This rewarding Regency-era anthology is connected by Quinn's popular gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown, who appeared in her previous novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Each short romance features commentary from the society snoop and unfurls over the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, 1814. Characters meet, plots intersect, and cleverly, each author includes the same skating party (shown from the perspective of the four couples). Though all of the authors hold their own in this collection, Enoch's tale of a young woman who resists a childhood betrothal until her long-absent fianc returns to make her reconsider is the strongest. Quinn also delivers a tasty confection about a young lady suddenly wooed by two brothers. Hawkins's romance between an eccentric spinster and an amiable rake is the most traditional of the lot, while Ryan stretches the bounds of the genre with a hero whose odd behavior stems from more than simple eccentricity. All in all, these Regency bonbons are filled with the wit and charm that mark the authors' full-length novels, yet they still contain enough passion to keep wintry readers warm. A wonderful introduction to the contributors' work, this is a perfect Valentine for romance readers. (Feb.) Forecast: With its star-studded lineup and well-timed release, this exceptional anthology will likely be one of the holiday's most sought-after romances. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Once again the witty, provocative comments of Lady Whistledown, Julia Quinn's astute Regency-era gossip columnist (introduced in The Duke and I) grace the pages of a lively romantic romp-but this time there's a difference. Instead of one author, there are four; and instead of one story, there is a quartet of charming novellas, each focusing on a particular couple but linked by common events and all tied together by Lady Whistledown's wry, insightful observations. The abnormally cold winter of 1814 (complete with ice-skating parties on the Thames), assorted soir es and theater evenings, and a much-anticipated Valentine's Day ball provide the backdrops for romances depicted from the perspective not only of the protagonists but of other characters as well. Readers should enjoy the variety. The engaging tales by Quinn ("Thirty-Six Valentines"), Suzanne Enoch ("One True Love"), Karen Hawkins ("Two Hearts"), and Mia Ryan ("A Dozen Kisses") are nicely unified by both Lady Whistledown's comments and the well-integrated story details. A perfect Valentine's Day read. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.