Merrimon Book Reviews

Mir Akbar Ali Khan Siddiqi Sikander Jah Asaf Jah III, Nizam of Hyderabad, was the ruler of Hyderabad state in India from 1803 to 1829.

Battle of Assaye,
Maratha War, a conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India

From Merrimon Book Reviews
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig
by Lauren Willig

Wonderful mix of romance, rich historical detail, and spy intrigue
When Penelope Deveraux's hasty marriage to Lord Frederick Staines becomes the talk of the town, she finds herself in new territory.  Whisked away to Hyderabad, Penelope finds her husband's attention lies elsewhere.  In this world, Penelope finds herself at odds and emotionally isolated until Captain Alex Reid appears on the scene, charming her.  In the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, appearances mask true intent.  Captain Reid seems to be the one person Penelope can trust, especially as rumors of a dangerous spy called the Marigold surface as members of Penelope's social circle become threatened.  Captain Reid thinks he has better things to do with his time than watch the aristocracy until he meets Penelope, a woman who doesn't exactly follow social conventions and who can outdo him on several fronts.  Captain Reid can't help but notice the inexplicable connection between the Marigold's deadly acts and their connection to Penelope.  By allying himself to her, perhaps he can uncover the clues to unravel a plot that threatens the British Empire itself. 

Sixth in the Pink Carnation series, Lauren Willig's THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY is a fantastic, exciting addition to the series.  Lauren Willig takes all the elements fans have grown to love to a new setting in Hyderabad, India.  As the French presence in India inspires a desire for consolidation of British control, the history of Maratha War forms a backdrop for the action of the story.  Set within the context of a present day (2004) graduate student's search for clues about spies during the Napoleonic Wars, THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY brings together the beauty for readers of the magic of historical romance: the discovery of history and passion in the lives and hearts of men and women living in a distant age.  Like the novel's researcher, the reader feels the moment of discovery.  The embedded story within a story gives a richness to the unfolding of the narrator's relationship to Colin and Penelope's relationship to her husband and Captain Reid.  Each separate story fascinates on its own but together each story gives richer depth to the other.  If you are new to the series,
THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY can be read as a stand alone but take this warning:  this book leaves a reader craving more of the wonderful mix of romance, rich historical detail, and all the intrigue and mystery of spies lurking actively beneath the surface.  Whether you start the series here with the sixth book or the first, this is a series not to be missed.

Lauren Willig's THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY is the perfect choice for romance readers who crave more history in their romance --- and for historical fiction readers who want more romance and intrigue in their historical fiction.  Penelope is a wonderful heroine.  While circumstances leave her alone, she is not a woman to sit meekly in the corner.  Daring in the face of rigid social regulations, she is active athletically and intellectually.  While true to the period, she is also a woman a modern reader can admire.  Captain Alex Reid's complex background makes him a wonderful hero.  Separate from the aristocracy, he is a man who earns his way in the world rather than being given it as part of his social position.  Through Alex's family, one sees the racial tensions and discrimination underlying the British India society of the time.  In one sense, both Penelope and Alex are outsiders, caught between two worlds.  In THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY, Lauren Willig creates wonderfully rich characters giving a satisfying depth to the romance.  In a word, THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY is a keeper.  THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY is excellent in the first reading but it also a book rich enough to encourage re-reading or excellent book club discussions.   Superb in each and every way!

Publisher: Dutton  (January 12, 2010)

Author website
Other books in the series: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (2005), The Masque of the Black Tulip (2005), The Deception of the Emerald Ring (2006), The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (2008), The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (2009)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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