Misfits united

By Marion Chesney Lady Fortescue Steps Out (Thorndike Press Large Print Paperback Series) [Paperback] - Marion Chesney

A bunch of misfits banded together to create a better life for themselves. That is not an unknown concept in fiction – unless we talk about regency romance. Then it’s the first time in the history of the genre, or at least the first I’ve read.

Being a poor relation of British aristocracy is not for the faint of heart. It takes a strong character to survive the bleak ordeal of hidden poverty. It often takes nimble fingers and a complete evisceration of one’s pride and integrity, if one is determined to eat better for at least a few evenings a month. The alternative is to start working for your living, but the nobility in general abhorred such a solution. Still, that is what our heroes did to climb out of their pits of poverty.

I loved this humorous and poignant story. As a romance, it was clean and didn’t follow the standard formula. Its protagonists were not standard either.

A seventy-year-old martinet of a lady and an impoverished old officer, an aged rogue with a penchant for thievery and a timid, colorless spinster, a fluffy-headed but pretty and kind widow and a young ravishing beauty – they are all poor relations, eking their miserable existence on the fringes of the pitiless high society. It takes guts for them all to admit their plight to each other. And then to try to improve their station in life by going into trade.

There is a lot of bitter-sweet humor in the story. The writing is solid, and the only flaw I could determine in this short book was too many POVs.

With so many characters to watch for, the main plotline is undetermined, sort of diluted. Was it a romance? I don’t know. Was it a story of the clever poor tricking the fickle society? Perhaps. The protagonists were also unclear, as too little page space was dedicated to any of them. It seems a group story rather than a personal story.

Despite this one serious flaw, I enjoyed reading this book and I smiled all the time I read it. I will definitely read the next in this series of poor relations.