The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation, #8) - Lauren Willig After I read The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (#6) I was pretty sure I was done with this series. The plot lines in both The Betrayal of the Blood Lily and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (#5) were rather pointless to me. I really think Willig wrote them to transition the storyline into other countries. Also, I started getting annoyed with Eloise’s constant reminders of how Colin is her boyfriend. I read the next two in the series for a challenge or else I wouldn’t have bothered. Now I’m glad I did bother because I highly enjoyed the last two: The Mischief of the Mistletoe and The Orchid Affair.

One thing I really enjoyed in The Orchid Affair is that Willig gives Colin and Eloise a back seat. They are featured in this book, but their storyline is very much in the background. For every 5 or 6 chapters of historical fiction there is one chapter of Colin and Eloise. This made me very happy because, yet again, their story line has progressed very little. Eloise is as annoying as ever bringing up her ex-boyfriend (it’s been 2 years …get over it already!), constantly reminding readers of her relationship status with Colin and constantly speculating about Colin’s family drama. Seriously, we get it already Miss Plain Jane. Anyway, when I think about Eloise it pisses me off so I’m going to move on…

I really enjoyed the historical portion of the story. This time we’re introduced to a completely new character, Laura Gray, who is a spy disguised as a governess. I really liked Laura. She was endearing as she bumbled her way as a new spy. She wasn’t slapstick about it, but her internal monologue was funny as she figured things out and doubted herself. I also liked her employer Andre Jaouen. I liked that he was widower, a single father and he was trying to balance his career along with everything else. It’s rare to see that, particularly in historical fiction. The dynamics between the two characters was interesting as well and I couldn’t help but root for them.

The side characters were also well done in this one. I loved that Willig bought some of the older characters back like Jane Wooliston, Whittlesby, The Purple Gentian and even the horrible villain Delaroche. Also, it was nice that Willig made the political climate important to the plot line once again. The political intrigue is what originally made me fall in love with this series, but it has been seriously lacking in the last few books. I felt like she chose to focus more on the romance aspect in those other books, which is fine but it seems like she lost focus as to the purpose of the series. I forgive her now that it seems like the series is back on track and I look forward to checking the next book out.