First Harvard graduate student Lauren penned The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, an intriguing historical suspenseful and romantic novel (way to blend the genres!) in 2005. Then she came out with The Masque of the Black Tulip, continuing the early nineteenth century espionage storyline. It dragged in parts, but was otherwise well done. Thirdly was The Deception of the Emerald Ring--now the plotlines seemed a little transparent and I started to get frustrated. And finally, after reading her latest, I've decided to give up on the series.
The series is all written from two perspectives; one is a modern-day Harvard graduate student named Eloise who is researching the secret identities of British spies just after the French Revolution. In her research, she comes across a descendant of one of her subjects, a handsome fellow who allows her access to his family's records. Though they meet in the first book, present-day time is so slowed down that it is only in the fourth book that they finally go on a date together. The second perspective is that of a woman from Napoleon's era; each book has a different narrator, because each focuses on a different spy's identity being revealed to the reader and to Eloise.
Great concept, but the author's writing style hasn't matured over the years, and the modern-day plotline is absolutely maddening. Plus, with this cover in particular, this was a very embarrassing book to be seen reading--I was tucking it into magazines and trying not to taken for a bodice-ripping reader.