With the help of other down-and-out aristocrats, Lady Fortescue and Colonel Sandhurst transform her decrepit Bond Street home into London's newest hotel, The Poor Relation.
I picked this up (for free!) because it looked like a light-hearted Georgette Heyer-ish Regency romance. And so it is! With just an eensy bit more sensuality than what is usually found in GH’s books, and more grubby historical details. It also felt a bit like a self-aware parody of historical romance books? A quirky mix of tones, to be sure, but it worked.
Lady Fortescue Steps Out is about a group of poor relations (i.e. upper-class people who must mooch off their richer relatives because they have little or no income of their own) who can no longer afford to live on their own, so they move into one house together and eventually turn it into a hotel. Shenanigans ensue, with a romance tying it all together.
Though Lady Fortescue is the title character of this book, the romance is actually between another poor relation and Lady F’s nephew. It’s a standard kind of romance, tbh. The nephew used to be enamored with the poor relation until she disappeared from society for lack of funds, and sparks fly when they rediscover each other.
To be even MORE honest, the nephew and his gf are the least interesting people in the book. Almost every other relation is more fun to read about. That said, they’re kinda cute together. He’s a stuck-up prig who barely unbends enough to woo her, and she’s an almost stereotypical damsel in distress. Almost, because she’s very good at cooking and isn’t afraid to use her skills in the hotel, which is Very Shocking (ladies aren’t supposed to cook, of course). Probably the cutest thing Prig Nephew does is buy Damsel Heroine a new stove for her kitchen; it’s practical and thoughtful and says a lot for how much he grows to respect her since he was completely against her working before.
This was a rather fluffy book that gave me gooey feelings, and I’m definitely reading the other books in the series as I want to see what happens to the rest of the poor relations.
Read: May 29-30, 2015