Summary: Penelope Deveraux never imagined she'd be spirited off to India to give the scandal of her hasty marriage time to die down. As Lady Frederick Staines, Penelope plunges into the elaborate court intrigues of the Nizam of Hyderabad, where no one is quite what he seems. In a strange and exotic country where a dangerous spy called the Marigold leaves venomous cobras as his calling card, there is only one person she can trust.
Captain Alex Reid has better things to do than play nursemaid to a pair of aristocrats. Unfortunately, Penelope seems to have the uncanny ability to draw out the deadly plans of the Marigold and put herself in harm's way. With danger looming from local warlords, treacherous court officials, and French spies, Alex realizes that an alliance with Lady Staines may be the only thing standing in the way of a plot designed to rock the very foundations of the British Empire. (source: book cover)
Commentary: I enjoyed this installment of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. Penelope is a bit like me, the cynic, the critical one, the tom boy even perhaps. She's the only one of Ms. Willig's female characters that could handle the trip to, and living in, India. The rest are way too girly for this. As mentioned previously, Penelope gets herself trapped in a marriage that leaves her with less than the best prospects. Freddy Staines, really, ah, that's too bad (Call me "old thing" one more time and I'll...). Thankfully, based on the plot line we know his number will come up.
Alex Reid, on the other hand, is a hero's hero. If Penelope can trust him enough to figure out what is going on. And what is going on? Not sure at the beginning, because there are too many members of the Hellfire Club involved and suspicious dealings with the locals that don't seem to be above board. And, Alex's boss has married a local woman which brings him - and Alex - into question with British officers. Penelope suspects Alex of just about everything. Probably over reaching at that point, but being new to the area, who is to say.
Eloise and Colin seem to still be managing their lives together - so far. Somehow, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop in their relationship. Perhaps it's too much Bridget Jones' Diary in me, but ... I'm cautious. Not sure, but, this was an excellent story. Liked the cover of this book the best some how. Lovely really.