The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
Dutton, Feb 2009, $25.95
After spending over a decade in India, Robert Lansdowne returns home to Sussex in 1803 to invesitgate the murder of his mentor at the Battle of Assaye. The duke’s plan is simple; he will go undercover by joining the notorious Hellfire Club where he thinks he can begin to track down the killer, espionage agent Arthur Wrothan.
However, Robert failed to consider one problem with his perfect plot. His cousin a zillion times removed Lady Charlotte Lansdowne has made him the hero of her romantic dreams that she reads in the novels. He was there when she became an orphaned child and she wants him there as her beloved husband. In spite of kisses that inflame his desire, Robert begins his quest only to have Charlotte join him over his objection and together they get embroiled in a seditious anti royal scheme.
As with the previous Pink Carnation tales Harvard graduate student Eloise Kelly doing her research uncovers the latest account of a Napoleonic Era female spy while having a romantic interlude with host executor Colin Selwick. Though this reviewer has found Eloise’s modern day piece unnecessary but well written, fans will see how far she has come from Massachusetts (see THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION). However, the tale belongs to Charlotte as her adventures in espionage and in love are not anywhere near the romantic images she has of both. Fans will enjoy this fine historical undercover romance even without a flowery title (see THE MASQUE OF THE BLACK TULIP, THE SEDUCTION OF THE CRIMSON ROSE and THE DECEPTION OF THE EMERALD RING) as the real human Robert falls off the pedestal in the eyes of his spying associate even as their love blossoms.