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Lady Fortescue Steps Out: The Poor Relation, Book 1 | [M. C. Beaton]

Lady Fortescue Steps Out: The Poor Relation, Book 1

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1992 Marion Chesney (P)2012 AudioGO

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  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-20-12
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-20-12 Member Since 2007

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "sweet but overpriced trifle"

    The first four volumes of this light and humorous series were perfect for some fatigued time listening, but Beaton/Chesney could have knitted together one excellent novel from the first three instalments ??? one that could have equalled a Heyer classic. I do like intelligent braincandy, but I prefer my fluff thicker!

    This series is similar in style to the author's Lady Rose mysteries, even though Poor Relation is more Heyerite romance; the series may not appeal to fans of Beaton's Hamish McBeth or Agatha Raisin mysteries. I thought Poor Relation much richer than the Daughters of Mannerling series, which they also resemble with a continuing storyline.

    I think the best in series (of the first four now on Audible) is v 1; you can listen to any independent of the others, however, should you catch a sale because there is enough backstory in each to get the history of the hotel and its proprietors.

    Porter is as usual excellent, and do I detect an extra bit of love in her voice for this series and Lady Rose's exploits?


    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Vancouver, BC, Canada 05-04-12
    Clare Vancouver, BC, Canada 05-04-12 Member Since 2009

    Historical & SciFi Book Lover, especially Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis (& New Who). Also books for the kids.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Charming Regency Fun - Romance & Adventure"

    Set in Regency London it has the trials and tribulations of a group of high and upper class impoverished aristocrats who band together to open a hotel. Some of the characters are oddly appealing, some (Sir Philip) is oddly appalling. There is a romance, but a great deal of time is spent on the other characters, such as the marvellous septuagenarian Lady Fortescue.

    On the surface frothy fun, but serious issues often simmer to the top, such as the fate of unmarried impoverished women, or the scenes at Newgate.

    This is a Marion Chesney Story (I had to google to see who this MC Beaton was). Good clean fun. If you like Georgette Heyer you will enjoy this book which again shows close attention to historical detail (without it intruding in the flow of the novel)

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 10-08-12
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

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    "A sweet story"
    Would you listen to Lady Fortescue Steps Out again? Why?

    Probably not--once was enough.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It had a charm to it--and promoted ideas that people who are traditionally unseen in society (the old, the poor, etc) have truly creative ways to make their lives "work" (for one thing), but even beyond that, to "work" in ways that are outside the box, so to speak, because to survive they must think that way. The characters each had very well-drawn out personalities, and each was certainly a part of the whole--the idea that together they would do okay--but individually, they might not have, meant that the author had to be certain that each person was made real enough that the reader could see how they each contributed something that brought them all a new way of being safe and even having dignity in life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    It was charming, my mother and grandmother would have loved it--especially my grandmother who had always loved Dickens--it has a slight hint of that in its story. I liked it, but felt it lacked a little something that all through it I was unable to give a name to. I might listen to another in the series, but I haven't decided yet. I do believe the characters have room to grow and become even more interesting in the future. What I DO believe--and definitely would pay attention to, however, and oddly perhaps--since this is all about books--is that it would make a delightful TV series (possibly a movie). I found myself being quite visually engaged in my mind--seeing a lot of this more than I often do in books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 06-04-12
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 06-04-12 Member Since 2004

    1emp

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    "Not Five Stars, but Fun"

    If you're looking for a sanitized, glittering romance with billows of lace and languishing glances, this is probably not your cup of oolong. Written under the pseudonym Marian Chesney, this is M.C. Beaton's first Regency novel. But a Regency novel with a distinct difference! Yes, there is the deserving but impoverished young lady and the rich, supercilious lord to carry the love interest, but Georgette Heyer this is not. The real focus is on a group of "poor relations" who pool their meager resources to survive. And Beaton doesn't gloss over the unromantic elements of life in London during the Regency: the smells, the dirt, the disease, and the oddities of the time that 21st-century folks find perversely fascinating, such as dentures made from dead soldiers' teeth. The central characters are not stereotypes, but they are at times anachronistic in their enterprise and lack of conventionality. Which was all OK with me. I will read the rest of the "poor relations" series as I found it highly enjoyable. And Davina Porter, as always, is magnificent.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ~~ DARA ~~ "Beautiful" Niagara Falls 06-07-13
    ~~ DARA ~~ "Beautiful" Niagara Falls 06-07-13 Member Since 2011

    ~~~"HOPEFUL ROMANTIC"~~~ *** Love Audio Books....Especially Historical Romances *** ~~ "Reviews Should Never Contain spoilers ~~

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable Light Read!"

    This is a heartwarming historical romance with some fluffy fun and adventure thrown in. The characters are endearing and the narration brought them to life. I got this one on sale so it was definitely worth the cost. I'm glad I gave it a try.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol CHARLESTON, SC, United States 12-19-12
    Carol CHARLESTON, SC, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very cleverly done"
    What made the experience of listening to Lady Fortescue Steps Out the most enjoyable?

    This is a Regency from an entirely different view. The characters are very well conceived and believable, and the plot is captivating.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sir Phillip is a most interesting rascal, and I delighted in all of his nefarious activities.


    What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

    I am a great fan of Davina Porter's and will listen to just about anything she reads. She does voices exceptionally well, and brings a smooth flow to all her narratives.


    Any additional comments?

    can't wait for future books in this series...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 12-06-12
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Amusing little story"

    I enjoyed this little story well enough. I like M. C. Beaton - well some of Beaton anyway and this first book in the Poor Relation series was gently and genteelly amusing. I can listen to Davina Porter recite a phone book, so my enjoyment may have been in part due to her skill.

    The plot is a bit predictable, but the buildup is handled well and the characters have some depth, although not as much as I would have liked. I haven't decided if I'll continue with this series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    beatrice El Cerrito, CA, United States 10-03-12
    beatrice El Cerrito, CA, United States 10-03-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fine fluff"

    It's like a cross between a sitcom and a costume drama (though I can't say I got a lot of period flavor in this "Regency" story--the historic details felt more like sci-fi, as if these characters were living in a parallel universe). Oh, and some romance novel thrown in, too. This may sound like a terrible combination, but the writing is clever, and Davina Porter's performance is superlative: overall, great fun. My one disappointment is that I had been looking forward to seeing how M.C. resolved some of the situations she'd set up (what happens to the forged necklace? what was the origin of the mysterious fire?) but apparently she was saving the answers for the next volume of the six-volume series.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 08-29-13
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 08-29-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Rated PG but entertaining"
    Any additional comments?

    All historical romances are very predictable if not a drama so this book is the same. However, I liked the story and its development. I would have like more intimacy but that’s just a personal preference and nothing against the book. The plot was not as predictable at all when it comes to the misdeed happening in the story. Usually I can tell who the villain is but I could not here. A listen well worth the credit

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jerelyn St. Paul, MN, United States 02-13-13
    jerelyn St. Paul, MN, United States 02-13-13 Member Since 2011

    Pauli

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    "A Delight."

    Delightful! A simple wholesome romance, I loved the plot line, the genteel poor banding together for a better life. Great characters, witty dialogue and a sweet love story to boot. There was nothing about this I didn’t like. A short novel perfect for a quick regency fix.

    Davina Porter is as usual superb; her flawless character portrayals are a joy to listen to. She is always spot on, she is the best of the best, in my humble opinion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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