If she ever gets sick of writing romance, Julia Quinn could probably do well for herself writing mysteries or suspense.

Much ado has accompanied the release of ROMANCING MR. BRIDGERTON, not only because it tells the love story of wallflower Penelope Featherington and Colin, the most charming of Quinn's Regency clan, but also because the author of the scandalous Lady Whistledown's Society Papers is revealed.

This mystery takes up much of the novel's plot, with the main characters speculating in the first half, and the wily Whistledown weighing the consequences of coming out to polite society for the remainder of the novel.

Playing out against this backdrop is Colin and Penelope's relationship, which changes from polite indifference to warm friendship and finally to something more. Though pleasant, their romance is a bit thin and their major conflict slightly contrived. However, as always, Quinn's deceptively breezy dialogue and tone makes her Regency set thoroughly enchanting. It's pure fun to step into her world. SENSUAL (Jul., 370 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Ann Sullivan