“Combines zany characters with lighthearted romance and a well-developed scenario to produce an engaging Regency.” —Library Journal
The oddly assorted group met some time ago. All of them were poor relations, the genteel paupers of society, living on little more than their dignity. They banded together and started the Poor Relation hotel, hoping to be bought out by their embarrassed relations. Though as the hotel prospered, they began to enjoy the fruits of their labor. But once more they are in need of funds.
To stoop to crime in their days of poverty was one thing, but to turn to it again when they have enjoyed a certain amount of success is quite another. But they all agree: the hotel must go on. And so poor, faded Miss Tonks has been persuaded to steal something valuable enough from her rich sister to set the poor relations on their feet. They all have their doubts about Miss Tonks' chances for success, but the shy spinster has more than a few surprises in store.
Life is not easy for the poor relations of England’s upper crust, but fate and clever schemes bring them together. Lady Fortescue and Colonel Sandhurst hatch a plan: What if they were to transform her decrepit Bond Street home into a posh hotel, offering their guests the pleasure of being waited upon by nobility? With the help of other down-and-out aristocrats, they do just that, and London’s newest hotel, the Poor Relation, is born.
The establishment is an immediate hit with London’s most illustrious citizens, save the Duke of Rowcester, Lady Fortescue’s nephew. Rowcester believes that his aunt’s entry into the trade will denigrate their family name and is determined to shut the hotel down—until he meets Miss Harriett James, the lovely young woman who accepts Lady Fortescue’s offer to become the Poor Relation’s chef after the death of her parents and the loss of her fortune. Rowcester moves into the Poor Relation for the season—ostensibly to keep an eye on his aunt’s business.
Just when everything at the Poor Relation Hotel seems to be running smoothly, Sir Philip brings in another poor relation, Mrs. Budge. When Sir Philip presents his paramour, Lady Fortescue swears great oaths and says the woman is probably related to half the costermongers in London and certainly does not possess one rich relative. Mrs. Budge does nothing but eat all day and refuses to do any work around the hotel. Worst of all, Miss Tonks seems to be taking the romance between Sir Philip and Mrs. Budge quite hard.
In the middle of all this commotion, a certain Lady Carruthers and her daughter Arabella come to stay at the hotel. Lady Carruthers is a widow trying to pass herself off as much younger than she actually is. To this end she dresses poor Arabella, who is all of nineteen, as a young schoolgirl and refuses to bring her out. It is up to the poor relations to deal with the lazy Mrs. Budge, find Arabella a husband, and trounce her terrible mother!
The loveable characters from the Poor Relation Hotel return in this sparkling and adventurous Regency romance from M. C. Beaton.
Eliza Budley is a beautiful widow whose husband gambled away his fortune. So when the poor relations need to acquire some valuables to keep the hotel afloat and Eliza draws the short straw, Lady Fortescue reminds the others that Mrs. Budley has no relatives on whom she can call. Gentle Mrs. Budley thinks she has escaped her fate until Sir Philip comes up with a plan. He has heard that the elderly Marquess of Peterhouse is senile, a widower, extremely rich, and unlikely to remember whether Mrs. Budley is a relative or not. So off Mrs. Budley goes to the bleak castle, where the marquess turns out to be not so old, hardly senile, and, in fact, quite handsome.
Life is finally looking up for the poor relations. The Prince of Wales’ coat of arms gleams over the hotel entrance. All but one of the rooms are filled by the open-handed Prince Hugo and his entourage. The owners have taken on a new partner, Mr. Jason Davy, a popular actor. Even curmudgeonly Sir Philip hasn’t uttered anything loathsome for days. They have finally reached a position comfortable enough to allow them to consider offers to buy the hotel.
The poor relations’ hard-earned success, however, is in stark contrast to the plight of their latest guest, Lady Jane Fremney. The slight, beautiful youngest daughter of the Earl of Durby has been cast out of her family for refusing to marry the man her father has chosen. Lonely and bankrupt, Lady Jane has decided to commit suicide. But when Miss Tonks uncovers her plans, the poor relations go into action again to rescue Lady Jane from suicide, her father, and her intended husband.
Bringing Regency England vibrantly to life, the fifth volume in the Poor Relation series follows the escapades of Colonel Sandhurst as he helps a young woman avoid an unwanted marriage.
Owing to an unfortunate wager made by Sir Philip, the poor relations are once again scrounging around for a plan for solvency. This time it is Colonel Sandhurst to the rescue. After happening on Sir Randolph’s lovely daughter Frederica, who is running away to escape an awful marriage to Lord Bewley, the Colonel devises a plan to force Sir Randolph to settle his bill for six months’ stay and to save Frederica from her fate. The clever plan is thwarted when Lord Bewley shows up at the drop point instead of Sir Randolph. The poor relations must make a deal with Lord Bewley in order to get their money and stay out of jail, an arrangement that turns cases of mistaken identity into cases of romance.