Who Stole Lady Neeley's Bracelet Was it the fortune hunter, the gambler, the servant, or the rogue All of London is abuzz with speculation, but it is clear that one of four couples is connected to the crime. Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, May 1816 Julia Quinn enchants: A dashing fortune hunter is captivated by the Season's most desired debutante...and must prove he is out to steal the lady's heart, not her dowry. Suzanne Enoch tantalizes: An innocent miss who has spent her life scrupulously avoiding scandal is suddenly -- and secretly -- courted by London's most notorious rogue. Karen Hawkins seduces: A roving viscount comes home to rekindle the passionate fires of his marriage...only to discover that his beautiful, headstrong bride will not be so easily won. Mia Ryan delights: A lovely, free-spirited servant is dazzled by the romantic attentions of a charming earl...sparking a scandalous affair that could ruin them both. You'll hear it first from Lady Whistledown
A strong and charming encore to The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown, this superb Regency-era novella collection is punctuated by gossip columnist Lady Whistledown's witty comments and penned by the same authors who contributed to the previous book. A disastrous dinner party during which a ruby bracelet goes missing-and four couples discover or rediscover their soul mates-sparks the collection. Each tale follows one pair as they tackle the obstacles to love, but the stories are skillfully interwoven to the point where they present the same encounters and relay the same dialogue from different points of view. At times, references to the other couples can feel forced, but the authors are largely successful in piecing their hilarious and sometimes touching stories together into a delightful romantic quilt. Similarities abound: the heroines are unwed virgins, the heroes unwed but not virginal, and all are filled with gratitude that they found each other. Only Hawkins's story, featuring a wedded couple estranged for 12 years, stands strangely apart, as it explores the darker issues of pride, betrayal and forgiveness. Sure to be as popular-if not more so-than the previous Whistledown, this winsome collection is a cut above most romance anthologies. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 30, 2004
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Excerpt from Lady Whistledown Strikes Back by Julia Quinn
This week's most coveted invitation appears to be Lady Neeley's upcoming dinner party, to be held Tuesday evening. The guest list is not long, nor is it remarkably exclusive, but tales have spread of last year's dinner party, or, to be more specific, of the menu, and all London (and most especially those of greater girth) are eager to partake.
This Author was not gifted with an invitation and therefore must suffer at home with a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and this column, but alas, do not feel pity, Dear Reader. Unlike those attending the upcoming gustatory spectacle, This Author does not have to listen to Lady Neeley!
Lady Whisteldown's Society Papers, 27 May 1816
Tillie Howard supposed that the night could get worse, but in all truth, she couldn't imagine how.
She hadn't wanted to attend Lady Neeley's dinner party, but her parents had insisted, and so here she was, trying to ignore the fact that her hostess ' the occasionally-feared, occasionally-mocked Lady Neeley ' had a voice rather like fingernails on slate.
Tillie was also trying to ignore the rumblings of her stomach, which had expected nourishment at least an hour earlier. The invitation had said seven in the evening, and so Tillie and her parents, the Earl and Countess of Canby, had arrived promptly at half past the hour, with the expectation of being led into supper at eight. But here it was, almost nine, with no sign that Lady Neeley intended to forgo talking for eating anytime soon.
But what Tillie was most trying to ignore, what she in fact would have fled the room to avoid, had she been able to figure out a way to do so without causing a scene, was the man standing next to her.
"Jolly fellow, he was," boomed Robert Dunlop, with that joviality that comes from having consumed just a hair more wine than one ought. "Always ready for a spot of fun."
Tillie smiled tightly. He was speaking of her brother Harry, who had died nearly one year earlier, on the battlefield at Waterloo. When she and Mr. Dunlop had been introduced, she'd been excited to meet him. She'd loved Harry desperately and missed him with a fierceness that sometimes took her breath away. And she'd thought that it would be wonderful to hear stories of his last days from one of his comrades in arms.
Except Robert Dunlop was not telling her what she wanted to hear.
"Talked about you all the time," he continued, even though he'd already said as much ten minutes earlier. " 'Cept . . . "
Tillie did nothing but blink, not wanting to encourage further elucidation. This couldn't end well.