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Lady Whistledown Strikes Back
     

Lady Whistledown Strikes Back

3.7 40
by Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan, Karen Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch
 

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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

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Society reporter and gossip Lady Whistledown, created by Julia Quinn in her novel The Duke and I, resurfaces in this delightful anthology of Regency romances by four different authors: Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan, Suzanne Enoch, and Karen Hawkins. Each story focuses on a single couple (Tillie Howard and Peter Thompson; Bella Martin and Anthony, Lord Roxbury; Charlotte Birling and Xavier Matson; and the estranged Easterlys) and their diverse paths to love. Charmingly executed, the four stories are set against the background of Lady Neeley's dinner party, where a ruby bracelet is stolen, casting suspicion first on one gentleman, then another. Readers will feast on the disorderly dinner party hijinks and relish the graceful cameo appearances of the various couples in each other's stories. Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587247408
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/02/2004
Series:
Bridgerton Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
600
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.46(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

Lady Whistledown Strikes Back

Chapter One

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.

Mr. Dunlop squinted at her. " 'Cept he always described you as all elbows and knees and with crooked braids."

Tillie gently touched her hand to her expertly coifed chignon. She couldn't help it. "When Harry left for the Continent, I did have crooked braids," she said, deciding that her elbows and knees needed no further discussion.

"He loved you a great deal," Mr. Dunlop said. His voice was surprisingly soft and thoughtful, enough to command Tillie's full attention. Maybe she shouldn't be so quick to judge. Robert Dunlop meant well. He was certainly good at heart, and rather handsome, cutting quite a dashing figure in his military uniform. Harry had always written of him with affection, and even now, Tillie was having trouble thinking of him as anything other than "Robbie." Maybe there was a little more to him. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe ...

"Spoke of you glowingly. Glowingly," Robbie repeated, presumably for extra emphasis.

Tillie just nodded. She missed Harry, even if she was coming to realize that he had informed approximately one thousand men that she was a skinny gawk.

Robbie nodded. "Said you were the best of females, if one could look beneath the freckles."

Tillie started scouting the exits, searching for an escape. Surely she could fake a torn hem, or a horrible chest cough.

Robbie leaned in to look at her freckles.

Or death. Her thespian demise would surely end up as the lead story in tomorrow's Whistledown, but Tillie was just about ready to give it a go. It had to be better than this.

"Told us all he despaired of you ever getting married," Robbie said, nodding in a most friendly manner. "Always reminded us that you had a bang-up dowry."

That was it. Her brother had been using his time on the battlefield to beg men to marry her, using her dowry (as opposed to her looks, or heaven forbid, her heart) as the primary draw.

It was just like Harry to go and die before she could kill him for this.

"I need to go," she blurted out.

Robbie looked around. "Where?"

Anywhere.

"Out," Tillie said, hoping that would be explanation enough.

Robbie's brow knit in a confused manner as he followed her gaze to the door. "Oh," he said. "Well, I suppose ... There you are!"

Tillie turned around to see who had managed to pull Robbie's attention off of her. A tall gentleman wearing the same uniform as Robbie was walking toward them. Except, unlike Robbie, he looked ...

Dangerous.

His hair was dark, honey blond, and his eyes were -- well, she couldn't possibly tell what color they were from three yards away, but it didn't really matter because the rest of him was enough to make any young lady weak in the legs. His shoulders were broad, his posture was perfect, and his face looked as if it ought to be carved in marble.

"Thompson," Robbie said. "Dashed good to see you."

Thompson, Tillie thought, mentally nodding. It must be Peter Thompson, Harry's closest friend. Harry had mentioned him in almost every missive, but clearly he'd never actually described him, or Tillie would have been prepared for this Greek god standing before her. Of course, if Harry had described him, he would have just shrugged and said something like, "Regular-looking fellow, I suppose."

Lady Whistledown Strikes Back. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Karen Hawkins was raised in Tennessee, a member of a huge extended family that included her brother and sister, an adopted sister, numerous foster siblings, and various exchange students. In order to escape the chaos (and while hiding when it was her turn to do the dishes), she would huddle under the comforter on her bed with a flashlight and a book, a habit she still embraces to this day.

A native and current resident of Southern California, Suzanne Enoch loves movies almost as much as she loves books. When she is not busily working on her next novel, Suzanne likes to contemplate interesting phenomena, like how the three guppies in her aquarium became 161 guppies in five months.

When not carpooling, scraping gum off seatbelts, doing laundry and staring insanity in the face, Mia Ryan likes to escape into her writing. You can also read Mia Ryan's "A Dozen Kisses" in The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown, an Avon book published in February 2003.

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Lady Whistledown Strikes Back 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this latest anthology will leave you smiling, laughing, and crying all at the same time. The four heros need to be taught a lesson, and the four heroines are definitely up for the job! This book is better than the last and the time spent reading feels as though it wasn't enough
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt the authors focused too much on tying their stories together and not enough on the romance. That is, after all, what readers like me are looking for:-) It was not nearly spicy enough for me, and I thought the characters were just a bit too cliche. Maybe I read too much romance, making my expectations too high, but there should be some intense moments, and I couldn't find any here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I expected great things from this anthology - but ultimately it was very uneven. Julia Quinn's story was much too sacchrine (the conflict was never much of a conflict), while Mia Ryan's story was just annoying (in my opinion it contained a hero that should have never been forgiven). I still gave the anthology 3 stars for Suzanne Enoch's and Karen Hawkin's stories. Romantic, fun, I loved Suzanne Enoch's very fast tale of opposites attracting and Karen Hawking's story of love winning over propriety (although a little less giggling from the heroine would have been good). All in all, given the current, sad state of historical romance I have to recommend it - just don't expect the usual jewel from Julia Quinn.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was somuch fun to have more Whistledown. Quinn and others did a great job.
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