The Garden Intrigue (Pink Carnation Series #9)

The Garden Intrigue - Lauren Willig 4+ starsI love all the books in this series, but I was so happy to interact with The Pink Carnation again! Don't get me wrong, I love all the couples in the series, especially Turnip and Arabella! And while Jane isn't the focus of this book, it's Emma and Augustus, Jane is certainly the impetus. (Or is that catalyst?) And having Miss Gwen around again... *sigh*I never thought I could like Augustus Whittlesby. His bad poetry, bad dressing, and barely-there personality just made him seem... well, a dud. How wrong could I be? For hiding under all that outward persona is a dashing, intelligent, and jaded man. A man who could barely acknowledge his "love" for Jane; but was it really love or was it just having someone with whom he could be himself with completely? And that's why the attraction for Emma begins. Emma is American and has that very American way of saying exactly what she thinks; but she's been in French society just enough to know how to say it couched in the sweetest or wittiest of phrases. Emma just about undoes Augustus, because she's able to fire back snarkiness at his bad poetry; and it frustrates Augustus to not be able to swing back. But to do so would be to risk revealing his identity as a spy.I love the way that Emma and Augustus get to know one another. Their courier-delivered messages back and forth are delightful. They play off one another so well, each seeing the other for who he or she is, but kindly.But each manages to take the rose-colored glasses from the other. Emma helps Augustus to see that Jane simply isn't that into him. Augustus helps Emma to see what's really going on around her politically. It's not that either is dumb, it's simply that they don't wish to see what's right in front of them. Both have been disillusioned by life and love; both feel out of place; both feel they've been the user and the used. And yet they're just different enough to pull one another from his or her doldrums - to inject life and hope and joy back into the other.Other than a few anachronistic sayings, the historical part of the book is enjoyable and fun. The "current day" part of the book is almost maddening, though, because we get such small, rare glimpses in this book of Colin and Eloise. And just enough glimpses of Jeremy and Dempsey to last a lifetime!A Can't Miss!