Lady Fortescue Steps Out: Being the First Vol. of the Poor Relation

Marion Chesney, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-312-08231-4
The impecunious 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 as a member of the aristocracy too proud to seek employment or charity, yet too poor to survive on the infrequent largess of wealthy relatives oblivious to her plight. Salvation arrives in the unlikely form of old Colonel Sandhurst, an equally impoverished retired military man who falls at her feet in a hunger-induced faint one afternoon in Hyde Park. The two decide to join forces: the Colonel will share Lady Fortescue's home, and they will invite others of their station and situation to live with them and pool their resources. Thus is born what eventually becomes one of London's most popular hotels, The Poor Relation, to which the nobility flocks to enjoy the novelty of being waited upon by members of their own class. Chesney, author of 24 previous Regency novels ( Yvonne Goes to York, etc.), gives her many admirers a real treat with this first entry in a projected series. She expertly sets the scene, recapturing the bawdiness and color of a long-ago time, and her characters fairly leap off the pages. The ``poor relations'' undergo adventures both hilarious and tragic; larceny, attempted murder, a satisfactory love affair and unlikely alliances make the hotel the liveliest spot in London. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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