The Garden Intrigue is the kind of book that you can sink into, thoroughly losing yourself in the setting and getting well-acquainted with the likable characters. The pace is leisurely, though the plot is interesting enough keep you turning the pages. The whole story is infused with the tension of espionage during the Napoleonic Era, yet there is also humor, attraction, and a rich cast of secondary characters who add color and charm. Emma is a clever, engaging heroine, and Augustus is an utterly charming hero, confident enough to not bother about appearing a fool in order to be a successful spy. The only complaint I could make about the book is that I loved the secondary plot, set in modern times, so much that I wish I had a whole book on Eloise and Colin.
Augustus Whittlesby, English spy, has the perfect cover posing as a foppish poet in Napoleonic France. It gives him access to the right people while deflecting the eye of suspicion. He is barely noticed and not worth serious consideration. Except that one woman does notice him. Emma Delagardie is a nuisance. New York-born and highly touted in Paris society, she is also an outspoken critic of Augustus’s admittedly ridiculous verse. However, her access to Bonaparte’s inner circle means that Augustus needs her, and needing her might just lead to something much more complicated.
Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation novels have been called "fun [and] fresh" (Kirkus Reviews) and "clever and playful " (Detroit Free Press). Now she introduces readers to a mismatched pair who find passion in the most astonishing of places...
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 information drowned in a sea of verbiage.
New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus’s side. An old school friend of Napoleon’s stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, eloped with a Frenchman, and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Now widowed, she entertains herself by holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus’s poetry.
As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted—especially Augustus’s unexpected feelings for Emma.