In “One True Love”, Suzanne Enoch tells the tale of the Marquis of Halfurst who comes posthaste to London after reading Lady Whistledown’s column wherein she hints at a possible romance between the Marquis’ fiancée of nineteen years and a dashing rake. A candid city-bred and beautiful creature, Lady Anne Bishop is not at all happy at the engagement which her parents contracted for her at her birth and is, in fact, a little horrified when her rustic fiancé appears at long last to stake his claim on her. Suzanne Enoch writes delightfully and this story is the best of all the four stories in this anthology. This is also the only story in which Lady Whistledown plays a pivotal role in the story.
In Karen Hawkins’ “Two Hearts”, a rake and an eccentric are the lead pair. The rake has the shock of his life when he discovers his best friend, the eccentric, is about to lose her heart to another. This leads him to the discovery that she’s the one he’s been looking for all his life, but she’s not as easily convinced. Karen Hawkins’ story is an oft-told tale, and remains merely interesting.
Mia Ryan’s story “A Dozen Kisses” is the shortest of the four tales. In this story, a somewhat abrupt Marquis finds himself falling for the very woman whom he’d cast out of her home. The plot is something which has a lot of promise to it and would have been better off in a book of its own, rather than the small number of pages it occupies in this anthology.
“Thirty-Six Valentines” is the fourth and last story in the anthology, penned by Julia Quinn. After being jilted by an Earl’s brother, a beautiful young miss is startled to find herself the focus of intense attraction by the Earl himself. After reading all her magnificent books, one finds this story a bit of a letdown; it does not measure up to Quinn’s usual high standards.
The fictional character of the notorious London columnist Lady Whistledown, who’s been predominant in numerous Julia Quinn books, is the main link in The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown. The four stories are lightly intertwined. Suzanne Enoch’s heroine knocks down Julia Quinn’s heroine at a skating party; and when Mia Ryan’s hero and heroine have a public argument, they do so at a ball hosted by Karen Hawkins’ characters. In each story, at the beginning of each chapter, is a bit of a column penned by the sarcastic, wry, perceptive and brutally candid Lady Whistledown, who adds her own commentary to the current situation -- hence the title. Overall, this is a good means of passing the time. However, there is nothing memorable about it, with the exception of Enoch’s charming story.