Forced into a bad marriage by your own folly, shipped off to India, and then confronted with an enigmatic soldier who may or may not be a spy...This is Penelope Deveraux Staines's dilemma in Lauren Willig's latest Pink Carnation installment, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily.


Sounds like the stuff of an adventure epic, doesn't it? That's just what Blood Lily is. This beautiful story is a love letter to eighteenth-century India, where brave men battled the heat, the indigenous wildlife, and the local rulers, both native and foreign, to carve out a life for themselves.  

The hero in Lauren’s book is worthy of the exotic setting. Captain Alex Reid is none too pleased when he’s assigned what he considers a babysitting duty; he must escort a new British envoy from Calcutta to his post in Hyderabad, India. But Alex has no patience for  his charge. There’s intrigue and espionage and alliances in India that this man, Frederick Staines, couldn’t possibly understand. Worse yet, he’s accompanied by his wife, Lady Penelope Staines, whose beauty is undeniable but whose impulsive nature gets her -and Alex- into trouble.

This is the sixth in Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series. All of the books involve spies and brave ladies and dashing men. And this week at Romantic Reads Lauren’s taking your questions about all the books, including how she chooses the settings, whether or not Eloise, her modern-day heroine, is based on Lauren herself, and how to walk that fine line of portraying cheating in romance. We’ve been discussing that elsewhere, and your tolerance or lack thereof has provided quite the conversation!

Also this week: we’re talking age differences. Does it bother you if the heroine is much younger than the hero? What about vice versa? How many romances can you think of where that’s one of the issues?

Though we’re still in January, lots of interest is brewing for one of our February Feature authors, Lucy Monroe. She’s the author of a series set in medieval Scotland, about a clan of werewolves. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Scotsmen and werewolves? You can see why everybody’s so excited about her latest book, Moon Craving. We’ll be talking all about it next month, but see what the buzz is about here.

Tune in next week for our first-ever “Debut Week.” Authors Kaki Warner and Courtney Milan will be sharing their “Call” stories as well as other inside scoop on what it’s like to be a first-time published author.

Til then, happy reading!

Why do you think romances set in India are so popular right now? And what are some of your favorites?

Melanie Murray is the moderator of Romantic Reads,'s all-romance, all-the-time community forum.


0 Kudos
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-19-2010 11:50 AM

I know I've read several but I'm totally blanking on titles. I'll have to do some research!

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-19-2010 04:10 PM

Thanks for the update, melanie! Could these next two weeks be any more exciting? I can barely breathe. These authors all are marvelous. I've been loving Lucy Monroe for a long time, since her 'Ready' Willing' "And Able' series.  I'm looking forward to this new one.


And you had me at India.  I'm so glad more authors are writing it as a setting -- and sometimes character -- again, even though that's never 'gone away.'  Love the hardships the military and Company guys endure, and the  way even the Englishmen can be set up as the bad guys against the Englishmen.  and it's such a rich backdrop in which to create a more assertive, learned and faceted heroine.  Can't wait to see what Lauren's done with it; she's remarkably talented.


Kaki Warner's debut is so awesome. Cannot waitfor the series and to see what she's got in store for us.

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎01-19-2010 06:33 PM

I think the India setting is just a little exotic and brings some difference and danger to the Regency period we might not see in a regular regency novel. I think that's why they're so popular. Haven't read any lately, though there are definately a couple waiting for me in my TBR pile, hehe.

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎01-20-2010 08:36 AM

Becke, I've got the books listed in Lauren's thread at Romantic Reads. I highly recommend them, if you're in a mood for a large dose of historical context with your reading.

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎01-20-2010 08:38 AM

Hi Michelle,

That's a great point about the heroine in the India setting: I find that they're more vibrant, more "modern" in that they're not usually the prim English miss you get in a standard Regency-set historical. And there's just something about the vivid colors and sensory descriptions of the landscape. The heroes tend to be more active, too, I think.

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎01-20-2010 08:40 AM

India seems to surface more often lately, doesn't it, PrincessBumblebee? Even if the books aren't actually set there, some character or another has either just returned from there or longs to go back.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-21-2010 04:27 PM

Melanie, I've read one of her books and really liked it. I have more in my TBR pile -- of course!

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎01-22-2010 09:14 AM

Becke, you'd need ten years of solid reading to make a dent in that pile.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-22-2010 01:42 PM

That thought has occurred to me. And what if there was an apocalypse and all my reading glasses broke? (Assuming, of course, that I and my TBR pile survived unscathed.) It would be that Burgess Meredith Twilight Zone episode all over again! *shudders*


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