tulipThe Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
Release Date: December 29, 2005
Publisher: NAL Trade
Source: Personal
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Harvard grad student Eloise Kelly achieved the academic coup of the century when she unmasked the spy who saved England from Napoleon. But now she has a million questions about the Pink Carnation’s deadly French nemesis, the Black Tulip. And she’s pretty sure that her handsome on-again, off-again crush, Colin Selwick, has the answers somewhere in his archives. But what she discovers in an old codebook is something juicier than she ever imagined. – Goodreads

I have a love-hate relationship with historical romance/fiction. It comes from the fact that my undergrad was done in history so I look at everything with that point of view. But even with that tidbit I throughly enjoy this series. Not just because I’ve met the lovely author. I was thoroughly invested in the historical characters more than present day ones, for once. Not that the present day ones weren’t nice and lovely; they were. I just was more invested in the historical story.

Here is how this series works: there is Eloise Kelly, a present day Harvard grad student working on her dissertation in England with Colin Selwick, who happens to be not only adorable and her crush (kind-of-sort-of long story), but Selwick also happens to have historical archives that Eloise needs. Of course Colin wants nothing to do with it; thankfully his aunt does and lets Eloise tackle the archives.

When Eloise starts to dig into the archives for her thesis, she discovers the Black Tulip in the early nineteenth century France, who is the arch nemesis of the Pink Carnation (the first book in the series). Eloise is dying to find out more, and she does. But she also discovers Henrietta and Miles, and oh boy did I fall in love with both of them.

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a time period I wouldn’t be in love with Henrietta and Miles. They’re both hopelessly in love with each other but in great denial about it. While one of them is (in denial), one of them is clearly in love with the other just they try to hide it well.

There are a lot of surprising twists and turns that, days later still leave me wondering about. This book was a great continuation of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, but could easily be read without reading the first book.