Willig, Lauren 1977-
Willig, Lauren 1977-
Writer and lawyer. Associate in litigation at a New York law firm.
Beau Monde (Regency chapter of Romance Writers of America).
"PINK CARNATION" HISTORICAL NOVEL SERIES
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.
The Masque of the Black Tulip, Dutton (New York, NY), 2006.
The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Dutton (New York, NY), 2006.
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Dutton (New York, NY), 2008.
Lauren Willig's first novel was rejected the first time she sent it to a publishing house. Handwritten and spanning three hundred pages, her Nancy Drew-inspired mystery was returned and her dreams of becoming a best-selling author were crushed. Fortunately, Willig did not let this rejection stop her (she was only nine years old, after all), and she has since gone on to pen several successful historical romance novels.
In The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Eloise Kelly is a Harvard graduate student working on a dissertation about two English spies, the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian, who performed gallant, clandestine deeds for the British during the Napoleonic wars of the early nineteenth century. Hoping to learn as much as she can about the two spies, Eloise travels to London, where she meets Arabella Selwick-Aderly, a descendant of Lord Richard Selwick, who was the Purple Gentian. Arabella grants Eloise access to the family's papers. After a bit of research, Eloise stumbles upon the journal of a young woman named Amy Balcourt and learns of another, more elusive spy: the Pink Carnation. As Eloise peruses Amy's journal, readers are transported back to the nineteenth century to follow Amy and her cousin Jane as they travel to France in hopes of joining the Purple Gentian's league. In the meantime, Eloise delves further into her research, despite attempts by Arabella's nephew, Colin, to restrict her access to his family's hidden secrets. Not one to be deterred, Eloise perseveres and uncovers the Pink Carnation's true identity.
A critic for Kirkus Reviews termed Willig's debut novel "a sexy, smirking, determined-to-charm historical-romance." In a critique for Library Journal, Anna M. Nelson observed that Willig "has an ear for quick wit and an eye for detail." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the identity of the Pink Carnation seems a bit obvious, but noted that Willig "does a good job painting a picture of the tumultuous era." Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley concluded her review by calling the novel "a decidedly delightful romp."
The Masque of the Black Tulip finds Eloise continuing her research on the Pink Carnation when she discovers correspondence between the mysterious spy and Lady Henrietta Selwick, Richard Selwick's sister, stating that a deadly French spy known only as the Black Tulip is planning a murder. Readers are once again transported back in time as Henrietta and her brother's friend, Miles, work to stop the Black Tulip before it is too late. Writing for Library Journal, Bette-Lee Fox commented that The Masque of the Black Tulip is "a bit more clichéd" than Willig's first novel, but noted that it is still "terribly clever and funny." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "many … will delight in this easy-to-read romp and line up for the next installment." One Kirkus Reviews contributor remarked on Willig's appealing characters and plots.
In an interview for the Barnes and Noble Web site, Willig offered this advice to writers: "Write the story you want to tell, in a way that pleases you—you, after all, are the one living with this plot and these characters for months on end…. Reading—reading broadly, in a variety of genres and styles—is the best education for any author, and the only real training is to write, write, and write some more.
In the third book in the "Pink Carnation" series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Eloise, still working on her Ph.D. in history, uncovers another tale of nineteenth century spies in the archives. This time, the story focuses on Letty Alsworthy, a nineteen-year-old who marries Lord Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe. When Geoffrey is nowhere to be found on their wedding night, Letty thinks she's been abandoned. However, in reality, Geoffrey is a spy and a member of the Purple Gentian. He has actually gone to Ireland to help prevent the Irish Rebellion. When Letty finally tracks down her husband, she finds herself involved in espionage. "Willig's latest is riveting, providing a great diversion and lots of fun," wrote Patty Engelmann of The Deception of the Emerald Ring in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the historic action is taut and twisting."
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose marks the fourth installment in the "Pink Carnation" series. Readers continue to learn more about the Pink Carnation through Eloise's research efforts, as well as about Eloise herself and her blooming love affair with Colin. In this book, Mary Alsworthy, who was treated so scandalously by her now-former fiancé in the previous book, finds herself agreeing to be used as bait by Lord Vaughn in an attempt to lure the attentions of the mysterious and dangerous French spy known as the Black Tulip. Mary has the dark-haired looks that the Black Tulip seems to favor, and so she seems an ideal candidate to lure him into the open. However, when the Tulip does notice Mary, she learns that he has more interest in her than she previously imagined, and what he asks she may not be willing to give, no matter the greatness of the cause. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised the book for its "witty repartee and arch conversations," and concluded that "the novel handily fulfills its promise of intrigue and romance." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews noted that "Willig's research grounds this adventure in solid detail, from the dresses to the deadly weaponry." Kristine Huntley, in a review for Booklist, wrote that Willig's books improve "with each addition, and her latest is filled with swashbuckling fun, romance, and intrigue."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, p. 558; August 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, p. 56; January 1, 2008, Kristine Huntley, review of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, p. 46.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, p. 1028; October 15, 2005, review of The Masque of the Black Tulip, p. 1107; August 1, 2006, review of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, p. 752; November 15, 2007, review of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose.
Library Journal, November 15, 2004, Anna M. Nelson, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, p. 53; November 15, 2004, Tania Barnes, "Q&A: Lauren Willig," p. 52; November 1, 2005, Bette-Lee Fox, review of The Masque of the Black Tulip, p. 70; September 1, 2006, Bette-Lee Fox, review of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, p. 140.
Marie Claire, December 1, 2006, review of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2005, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, p. 223; October 31, 2005, review of The Masque of the Black Tulip, p. 32; August 21, 2006, review of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, p. 47; November 26, 2007, review of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, p. 27.
Barnes and Noble.com,http://www.barnesandnoble.com/writers/ (February 4, 2006), "Meet the Writers: Lauren Willig," interview with author.
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (January 2, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation; (January 14, 2005), Suan Wilson, review of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation; (December 15, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Masque of the Black Tulip.
Lauren Willig Home Page,http://www.laurenwillig.com (February 4, 2006).
MSNBC,http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ (June 22, 2007), "A Sultry Dose of Romance—from Harvard; Author Lauren Willig Gives a Historical Twist to Dating," profile of author.