As others have noted, this book is a fluff piece -- short, easily digestible, fine for lolling on the couch at the end of a hard week. Davina Porter is delightful to listen to as always, and the writing draws you right in.
The story opens with a scene not atypical of the Regency era: a woman of good birth but small means, trying to keep her townhouse going with herself and just two servants without having to sell and retrench.
It's when she watches an elderly man faint in the park, and draws it out of him that he's faint from hunger, that we wander astray of Georgian conventions. She invites him to live in her house. True, they set about inviting every other poor relation that they can find in Hyde Park to live with them, too, and it's the collection of characters and the grand decision that they make to support themselves that drives the story, but that very act of inviting complete strangers of mixed genders to live with her tells us that Lady Fortescue is a character of modern sensibilities dressed in Regency costume.
This is the prime weakness of every book in the series: anachronisms abound. The events are anchored somewhere in the Regency, but customs and costumes are plucked from the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras with great liberality.
But do try to forgive all that and accept that this is a candy-like fluff piece of pseudo-Regency fantasy, farcical as a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, because the characters are what make this series. Though a little puppet-like at times, especially when first introduced, the characters do flesh out into people that draw the reader's sympathy. Even when engaged in grand larceny, they delight us enough that we want them to succeed.
Each book in the series highlights one of the Poor Relations, for whom the series is named. Each has a romance (though not necessarily involving the poor relation), and each has a main plot aside from, but intertwined with, the romance. The outcomes are predictable, the good guys win, boy gets girl, but we get the fun of watching the characters overcome obstacles, often in creative ways, while knowing that their efforts will be rewarded in the end.
Good friend, cynical but thoughtful. Astute observer of the socio-political scene.
And I have listened to over 200! And I like MC Beaton! This book was dull and, to me, incomprehensible. I can't tell you what it was about because I simply could not follow the story. I tried to slog through to the end but honestly, life is too short. Awful, confused, unfocused, un-compelling and boring. Well narrated, though.
Custom jewelry designer who listens to books while she works.
This was a mediocre story, it felt like it might go somewhere but nothing particularly exciting happened, overall unsatisfying.
Try this is you are a Regency fan - much fun - the later books are much the same (as with many series) but if you are good with predictable, listen on!
The story had so much promise, but it just became silly. A few of the characters were unlikeable
Yes. She is terrific.
A good narrator cannot save a unbelievable,silly story.
Fan of mystery & romance -- particularly of historical persuasion!"
Cute series of books. Almost everything narrated by Davina Porter is a winner in my mind, and this is no exception!
This was a very pleasant surprise. A lovely new turn for M.C Beaton. It has become one of my new favorites and I will definitely listen to it again.
This is a comedy of manners, reminiscent of Oscar Wilde. Lots of humor through tears, lots of nice historical details.
The first meeting of Lady Fortescue and Colonel.
It is light, enjoyable reading at its best.
It has a terrific story, humorous, sprinkled with tidbits of history and customs of the times which I loved! I have avoided "Regency Romances" with their lurid book covers and rote story lines and I was very hesitant to buy this book - but the story premise was different, intriguing. Here is a story of the genteel poverty stricken protagonists, several of senior years. Hmmmm, how will that be played out? Now, there are young protagonists, too! And there is some genteel romance!. This is not a bodice ripper and if you want graphic sex then this is not for you. Rather, this is an exceedingly well crafted story with an original plot, engaging characters, a expose of mores and customs of the later 1700's and is a MUST read in my opinion.
I have a real crazy in love relationship with books!!!
I thought this was a cute little story. I think I got it on a sale which is great, but I would not have used a credit or spent cash for full price.
The premise of poor royals getting together to build a business was great. I enjoyed the characters, the narration and the story itself, but I did not find this phenomenal. It helped to pass the time.
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
The series is a fun read. This is book 1 and in this book Lady Fortescue, widowed and alone save for two loyal, unpaid servants, has sold off almost all of the furnishings in her large Bond Street home and faces a grim future. To the rescue comes Colonel Sandhurst - and many other impoverished aristocrats. The characters are likeable and well developed.
The book shines the light on real problems during those days, many historic facts and some funny happenings.
In book 1 my favorite character was Colonel Sandhurst as he compliments the more opinionated Lady Fortescue.
Ms. Porter just knows how to read, act, and draw you in - she is superb.
I would highly recommend this series IF books are on sale - a credit better reserved for something a bit more deep and longer in audio hours. But overall I would recommend the book(s).