Poor Relations

I used to say that I liked to read everything but romance, but falling in with the Hound, Foxes and their friends changed that. I narrowed it down to say that I enjoyed everything but Regency, and now I have to change that statement as well.

Looking around YouTube for something lighter-hearted to listen to while I did various chores, I ran across “Lady Fortescue Steps Out” and was captivated by it. Then I ran through all of the “Poor Relations” series very quickly.

 Lady Fortescue is an elderly widow of breeding. She is also so broke that as she sits in Hyde Park in London, she starts contemplating how much she could possibly get if she pawned the ivory and silver handle of her parasol, one of the few pieces of personal property she allowed herself to keep.

 While this thought is running through her remind, an attractive elderly gentleman comes towards her and promptly collapses. She attends to him, and despite his protests that he was ill from advanced age, she nails him with what to her is obvious by his demeanor and his once-fine clothing: the man is hungry and in an even more advanced situation of genteel poverty than she is herself.

When I first read Jane Austen’s books as a teen I wondered and wondered at the ‘incomes’ that made up dowries and the like, how some relatives held so much of the family fortunes while others quite went without. I also wondered about how these people who had so very little almost always managed to have servants, but I found out.

I learned that incomes came from family properties and holdings, that there was a ‘pecking order’ and much of it was at the whim of those higher up that order. Having wealth was not only pleasurable in itself with all it can obtain for a person, but the power it gives over others seems to be even more intoxicating to many.

 I have preached to my children and grandchildren that I think that the worst things in the world come from jealousy, and the way the aristocracy literally lords it over those lower on their totem poles could be quite vicious for that reason alone. But, I digress.

Lady Fortescue takes Colonel Sandhurst home with her for a meal.  She decided that ‘keeping up appearances’ was ludicrous when she could help this man. She was recently humiliated after in desperation she felt driven to attempt theft at a family mansion while making a visit. She had been holding on to her very large, (but now very empty), home on Bond Street. She had sold the paintings and most of the furnishing, though she kept a married couple who had been her servants living with her. She could pay them no wages, however, they had a roof over their heads, they ate, (if meagerly), and there was little work for them to do, so they were content to stay. Lady Fortescue and the Colonel decide to pool their resources. He could live there and pay what little income he had coming to him. They also decided to seek out others in similar circumstances, to the mutual benefit of all.

Believe it or not, these stories are actually terrible funny much of the time. Lady F and The Colonel did not find the type of people whom they expected to add to their home, as they looked for those of their age and social ranking. Most of whom they found were women and quite a bit younger than they, but they are moved by the women’s circumstances.

Lady Fortescue sends the housemates out to visit their rich relatives and steal whatever they can get their hands on, including food. After all, they should not be on the brink of destitution when the family could readily give just a bit more of its vast wealth to them. With all the unused mansion and castle rooms full of forgotten silver pieces, gem-encrusted snuff boxes, inlaid hair combs, gold letter-openers and the like stashed in drawers and cabinets, why should they go hungry, when it should rightfully help them, since those are family treasures? Aren’t  they family?

At least, that is their reasoning.

They do allow in one cantankerous old goat of a knight who is actually a boon to them. It is he that turns the tide and allows them to become honest, even though he is the least honest of them all. The younger women are often courted, not always in the way they wish, but these are truly feel-good stories, which continue through six volumes and it all comes to a satisfying end for all concerned.

There is a bit of frank talk of adult situations, but nothing overt and the married bedroom scenes are tame.

I learned quite a bit from this series as well, which is always a welcomed advantage from any books I read.

This was the last of M.C. Beaton’s books, as in that name and under her real name of Marion Chesney, she was a prolific author.

I am now listening to another of her series, and will look into more.

I think that anyone looking into this blog would enjoy this series. Are you familiar with these, or any of this author’s works?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in book series, Books, characters, cozy mystery, descriptions, Family, historical, lifestyles, Miscellaneous, Mystery stories, novels, plots, reading, romance, romantic suspense, series, Tonette Joyce, using talents, villains and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Poor Relations

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I like this concept a lot. It reminds me of some of the films from the 40s… such as “It Happened on Fifth Avenue.”
    It also reminds me of “Fitzwilly”. That said, I think I would enjoy these stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a wonderful series. I’m gong to look into it. I have been looking for a new series to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I’ve been looking around for something new to read. This sounds good to me.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s