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

May 2004
ISBN: 0-06-057748-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Julia Quinn and the ‘girls’ do it again. Lady Whistledown is back and ready to stir up all of the titillating gossip she can put her ‘pen’ on!

In Julia Quinn’s story, The First Kiss, we join a dinner party at Lady Neeley’s home. Jillie Howard is not having a good time. Not only did she not want to come, although her parents insisted, her stomach was growling loud enough to wake the dead. But the party soon became a little more interesting when Peter Thompson, a close friend of her brother Harry who dies in the war, joins her and saves her from complete boredom. While Peter told Jillian of her brother’s heroics before his death, Lady Neely let’s out a screech strong enough to break glass. Someone has stolen her new ruby bracelet, the one she was just showing off not five minutes before. Now…'Who Done It?'

Mia Ryan’s The Last Temptation takes up where the first story left off. Lady Neeley’s bracelet is still missing. Isabella Martin, Lady Neeley’s faithful companion, can’t take the screeching anymore and the pecking from Lady Neeley’s crazy parrot is driving her insane. After ten years of being that woman’s constant companion and the organizer of all of her parties, (which are always a huge success, thank-you-very-much) you would think she would get a thank you or something. After attending Lady Neeley’s dinner party, Anthony Doring, Lord Roxbury learns that Isabella is the one who is truly behind the fantastic parties. Tony’s father takes it upon himself to hire Bella to throw a party for Tony, in the hope that Tony will finally find a wife. But Tony has doubts about Bella’s innocence in the case of Lady Neeley’s cursed missing bracelet. Hmmm…things could get interesting!

Next up is Suzanne Enoch’s contribution to Lady Whistledown, The Best of Both World’s. Charlotte Birling is in a bit of a pickle. You see, she is in love with Xavier, Lord Maston. The real problem is that he doesn’t know that she even exists, but she knows all about him. Tall, dark and handsome and Lady Whistledown is always writing about him for some scintillating reason or another and don’t they say that rakes make the best husbands? But how to make herself known to him? With an old family scandal hanging over her head, a scandal not of her doing, I might add, Charlotte has her work cut out for her.

To round out Lady Whistledown, Karen Hawkins gives us,The Only One For Me. Twelve long years ago, Maxwell Hampton, Viscount Easterly left his new bride and went into hiding. It was rumored that he cheated at cards or some such thing and left in disgrace. Lady Sophia Throckmorton Hampton, Max’s bride, is left to pick up the pieces and live through the scandal (by the way, Sophia is Charlotte’s cousin, the one with the scandal…shhhhhh!) When Sophia writes to Max that she wants a divorce, of course, he come’s back to town, right in the middle of Lady Neeley’s dinner party. The same dinner party in which her ruby bracelet is ‘stolen’. Guess who is the prime suspect? Lady Whistledown knows, as well as everyone else Lady Neeley can get to listen. Max is newly home from twelve years in exile, who better to blame than a man with scandal attached to his name.

What a wonderful, fun and fast paced book. These women are brilliant and Lady Whistledown is her effervescent self, as always. Each story is beautifully written with full characters and flowing plot lines. Each story fades into the next without missing a beat. Everything centers on Lady Whistledown’s daily musings. With each article, a new tidbit is presented, just enough to wet the ton’s appetite to the mystery of the missing bracelet. Just wait till you find out who really took it…it’s a hoot!

This is another #1 Bestseller waiting to happen. You can’t go wrong with Lady Whistledown. May her pen always overflow with ink!

Reviewed in April 2004 by Debbie.