Friday, August 21, 2015

The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

Being orphaned at sixteen in the early 1800's was no picnic for a young lady.  That's exactly the predicament Laura Grey finds herself in.  Sixteen years later, she has crushed down any hope of love and marriage and instead goes from wealthy house to house, serving as a children's governess.  Unnoticed by those she serves yet a step above the other household help, she lives a lonely life.  That must be why she agrees when drafted by the infamous Pink Carnation to become a spy for England.

After training, she is placed in the household of French government worker Andre Jauoen.  Jauoen serves as the assistant Minister Of Police.  Grey is to find out what goes on in the police department having to do with government affairs.  The group she works for is plotting a return to the French throne of one of the royal family displaced by the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Laura trends lightly but finds her job increasingly difficult when she starts to have feelings for her employer and the two children she is entrusted with. 

When Jauoen is surprisingly revealed to be working on the same side but exposed, the pair along with the two children, nursery maid and a portrait artist who Jauoen saves are forced to flee.   Can they make it back to England before being captured and executed as enemies of the government?  Can the love that springs up between the two have a chance at success?

Willig has written an engaging, frothy romance that is perfect for a few hours of escape into a more exciting world.  The romance between the governess and her employee is a well-known plot device but Willig does it proud.  The reader learns some French history along with their love story.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and for romance readers.

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