I sat down and read The Betrayal of the Blood Lily in one evening. I love these types of books – entertaining characters, a mystery to be solved, an exotic locale, and a plot that doesn’t quit.
In the contemporary plot line, Eloise is still researching her British spies. She is pursuing a previously tertiary character, Penelope, a woman forced into her marriage to Lord Frederick due to an assumed compromise to her womanhood. Eloise also learns more about her boyfriend’s crazy family history and gets no further in her suspicions that he may secretly be a spy (his family is descended from one of the spies she is researching).
The Eloise plot line is a nice touch since it is the constant in all the books in the Pink Carnation series. Only a few months have passed during the six installments and since Eloise has her own personal mysteries to tease out, a new book is always ensured.
I really enjoyed the Penelope story. (Spoilers, by the way.) Penelope is forced to marry Freddy once rumors spread through London that he has ruined her. He hasn’t but you can’t stop rumors like that. Freddy and Penelope are shipped off to India with a new appointment for Freddy. A Captain Alex Reid is charged with seeing them from Calcutta to Hyderabad and romance ensues.
Of course you hope that Penelope will find a way to be with Alex – and she does, in the inevitable way that works by all of society’s rules. It’s all very satisfying. Sometimes you just need a happy ending.
Willig does write in the historical romance style, filled with adverbs – much like Rowling. But it is endearing and seems appropriate to the style. Men should gaze adoringly and should be devastatingly handome.
The only thing I was a bit confused about was the title. The main spy being chased in the novel is the Marigold. Penelope isn’t named as the Blood Lily spy and I’m not even sure if I remember reading a reference to the blood lily flower at all. Maybe I just missed something.