"The Deception of the Emerald Ring" begins with a modern American character by the name of Eloise Kelly-a Harvard grad student-who, while living her own romantic tale, is in England researching a female English spy of the 19th century for her Ph.D. thesis. As Eloise uncovers the spy's information, the book transports us back to 19th century England, where we meet 19-year-old Letty Alsworthy.
Along with Eloise, we discover that Letty, while on a quest to save her family's reputation, intercepted a letter meant for her beautiful sister and landed in a compromising position with Lord Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, her sister's fianc‚.
After Geoffrey and Letty were forced to marry, Letty discovered that her groom had disappeared soon after they had exchanged vows. Humiliated but determined to hold her own, Letty snuck away on a ship and followed Geoffrey to Ireland, where not only did she realize she had married to a spy, but also became one herself.
Both Eloise and Letty, while centuries apart, experience and uncover their own romantic mysteries. While love soon finds a way to save the day and the hearts of the women in this book, it does not prevail until each lady has had her share of adventures. Even though the book is constantly moving between the past and the present, it flows remarkably well. Both Letty and Eloise's story is strong enough to be told alone, but together they complement the other so well that I cannot imagine reading one without the other.
"Deception of the Emerald Ring" is a beautifully written novel that contrasts modern day romance and family meddling, with the expectations, norms and obligations surrounding the courting ritual of 19th century England.
The book is fresh, smartly written and delightfully entertaining. I plan to read it again, as soon as I can pry my copy out of the hands of my next-door neighbor!
Special Notes: This is the third book in Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series.
Eloise Kelly has gotten into quite a bit of trouble since she started spying on the Pink Carnation and the Black Tulip-two of the deadliest spies to saunter the streets of nineteenth-century England and France. Not only has she unearthed secrets that will rearrange history, she's dallied with Colin Selwick and sought out a romantic adventure all her own. Little does she know that she's about to uncover another fierce heroine running headlong into history.