The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig
I was in the mood for something fun, but didn’t want to pick something from my scattered collection of TBR books. A library trip was in order and Lauren Willig hit the spot.
Visiting her boyfriend Colin’s historical home, Eloise–grad student and history sleuth–takes a research detour when she uncovers the personal correspondence of Lady Charlotte Lansdowne. While not directly related to her dissertation topic on the history of the Pink Carnation, Eloise is intrigued when reads a line about the King’s madness (George the Third, that is) while browsing through the letters. Wondering what Charlotte Lansdowne could have to do with the King’s madness, Eloise becomes absorbed in a tale of decadence, intrigue, and betrayal.
Considered a bookish little mouse by her domineering grandmother and the male members of the ton, Charlotte Lansdowne never expected to find the sort of adventure and romance that she so enjoyed in her favorite novels, but that is just what she finds when her dashing cousin Robert, the erstwhile Duke of Dovedale returns from his self-imposed exile in India. Suddenly, Charlotte finds that even the most unlikely character has the potential to become a romantic heroine.
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine is the 5th novel in Willig’s Pink Carnation, Regency spy series. I didn’t realize this until I started reading the book, but I found that I had no problem following the storyline despite the series order snafu. For the most part, references to prior installments in the series were minor and did not affect my enjoyment if the book as a single installment. Also, while it’s been a while since I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, I didn’t find that I needed to refer to the first installment to follow Eloise’s story.
I thought Charlotte was a great character. She’s bookish, smart, and knows her own mind. She’s the sort of person who is frequently underestimated by her peers simply because she doesn’t participate in the usual comings and goings of fashionable society. But most of all, I liked her because she reminded me of …well… me. She’s the sort of whimsical and imaginative person that people overlook because they assume she is a bit oblivious to the happenings of the great, busy world. Except, she’s not. Charlotte is an unlikely heroine because she is the sort of person that no one would ever consider observant enough to bother with, though she is eminently observant of her surroundings. It was her ability to surprise everyone with her intelligence and intrepidness that made this a great read for me.
I am definitely going to look for the other books in the series now that I have skipped ahead. I would love to get to know Henrietta and Miles further, as well as that troublesome yet charming Frenchman.