Lady Fortescue Steps Out
The Poor Relation, Book 1
Written by: M. C. Beaton (writing as Marion Chesney)
Narrated by: Davina Porter
Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
Format: Digital Download
Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Release Date:05-01-12 (original hardcover publication 1993)
Life is not easy for the poor relations of England’s upper crust, but fate and clever schemes bring them together. Lady Fortescue and Colonel Sandhurst hatch a plan: What if they were to transform her decrepit Bond Street home into a posh hotel, offering their guests the pleasure of being waited upon by nobility? With the help of other down-and-out aristocrats, they do just that, and London’s newest hotel, The Poor Relation, is born.
The establishment is an immediate hit with London’s most illustrious citizens, save the Duke of Rowcester, Lady Fortescue’s nephew. Rowcester believes that his aunt’s entry into the trade will denigrate their family name and is determined to shut the hotel down – until he meets Miss Harriett James, the lovely young woman who accepts Lady Fortescue’s offer to become The Poor Relation’s chef after the death of her parents and the loss of her fortune. Rowcester moves into The Poor Relation for the season – ostensibly to keep an eye on his aunt’s business. https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Lady-Fortescue-Steps-Out-Audiobook/B007X4JRCS
This well executed series starter is well plotted with great characters, humor and mostly, if not squeaky, clean romance. There is one scene of lovemaking between a married couple. Beaton/Chesney writes in a Regency style somewhere between a writer like AUsten and today’s Romance novelists.
Furthermore, it looks at the side of the British Ton we don’t usually see in real circumstances. When a Ton family loses money, it is not only the family which suffers, but all their retainers as well. This story is by a group who realize there’s value in forming what would be considered a commune today.
That they think up some great and amusing ways to survive is also fun and presents the seamier side of the nobility.
Add the narration by my all time favorite narractor, Davina Porter, a 2 for 1 sale in which this was included and I simply couldn’t resist. I had already listened to the second in the series which was available at my library and knew I wanted more.
My only complaint is that the volumes are too short to buy singly. I wish they were combined into a “box set,” but that is unusual in audiobooks.