Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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

I save the books in the Poor Relations series from M.C. Beaton for when I need a delightful, fluffy, palate cleanser of a read and this third in the series, after Lady Fortescue Steps Out and Miss Tonks Turns to Crime, does not disappoint.

Despite the success, on several fronts, of their previous capers, the proprietors of The Poor Relation Hotel in London are once again in need of money for their concern. This time it is the small, pretty, unassuming widow, Mrs. Budley, who draw the short straw and must go to a relative's home and steal something the group can sell. But Mrs. Budley's relatives, to a person, will not welcome her, a woman in trade, into their houses so instead, a plan is hatched where she will travel to Warwickshire and pose as the relative of the wealthy, elderly, and quite potty Marquess of Peterhouse. But it turns out that Sir Philip's gossip on the Marquess is out of date and the senile old man they thought they were sending Mrs. Budley to has died and his heir is a quite handsome, only in his thirties, and in possession of all of his faculties. He knows immediately that Mrs. Budley is not a relative and he convinces her to tell him the truth of her mission. Meanwhile in London, the group of impoverished aristocratic relations have been hired to cater the ball of the season as long as they will also serve at it. Plots and hijinks ensue.

This is both a caper and a love story. It is 100% predictable. And yet, that is exactly its charm and appeal. The characters continue on as they were in the first and second books of the series and the lightness of the tone throughout is pure pleasure to read. The book touches lightly on the continued economic inequity between different classes during the Regency and the lack of (legal) ways to earn money, as well as the snobbery of the time toward anyone who did in fact earn money as opposed to inheriting it, but mostly these social issues are background to the engaging and breezy plot. If you want or need to escape the state of the world right now, you can't do better than with this happy series.

1 comment:

  1. A new author to me - will be checking her out. Cheers


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