Quick Review: Mrs Budley Falls from Grace by M.C. Beaton

Mrs Budley falls From Grace is the third book in The Poor Relation series by M.C. Beaton.

Summary (from Goodreads)

Another Poor Relation has to resort to genteel thievery to make end meet – but she gets much more than she bargains for!

Cut off by her own relations, pretty, dainty widow Eliza Budley must visit some other family manor to purloin expensive baubles. Happily, the rich Marquess of Peterhouse is in his dotage and wouldn’t know a relative from a bedpost, so Eliza is sent to play the imposter.

But things do not go as planned and Eliza is met by the new Marquess – wickedly handsome, and with all his wits about him. And somehow Eliza finds herself confessing her bluff to him and he in turn is much taken with her daring and charm – but can he fall in love with such a scheming widow from the world of trade? Time for the other Poor Relations to get involved and help these confused lovers!

Review

A wonderful light-hearted read. I always find that if I’m in a bit of a reading slump, I can rely on M.C. Beaton to cheer me up!

Entertaining and engaging, Mrs Budley Falls from Grace, like the other books I have read so far in the series, is an easy, quick read. It doesn’t require much brain power to follow along, and you know how the stories are going to end.

What I like about this series is that the romance isn’t too much. It isn’t the focus of the story, but there is enough there for it to be called a romance. I also like how the Regency period is brought to life – it’s not all balls and celebrating the season in town whilst in search of a husband. For those poor relations – as well as just the poor of society – it would have been a hard life. However, there is still enough of the charm we have come to expect of the Regency for stories to still have a happy ever after, no matter how unlikely.

All-in-all, this was a fun, undemanding read. The next book in the series is Sir Phillip’s Folly, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it!

Rating

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Book Review: Miss Tonks Turns to Crime by M. C. Beaton

Miss Tonks Turns to Crime is the second book in The Poor Relation series by M. C. Beaton.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

A delightful, quick and easy read, that kept me entertained from beginning to end. 3.5 / 5

Summary (from back of book)

One cannot live off dignity alone!

The poor relations banded together some time ago to run The Poor Relation Hotel in the hope their embarrassed relatives would buy them out, but as the hotel prospered, so they began to enjoy the fruit of their labour.

But once again they need money to go on and so poor, faded Miss Tonks is dispatched to her rich sister to steal something valuable.  All the other poor relations have their doubts about Miss Tonks’s chances for success, but the shy spinster has more than a few surprises up her sleeve!

Favourite Quote

“Lord Eston eyed him narrowly.  Aubrey Davenport was dressed like a fop, had the manners of a fop, and appeared to have the intelligence of a potato. Still…”

(Miss Tonks Turns to Crime by M. C. Beaton, page 148)

Review

I seem to be on a bit of an M. C. Beaton binge at present.  Not only am I making my way through The Poor Relation series, but a number of Agatha Raisin’s and Hamish Macbeth’s have been read, or will be read in the near the future.  You’ve been warned 😉

As I mentioned in my review for the first book in this series, Lady Fortescue Steps Out (you can find that review here), these books are “enjoyable, quick, fun-filled regency” reads.  The storylines are undemanding and yet highly entertaining, so are perfect for reading at the end of a long day…

The characters are fabulous, especially the almost evil Sir Phillip Sommerville, who with a sharp wit and even sharper tongue, does on occasion reveal an inner warmth and compassion.  The characters are of course, quirky, but that’s what makes the story work.  Miss Tonks served as a wonderful focal point of this instalment; her desire and determination to show her friends at The Poor Relation that she really can succeed as a criminal mastermind were amusing and led to some…interesting choices on her part.

The setting felt authentic as I read, which is always a good sign when reading historical fiction, even when it’s light and almost farcical.  The romance doesn’t takeover the storytelling; like other aspects of the book, it is not overdone or distracting from the main plot which is the survival of the hotel.  The writing is humorous, the pace is fast, and overall I found the story to be enjoyable and engaging.

Once more, I’m left eager to read the next book in the series, Mrs Budley Falls From Grace, to see how things progress.

Rating

3.5 / 5

Book Review: Lady Fortescue Steps Out by M. C. Beaton

Lady Fortescue Steps Out is the first book in The Poor Relation series by M.C. Beaton.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Addictive, light-hearted reading with a humorous cast and funny storyline.  A charming first book in a series.  Will be reading more!  3.5 / 5

Summary (from back of book)

What do you do if you are of noble stock but impoverished, living in London and with a certain style to maintain?

One has to work…but one’s relatives will be appalled when one turns one’s hand to trade.  This is precisely what Lady Fortescue decides upon and, together with friend Colonel Sandhurst, transforms her decrepit Bond Street home into The Poor Relation: a posh hotel offering employment to other down-and-out aristocrats, and to guests the pleasure of being waited upon by the nobility.

Thus London’s newest – and most fashionable! – hotel is born…much to the dismay of the Duke of Rowcester, Lady Fortescue’s nephew, who is convinced his aunt’s foray into trade will denigrate the illustrious family name!

Favourite Quote

“Do you mean that we should stoop to being in trade, that we should become hotel servants?” demanded Lady Fortescue.

(Lady Fortescue Steps Out by M. C. Beaton, page 30)

Review

Lady Fortescue Steps Out is an enjoyable, quick, fun-filled regency read that sets out to answer what is a genteel lady – or gentleman – to do when their wealth starts to dry up?  Not go into trade, that’s for certain…or is it?

I really enjoyed how the characters came together; the cast is fun and the setting exquisite.  Regency London and period country estates are brought to life with ease. The pacing of the story was quick and the tone and writing style, entertaining and engaging.

The storyline is a tad predictable in places – irate family members from the (very) more wealthy branches of the family tree, a hopeless romance across the social divide – but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.  After all, the main premise of the story is so unusual for regency era fiction.

Although there is humour and light-heartedness to be found in the story, the author also cleverly weaves some of the more darker aspects of life in the period into the narrative.  The status – or lack of if it – of women.  Living standards for the poor – and for poor relations. However, this is done in such a way as to not become too heavy or overwhelming.  The historical detail was handled the same way; no longwinded passages overloaded with information, but rather, snippets nicely intertwined through the story.  In such a way we get to learn about regency levels of hygiene and false teeth, amongst other things.

A delightful tale in what I hope is delightful series.  It was an easy, effortless read and I am eager to read book two, Miss Tonks Turns To Crime, to see how things progress.

Rating

3.5 / 5

 

Short Story Review: A Dangerous Nativity by Caroline Warfield

When the Duke of Murnane dies, the responsibility of running the estate falls on his widow’s brother, William, Earl of Chadbourn.  But when he arrives, he finds a rich, vast estate in a state of disrepair.  As he goes about the business of taking stock, he stumbles across a small holding and cottage on the edge of the estate and is instantly taken with the young woman he finds there.  She is strong, intelligent and knows about farming.  But what is her story?  And why does the family have nothing to do with the big house?

I thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas short story set during the Regency.  The love tale itself is charming, the idea of the boys nativity play hilarious, and the cast on the whole, easy to warm to.  I would certainly enjoy reading more of these characters in the future.to see what becomes of them all, and I would happily re-read this story again…

I downloaded A Dangerous Nativity for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: The Wild One by Danelle Harmon

The Wild One is the first book in The de Monteforte Brothers series written by Danelle Harmon, a set of historical romances set during the Regency.

Juliet Paige has travelled from Boston to England to meet the family of Charles, the man to whom she was engaged, and the father of their daughter.  However, he died before they could marry, and now, all alone in the world, that is apart from her young daughter, Juliet decides to cross the ocean and put her faith and trust in the family of the man she so desperately loved.  However, Charles was a de Monteforte, second in line to the dukedom of Blackheath and Juliet was the daughter of a colonial shopkeeper.  She is certainly unsure of the welcome she’ll receive.

Lord Gareth, now second in line to the dukedom of Blackheath after his older brother Charles died in the colonies, continues to do what he does best…drink and joke around as the leader of the Den of Debauchery.  However, that all changes the night that he stops a stagecoach from being robbed, a stagecoach on which Juliet Paige and her daughter are travelling, taking a bullet in the process and becoming a hero overnight.

Through the calculating manipulations of Lucien, the Duke of Blackheath, not to mention the fact that Juliet and Gareth have fallen in love with each other but have yet to acknowledge it, the pair’s fate becomes entwined.

How will they survive?  Will Juliet be rewarded for her courage for travelling such a vast distance alone?  Will Gareth prove himself the responsible and reliable man Juliet needs him to be?

The author brings Georgian England to life with ease; her characters are believable and the storyline engaging from the very first page.  The Wild One is full of action and romance, and I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy Regency romance stories.