LADY WHISTLEDOWN STRIKES BACK
The delightful gossip columnist is back with a quartet of luscious tales from a star-studded coterie of authors and an added bonus: The novellas are connected by the theft of a fabulous ruby bracelet.
The mystery begins at Lady Neely's dinner party, where Tillie Howard, mourning her brother's death in battle, encounters Peter Thompson, who was at her brother's side. Their mutual grief draws them together and they fall in love in Quinn's beautiful, tender "The First Kiss."
In Ryan's "The Last Temptation," suspicion of theft falls on Lady Neely's companion, Isabella Martin. Being exonerated of robbery is wonderful, but Isabella still feels the sting of turning 30 and having never been kissed. Enter Anthony Doring, Lord Roxbury, a confirmed bachelor who takes an interest in Isabella, with surprising results.
Lady Charlotte Birling dreams of Xavier Matson, sneaks peeks as he rides by her house and glimpses at him at every society event. When he finally notices her and begins to tempt Charlotte with passion and secret kisses, will they convince her protective parents to let them wed and have "The Best of Both Worlds"? Enoch makes us hope so.
Society whispers about Lady Easterly, whose husband abandoned her shortly after scandal destroyed their marriage. Now Sophia wishes to wed and needs an annulment. Max makes a sudden return and begins wooing his wife back. These reunited lovers just might uncover the thief in Hawkins' "The Only One for Me."
The Regency is portrayed to perfection, and these stories glitter with passion, humor, a bit of suspense and everything designed to delight fans of the series. This is a fun collection that's quick to read and long on enjoyment. SENSUAL (May, 400 pp., $6.99)