As an assortment of characters debut, the Bridgertons and Featheringtons are thin on the ground in here. Kate and her dog Newton are mentioned in passing, while Benedict, Colin, Penelope, and Mrs. Featherington are on the guest list at Lady Neeley's infamous dinner party, where the trouble begins with the disappearance of the lady's ruby bracelet in the first story (a mystery solved at the end of the book).
The stories in this volume overlap a little (sometimes including the same event told from different viewpoints), but on the whole the order of the stories in the book is chronological. In the aftermath of Waterloo, various male characters are ex-military, and none of them have a high opinion of "Prinny's" (later George IV's) "re-enactment" of Waterloo on the first anniversary, complete with orchestra and fireworks in a public park.
Each story contains (usually concluding with) explicit sexual content. All the male romantic leads are good-looking and experienced, the ladies inexperienced (their appearances, dowries, and prospects varying). Tillie, for instance, is expected to make a match with a duke (this occurs before the novel SPLENDID), while Miss Martin and Sophia aren't even on the market for differing reasons.
Quinn wrote all the Lady W columns herein, one per chapter (and each story is a multi-chapter effort).
Quinn, Julia: "The First Kiss" Tilly deeply misses her brother Harry, killed in action not long ago. For one thing, now she can't kill him for having told approximately a thousand men that he despaired of his gawky little sister ever getting married, and spending most of his time on the battlefield talking about her dowry. This wasn't what she had in mind when she wanted to know how Harry's final months were spent. :)
Among other things, Harry neglected to mention that his best friend Peter - now doing his own spouse-hunting, though as fortune hunter rather than quarry - is *very* good-looking indeed. Peter, of course, has a bit of "thou shalt not lust after thy friend's sister" on the brain (though not to the degree of THE DUKE AND I) and can't bring himself to reveal the more horrible aspects of the war to someone he once promised to look after in Harry's stead.
Ryan, Mia: "The Last Temptation" plays with how the shared characters differ when seen from different viewpoints. Lady Neeley in the previous story was an annoyance, accusing Mr. Thompson of stealing her bracelet, but as Lady Whistledown pointed out, not without merit in that she defended her staff, who reciprocate her loyalty. In particular, her impoverished companion Isabella Martin seems to be the prime suspect. Miss Martin, though, is more concerned with her 30th birthday, two weeks away, and the conviction that her life will never change substantially once she's passed that milestone. She's cheerful as a matter of conviction, though, even when her friend the chef reminds her of the birthday she'd deliberately forgotten while he's trying to salvage the previous evening's uneaten supper.
Twist: Lord Waverly, a widower with a grown son, is supposedly fully as terrifying as any match-making mother in his determination to see some grandchildren (though we don't get to see much of it). He's getting to the point of wanting his son to just marry ANYBODY. This causes some interesting clashes between father and son over guest lists (all debutantes versus all married women and men) when Miss Martin is loaned out to help them plan a party.
Enoch, Suzanne: "The Best of Both Worlds" deals with the repercussions of Lady W focusing on the bracelet theft, as Xavier Lord Matson has to do his own research on the season's debutantes while Whistledown's attention is elsewhere. The only one who catches his attention is Charlotte Birling, whose overprotective parents' concern for her reputation has resulted in most worthwhile bachelors dismissing Charlotte as too much trouble to pursue. Unfortunately, they don't have a clue, and have arranged a match for her with dull Herbert Beetly, and refuse to believe that Xavier's attentions are honourable. (This being a Regency romance, of course, events might suggest that they were more right than wrong.) Some similarities to Ryan's "A Dozen Kisses" (which I prefer) in THE FURTHER OBSERVATIONS OF LADY WHISTLEDOWN.
Hawkins, Karen: "The Only One for Me" requires a reader who (unlike me) can enjoy a supposedly-fabulous-but-easily-derailed-relationship plot. When Lord Easterly was accused of cheating at cards, in the resulting scandal his wife immediately believed him guilty for no good reason. Easterly left the country, and her. Neither she, nor he, nor even her supposedly sensible eldest brother ever seriously tried to patch things up over the last twelve years, not even after someone else's deathbed confession. She's now talking about an annulment (never mind whether that could've been legal), which has finally brought Easterly back to England. They were invited separately to Lady Neeley's party, he's now prime suspect in the bracelet theft, which is finally cleared up.