2015 Book 221: THE OTHER DAUGHTER by Lauren Willig

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig
ISBN: 9781250056283 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781466860131 (ebook)
ASIN: B00PF818YY (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Raised in a poor yet genteel household, Rachel Woodley is working in France as a governess when she receives news that her mother has died, suddenly. Grief-stricken, she returns to the small town in England where she was raised to clear out the cottage…and finds a cutting from a London society magazine, with a photograph of her supposedly deceased father dated all of three month before. He’s an earl, respected and influential, and he is standing with another daughter-his legitimate daughter. Which makes Rachel…not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past-even her very name-is a lie.

Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel sets herself up in London under a new identity. There she insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father’s perfidy and bring his-and her half-sister’s-charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn’t as simple it appears; and she might just be falling for her sister’s fiancé…

From Lauren Willig, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Ashford Affair, comes The Other Daughter, a page-turner full of deceit, passion, and revenge..



Rachel Woodley is a somewhat shy and unassuming young woman working as a nursery governess in France. When she receives a telegram five days late about her mother being ill, she finally stands up for herself and quits her job to return to England. Upon her return home she finds out that not only has her mother died, but she’s missed the funeral. To add insult to injury, she then finds out her presumably deceased father is still alive with another daughter. What follows is Rachel’s quest to find out more about her father and his other family in Lauren Willig’s latest, The Other Daughter.

Once Rachel learns the truth about her father, she has the opportunity to change her life view from behind the stairs as a nursery governess, to that of an estranged cousin to Simon Montfort. With Simon’s assistance, Rachel soon becomes Vera Merton and enters the world of her half-sister, Lady Olivia Standish. The only person in this upper-crust world that Rachel/Vera seems to have anything in common with is Olivia’s fiancé, John Trevannion. The longer Rachel stays in her role as Vera, the more she realizes that her search for the truth just might end up hurting one of the people she’s come to admire, her half-sister.

I found The Other Daughter to be a fast-paced, enjoyable, and engrossing read. The story is set in the mid-1920s after WWI. Ms. Willig mentions some of the problems of British society at the time, lack of jobs, lack of sufficient pay, and the ongoing psychological trauma for those that fought in the war, but none are discussed in great detail. I enjoyed Rachel’s role as Vera Merton and was somewhat surprised by how well she adapted from the shy, unassuming young woman from the country to a popular and witty Bright Young Thing in the city. The Other Daughter provides tons of drama: daughters beholden to their mothers, sons beholden to their families and estates, etc. There aren’t any bad guys in The Other Daughter, just plenty of interesting characters and situations making for a good read. If you enjoy reading historical fiction or about family drama, then you’ll want to add The Other Daughter to your reading list.


Read an excerpt from The Other Daughter here


Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Book 85: THE ASHFORD AFFAIR Review

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
ISBN:  9781250014498 (hardcover)
ISBN:  9781250027191 (ebook)
ASIN:  B009HP01I0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . .

Growing up at Ashford Park in the early twentieth century, Addie has never quite belonged. When her parents passed away, she was taken into the grand English house by her aristocratic aunt and uncle, and raised side-by-side with her beautiful and outgoing cousin, Bea. Though they are as different as night and day, Addie and Bea are closer than sisters, through relationships and challenges, and a war that changes the face of Europe irrevocably. But what happens when something finally comes along that can’t be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond that’s even stronger?

From the inner circles of British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.


Clemmie (Clementine) Evans is a hard-working woman. She’s dedicated seven years of her life to the law-firm of Cromwell, Polk & Moore and is the fast-track (if seven years is considered fast) to be considered a junior partner. Clemmie has no social life to speak of and has recently broken up with her fiancé. She does, however, make time to attend her grandmother’s ninety-ninth birthday party. One little slip of the tongue sets off an investigation into her family’s past.

Adeline (Addie) Gillecotte was orphaned at age six and sent to live with her father’s half-brother, the current Earl of Ashford, and his family at Ashford Park. She is quickly befriended by her cousin Bea and the two become as close as sisters. Bea grows up to be “the debutante of the decade,” marries the Marquess Rivesdale and goes off to London taking Addie with her. Unfortunately Bea quickly becomes bored with her life, especially since her husband is prone to go off to the country with his mistress. In an effort to make her husband jealous she embarks on an affair with Addie’s friend, Frederick Desborough . . . an affair that ends one marriage and quickly forces her into another. Frederick and Bea leave England behind and travel to Kenya where disaster strikes and changes the Desborough family forever.

Ms. Willig has provided another great read that blends contemporary and historical storylines. The past is presented as Addie’s story from 1906 through the late 1920s. Addie’s life with her uncles and cousins wasn’t necessarily a hard life, but she never quite fit in at Ashford Park. She strives to make a life for herself in London after Bea’s disastrous affair, and eventually finds gainful employment and a beau. Both Addie and Bea’s lives are changed in Kenya. Clemmie is on a quest to find out just what happened to her grandparents in Africa, and ultimately discovers what she wants from life. I found The Ashford Affair to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Ms. Willig drew me in from the very first page and held my attention to the end. The Ashford Affair provides a tantalizing blend of family drama, romance, and intrigue and is the perfect read for a springtime weekend read.



Read an excerpt here.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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End of the World Giveaway Hop Winner

The End of the World Giveaway Hop has ended and, thankfully, we have more days to enjoy reading since the world didn’t end. The winner of this hop is Penni F. Congratulations Penni! 


I want to thank Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Jennifer from My Life With Books for organizing this hop and everyone that stopped by this blog and entered. I extend a very special thank you to author Lauren Willig for graciously providing three signed paperbacks from the Pink Carnation series, the prize for this giveaway.

Happy reading!


End of the World Giveaway Hop

The End of the World Giveaway Hop has been organized by Kathy at  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Jennifer at My Life With Books (thank you Kathy & Jennifer). The purpose of this hop is to provide an opportunity for bloggers to offer readers books that we’d save if the end of the world were imminent, books that we’re passionate about, or books about the end of the world. Since my list of books to save was simply too large and impractical I chose books that I’m passionate about, namely the Pink Carnation series by author Lauren Willig. I’ve read each and every one of the books in this series (some of them more than once) and consider myself very fortunate that Ms. Willig has graciously provided three signed paperback copies from this series.



The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Book 4)

Determined to secure another London season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation. She must infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England.

Every spy has a weakness and for the Black Tulip that weakness is beautiful black-haired women-his ‘petals’ of the Tulip. A natural at the art of seduction, Mary easily catches the attention of the French spy, but Lord Vaughn never anticipated that his own heart would be caught as well.

Fighting their growing attraction, impediments from their past, and, of course, the French, Mary and Vaughn find themselves lost in a treacherous garden of lies.

And as our modern-day heroine, Eloise Kelly, digs deeper into England’s Napoleonic-era espionage, she becomes even more entwined with Colin Selwick, the descendant of her spy subjects.


The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (Book 5)


After 12 years in India, Robert, Duke of Dovedale, returns to his estates in England with a mission in mind– to infiltrate the infamous Hellfire club to unmask the man who murdered his mentor at the Battle of Assaye. Intent on revenge, Robert never anticipates that an even more difficult challenge awaits him, in the person of one Lady Charlotte Lansdowne.

Throughout her secluded youth, Robert was Lady Charlotte’s favorite knight in shining armor, the focus of all her adolescent daydreams. The intervening years have only served to render him more dashing. But, unbeknownst to Charlotte, Robert has an ulterior motive of his own for returning to England, a motive that has nothing to do with taking up the ducal mantle. As Charlotte returns to London to take up her post as Maid of Honor to Queen Charlotte, echoes from Robert’s past endanger not only their relationship but the very throne itself.


The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Book 7)

Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies…

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble.  When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate 12-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? And is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?




The End of the World Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM ET on 12/21/2012. If we survive, the winner will be announced by 9:00 AM ET on 12/22/2012. Regrettably this giveaway is limited to residents of the US (sorry). All entries must use the official Rafflecopter form found here. Comments are appreciated but will not be considered as a valid entry.

Book 34: THE GARDEN INTRIGUE Review

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
ISBN: 9780525952541
Publication date: February 16, 2012
Publisher: Dutton

Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can’t bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.

New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus’s side. An old school friend of Napoleon’s stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus’s poetry.

As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend’s entertainment.

Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She’ll do anything to postpone the decision-even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte’s house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted- especially Augustus’s feelings for Emma.


People are not always the way the seem, and Augustus Whittlesby and Emma Delagardie are perfect examples of this fact. Augustus has spent ten years in France as a agent for Britain. He’s been undercover all that time posing as a poet, a very bad poet at that. The last years have been spent writing and reciting his ode to Jane Wooliston entitled “The Perils of the Pulchritudinous Princess with the Azure Toes.” To most of French society, Augustus is considered harmless and this is fortunate as it provides him the opportunities to obtain the information needed to thwart France. Regrettably, Augustus has spent so much of his time pretending to be in love with Jane Wooliston, that he now believes himself to actually be in love with her. That is until he begins to spend time with another woman, Emma Delagardie.

Emma is an outcast to her family because of her elopement with her husband. She then behaved liked a spoiled brat and left her husband to participate in French society. Fortunately she grew up, reunited with her husband and actually came to know him, respect him as well as love him before his untimely death. She is friends with Bonaparte’s wife and stepdaughter and spends a lot of time entertaining. In her efforts to please, she has been volunteered to put on a small play for the Emperor Napoleon, his family and courtiers. Emma, in turns, volunteers Augustus to assist in writing the play.

The close proximity provides an opportunity for both Emma and Augustus to realize that neither is as bad as they seem. It also provides a great opportunity for Augustus to observe and report on what is happening with the Emperor from closer quarters. Can Emma and Augustus see beyond the public masks/personas they both wear? There’s also more revealed about the modern romance between Eloise and Colin. 

The Garden Intrigue is the ninth volume in the “Pink Carnation series” from Ms. Willig. As with previous volumes, the international intrigue is a main part of the story line but the romance is also front-and-center. Although the “pink carnation” isn’t an authentic historical figure, the historical aspects included of the ongoing intrigues between France and Britain are entertaining. The ongoing romantic story of Eloise and Colin provides a great launching point for each of the historical romances. The question that seems to loom after reading each book in this series is what will happen once Eloise completes her educational research and returns to the States? Fortunately, Ms. Willig hasn’t provided an answer to that question just yet, and hopefully more can be expected in the future. If you’re intrigued and want to read an excerpt from The Garden Intrigue, please visit the author’s website: http://www.laurenwillig.com/books/garden.html.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”