Miss Penelope Featherington has been in love with Colin Bridgerton for almost half her life. Ever since her bonnet blew off in the park and hit him in the face, causing him to be thrown from his horse, yet reacting to the whole incident with a shrug and a laugh. After years of being dressed in ghastly, unsuitable colours and outfits by her ambitious mama, Penelope has survived a number of seasons without a single marriage proposal and is firmly on the shelf. Her best friend, Eloise, Colin’s younger sister shares the same fate, although not for lack of proposals. Penelope is quite glad to no longer be an eager wallflower desperately hoping someone will notice her and dance with her. Now she can chaperone her younger sister Felicity instead. Colin is off travelling the world and barely ever home, and she’s almost convinced herself that she might be over him.
Then he decides to stay put in London for a season, mostly to please his mother. At a ball where more than the usual amount of guests complain that everything is so dreadfully dull, the aged and meddlesome Lady Danbury decides to cause a stir by offering a challenge to London society. She will give a thousand pounds to whomever unmasks the infamous gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who has now been writing for over a decade without her (or his) identity being uncovered. Suddenly everyone is peering suspiciously at one another, and Colin suspects that he may know who is behind the sharp and insightful words of the gossip reporter. Used to Penelope being a constant presence on the sidelines of his life because of her close friendship with his sister, he’s suddenly seeing her in a new light. He notices how clever and observant she is, unnoticed by people in general. Surely she might help him uncover the truth behind Lady Whistledown.
While An Offer from a Gentleman is my favourite Bridgerton novel, Penelope Featherington is hands down my favourite heroine of the whole series (with Hyacinth Bridgerton a close second – more on that when I get to her book). Probably because Penelope is the one who I most closely identify with. More on my blog.