CBR13 BINGO: Old Series (Lady Whistledown Series 2003) BINGO! (The Wilds to Free row)
When I finished the Bridgerton books, I snatched up all of the Bridgerton adjacent novels. I figured I would bust them out once the weather got cooler (it will get cooler, right?) and I could curl up with a cup of tea and while away an autumn afternoon with Regency shenanigans. I guess taking advantage of a momentary reprieve of almost 90 degree weather before ramping right back up into the high 80’s AGAIN kinda works?
In my haste to get my hands on these books, I did not read the fine print. This is actually 4 novellas laced to together by Lady Whitledown’s observations during an unusual winter season in London. Apparently the Thames freezing over is a cause to come back from the country and throw a few balls. Why not. Anyhoo, Julia Quinn wrote one of the novellas (and the Lady Whistledown exerpts) while the remaining three were written by other romance authors.
All of the stories revolve around a night at the theater, a skating party full of mishaps, and a Valentine’s Day ball. A core of the same characters waltz and skate around in the stories with a handful of those appearing as the main love connection in each novella. You’ve got your Darcy-like Dukes and Earls and your rakes sideswiped by LOVE. Unhappily betrothed ladies and awkward debutants that just need someone to really SEE them. Etc. Etc.
Honestly, it was a mixed bag. I was here for all of the Lady Whistledown, but unfortunately, her name was a little bit click-baity here. While her observations tie each of the novellas together, she and her Bridgerton cohorts are nowhere to be found. The rest of the “ton” isn’t quite as interesting. Fortunately, the first novella was the dud and it picked up from there with each successive story. The forward momentum kept me going and the second two novellas (one penned by Quinn) were enjoyable. Each was sort of a speed dating version of a Bridgerton novel. A lot of immediately falling in love and leaping into compromising behavior. Nobody was dueling over a virtue killing kiss here. These eager beavers went straight to the bodice ripping.