring good news
Lauren Willig has shown her muse
in Pink Carnation number nine:
The Garden Intrigue, most divine.

A poet-spy takes a risky chance
deep inside of Bonaparte’s France
to love a girl from a distant shore
not knowing who she’s working for.

They do a Masque with a nautical theme
but a secret weapon is part of the scheme.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is my favorite guilty pleasure read.

Willig's writing is getting considerably better as the series goes on, in my opinion. Or, perhaps, it is just that her goofy characters turn out better than the classic dashing heroes. Turnip's story in The Mischief of the Mistletoe and Augustus' story in this book were entertaining - much more so for Turnip's bumbling and Augustus' intentionally awful poetry. Emma has a much better backstory than any previous characters except perhaps Lord Vaughn
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well. I can say with absolute certainty that I didn't enjoy this book as much as others in the Carnation series. I was looking forward to Augustus Whittleby's moment of Epic Glory, and instead I feel like I got handed half a book and some plot devices.

My first major issue (documented in my status updates) was the prose: it was sloppy, repetitious and (sometimes) flat. I found several instances of almost word for word reiterations of explanations throughout the book, which seemed lazy.

In additi
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
First: What is up with the cover? I loathe it. Other books in the series featured art but these newer ones have the awkward, headless model thing going and this weird grocery store romance cover vibe.

It's been impossible not to hear all the raves for Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, but I've somehow never gotten around to starting it, despite all the promise. Featuring a Harvard-educated heroine who researches Regency-era spies, the series seems a bit like chick-lit-meets-hist-fic in the
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing

4.5 Stars

As soon as I saw that this book had a poet as the lead male character, I knew I had to read it. And Augustus Whittlesby doesn't disappoint. I love that he battles with his 'real' self and his invented persona of poet. It's even more interesting that the two have actually become one more than he even wants to admit.

Emma also battles with an invented persona of her own. She wears a mask in public of glittering jewels and socially acceptable flirting, when really she isn't that social butt
MB (What she read)
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Do you like flirting by bad verse? Puns? Wordplay similar to Eloisa James??
The interactions between the non-standard hero and heroine made this a 3.5 star read for me, as well as the interesting setting and era, and the fact that I read it in one setting.

A few drawbacks:
Very modern phrasing between historical couple threw me out of the story several times.
Quick settling of issues between the historical couple was very abrupt.
TSTL issues with stopping to make love while fleeing for their lives!?! =Stupid.
Ugly modern photo-shopped cover (not author's fault).

But last
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I can't wait for this to come out. This is one of the rare series that seems to get better the further along it gets. :)
The Lit Bitch
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This year I decided to officially participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon for the first time ever. I had some time on my hands and some good books to start reading so I was eager for an excuse to sit and read undisturbed while my husband watched out little one.

I started The Garden of Intrigue almost immediately after completing The Orchid Affair and I’ll be honest, I was supposed to read it for Readathon but I almost finished it before Readathon even started!

Again, I’ll be honest and say that I
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra Olshaski
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
ISBN: 978-0-525-95254-1
Published: February 16, 2012
Hardcover, 388 pages

This is not typically the kind of historical fiction that I read, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Garden Intrigue and learned some historical facts along the way!

The years surrounding 1804 were critical ones for Napoleon Bonaparte, who, after having invaded countries in Europe sets his sights on England. He commissions the building of a top-secret prototype of a submarine to blow up the
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Similar Books: India Black by Carol K. Carr, And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

I don't think I've ever hung on to a series this long, but Lauren Willig's books never fail to impress. This woman is an amazing storyteller, and she's probably the only author of adult books whose releases I always anxiously await.

As per usual, the latest Pink Carnation book is chalked full of historical realism that I nearly feel like I've fallen into the 1700s. Unlike some of the other books, this one takes pla
Pandora Black
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
peut-être plus un 3,5. un tome sympathique, mais un peu plus bancal que les autres. j'ai beaucoup aimé Augustus et Emma, mais la romance entre eux progresse de manière un peu trop abrupte. et puis la partie contemporaine arrive toujours un peu comme un cheveu sur la soupe :p et viré un peu trop au soap, même si le dernier chapitre relance l'intérêt pour la suite. ça reste toujours très fun et agréable à lire, mais c'est vrai que ce tome est un peu en dessous des autres.
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was such a treat to get back to this series after quite a few years since picking up the last one. I have this habit of wanting to "save" books by my favorite authors. I find Lauren Willig's writing style fun and her novels to have a unique blend of history and adventure with a love story. This one centers on Augustus Whittlesby, a long-time secret agent for England in France during the time of Napoleon. Emma Delagardie is an American expatriate, having remained in France after the untimely d ...more
Lauran Vetuschi
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great book in the series!! I really enjoyed that the historical and contemporary lines are coming together a bit more and how Ms. Willig tied in more of the American history. Can't wait for #10!
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Willig has done it again. Her newest Pink Carnation book, The Garden Intrigue is just as captivating and charming as the rest.

This time we are introduced to Emma, a small and overly ostentatious American living in Paris. Though small, she is no wall flower. She knows everyone, including First Consul and soon to be Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. She’s also friends with the Pink Carnation, Jane and secret agent disguised as a poet, Augustus. These relationships, and her deceased husband’s desire for
I have been reading Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series for quite awhile. I feel like the last few books have all been rather disappointing, but I found this one to be especially awful. Usually I can dive right into Lauren Willig's novels, but with this, I found myself really having to work to stay interested. Neither the frame story nor the one inside could capture my attention.

Like the 8 preceding books in the series, The Garden Intrigue consisted of the Eloise/Colin frame story (a Cambridge
Sharon Redfern
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, mystery
Emma Delagardie is an American living in France during the Napoleonic era. She is a longtime friend of the emperor’s stepdaughter, Hortense and has entrée to the court. Augustus Whittlesby is an excruciatingly bad poet who is also an agent in the Pink Carnation’s network. He and the Pink Carnation have a mission to discover what the newest plot of Napoleon’s is to attack Britain. It apparently involves some sort of new mechanical weaponry and it is essential that they find out. Whittlesby must i ...more
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Having read all* of the other Pink Carnation books, I was super-excited when I saw this one at the library. However, I think Willig may be losing her mojo. I always preferred the historical plotlines to the contemporary ones, but I thought this latest installment got off to a particularly clunky start. There was an overabundance of backstory for the sake of newcomers to the series, which mostly served to remind me how little of the books are devoted to the contemporary plotlines, as not very muc ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lauren Willig has done it again! Her latest novel, “The Garden Intrigue” is a continuation of the popular Pink Carnation series. And, it's one of her best!

This adventurous spy tale is set in 1804. Our heroine is New York born Emma Delgardie and she is living in Paris, France. As a young widow, Emma enjoys the Paris salons and an intimacy with Napoleon Bonaparte’s inner circle. Her two best friends include Hortense,(Napoleon’s step daughter) and Jane (who is the Pink Carnation). Emma is commissio
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lately, I've been reading lots of historical fiction and romances and as I've sampled a bit more of the field, I find that Ms. Willig's stories have improved in my opinion. And while that may be a bit of a backhanded compliment, it does mean that I liked the latest installment of Pink better than many of the previous books.

The dual story used throughout the series keeps things moving at a nice clip. While the Regency spies Emma and Augustus are risking their lives to foil Bonaparte's latest pla
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Garden Intrigue is the ninth installment in Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation Series. In this story we meet an American, Emma Delagardie, and follow her as she gets to know Jane Wooliston and Augustus Whittlesby. Emma’s childhood friendship with Hortense Bonaparte, Napolean’s stepdaughter, has put her in place to be present for the testing of a new French weapon. Whittlesby must maneuver his way into Emma’s life, so that he can be invited to the demonstration, and in turn warn the British.

I cou
As a big fan of this series, I'm afraid this installment was sorely lacking on audio. Emma's voice and tone was flat and much too modern sounding to my ears for a proper young lady during Regency times. I could barely stand it every time she opened her mouth and that's a deal breaker for me. If the heroine doesn't win me over, the book is lost. Augustus' switch from Jane to Emma screamed "rebound" and I just could not take him seriously. Pity, since I've really enjoyed Kate Reading's narration i ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, historical
My overall reaction to this one is "meh" and only partly because it took me forever to actually get through it, since I was bored with most of it. Although I was happy to see Jane (but for hell's sake, give her something to do!), I really didn't care for any of the characters. The whole Augustus Whittlesby character was too on-the-"Scarlet Pimpernel" nose for me; an annoying effeminate, superficial character who is actually manly and brave is too trite for words. And, don't get me started on Emm ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Out of all the leading men in this series, I think Augustus Whittlesby had the most potential. He seemed likeable, witty, attractive and smart. I was rooting for him. Emma was ok. I thought her "issues" and backstory were weak, at best. The most interesting character in The Garden Intrigue was the Pink Carnation herself. That girl's gonna break soon. Or get married. It's a toss up. I thought Emma was pretty naive for someone who's had so much life experience. I liked Emma and Augustus's interact ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really enjoy the Pink Carnation series. Some I like more than others but I'm never really disappointed in them. This one was good, even though a lot of the poetry got a little annoying. Once Whittlesby started talking to Emma w/o all the flowery words, it was really quite sweet. I also didn't like Eloise and Colin's story so much in this book. I usually do but it seemed kind of bland this time. What I like though, is that after reading I have this thirst for further knowledge about what I read ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lauren Willig is one of my absolute favorite authors. She never fails to make me laugh out loud. I'd say garden is maybe my second favorite book in the series. I just loved it. I like the fact that it focuses back on the events in Paris, although I did find India fascinating as well in Blood Lilly. I'll admit I had originally wanted Jane and Augustus to pair off. But Emma ends up being just perfect for him and Jane and Miss Gwen are free to spy another day. I cannot say how much I loved it.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable romp in the world of the Pink Carnation. We've been working through pairing off all of her associates, looking forward to seeing what is in store for Miss Wooliston. :)
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
charming as this series always is. the bits of history are fascinating and the present story line progresses as well
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will do a series review here at my channel:
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Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before ...more

Other books in the series

Pink Carnation (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1)
  • The Masque of the Black Tulip (Pink Carnation, #2)
  • The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, #3)
  • The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Pink Carnation, #4)
  • The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (Pink Carnation, #5)
  • The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation, #6)
  • The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation, #7)
  • The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation, #8)
  • The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, #10)
  • The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (Pink Carnation, #11)
“There is, I have heard, a little thing called sunrise, in which the sun reverses the process we all viewed the night before. You might assume such a thing as mythical as those beasts that guard the corners of the earth, but I have it on the finest authority, and have, indeed, from time to time, regarded it with my own eyes.” 16 likes
“They were a strange and mercantile people, these Americans. One never knew what they might come up with next.” 6 likes
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