Sweet Delight Review: Lady Fortescue Steps Out by M.C. Beaton

Sweet Delight Review: Lady Fortescue Steps Out by M.C. Beaton
Lady Fortescue Steps Out
Narrated by Davina Porter

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Poor Relations
Genres: Historical Romance
Released on 05/01/12
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

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Elderly widow Lady Fortescue must escape genteel poverty. If each of five geriatrics relieve a rich relative of a costly trifle, they can turn her house into a hotel for the ton. Her nephew, Duke of Rowcester, is horrified, until he meets hotel chef Miss Harriet James, green-eyed beauty who remembers their waltz - before she lost parents and inherited debts.


The Delight

I have wanted to read a book by MC Beaton (aka Marion Chesney, etc) for some time and finally, due to an Audible Deal of the Day, snatched up my first one.  Rather than one of her mysteries, I picked up one of her light Regency Romantic Comedies and it was a gem of a story that left me not only eager for the rest of the series, but for more of her books.


Lady Fortescue Steps Out is the first book in the Poor Relations series.  The series title says it all as this is the story of a group of people, starting with Lady Fortescue, who come together out of necessity.  They are the poor relations of various high society families and they are sadly left to shift for themselves while their family and friends carry on.  They struggle to maintain their gentility and rank with no income to support it.

At first, the story focused on the the overall series set up with the introduction of each ‘Poor Relation’ to the story, but then it became a dual focus of a reunion romance and how the Poor Relations open a hotel to help ends meet.

It is gently paced and the characters and setting well described so that I saw it all so well in my mind and enjoyed the company of this group.  Sir Phillip persuades the others into the hotel venture and helps finances it by cunning and a relaxing of morals on his part though they all go right along with it.  It was a unique set up in a Regency story and I was captivated by the hijinks going on.  I enjoyed the humor throughout and the mild adventures of the Poor Relations group.  The story was left open-ended for further adventures that will likely focus on each member of the group.

There is a romance that is surrounded by the greater story involving one of the Poor Relations and Lady Fortescue’s ducal relation.  Its a reunion romance of sorts since the pair met and danced once with neither forgetting the occasion.  It becomes a class difference romance because Harriet is now in trade and her suitor is a duke, no less.  Others connive to part them or put them together in a series of circumstances.  I enjoyed the pair and thought their romance was handled well.

The audio narration was handled by the incomparable Davina Porter.  She did well with the large cast of characters and voices.  I’ve enjoyed her narration in other historical settings and she has a voice suited to these stories so well.

All in all, it was a splendid outing for my first book with the author.  Happily my local library is well stocked.  I would recommend this one to those who enjoy light and fun historical romance set in a wider story of a circle of friends.


Romance Roundabout #150 HR
Oldie But a Goodie #7
Mt. TBR #93




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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. I do enjoy historical romances, and nice to hear Davina Porter does a great job with narration. Audio books are much easier for me to squeeze into my schedule so I’ll check with my library for a copy. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

    1. Yes, I’ve enjoyed having audio books as an option when I get too busy to sit down with a book. My library has them so crossing my fingers that yours does too, Rachel. 🙂

  2. Been meaning to try an MC Beaton mystery too! But, this one sounds entertaining. I have enjoyed listening to Davina in past audio books so I can tell the audio version for this story would be a good one.

    1. I keep hearing such good reports of Agatha Raisin and Hamish McBeith so I will get to them eventually. But I was glad to snag this one first since Davina Porter was narrating. Hope you get the chance too, Velvet. 🙂

  3. I should pay more attention to narrators now that I’ve started listening to audio books. I’m currently listening to Truthwitch, haven’t checked who the narrator is, but I’m not liking her that much. Hopefully that changes because the story is really interesting.

    This sounds like a great palate cleanser, it’s short and easy, not too intense. Btw, thanks for that Maia Chance rec, love the series!

    1. Its the worst when a narrator isn’t quite the right one for the story. I’ve had that happen a few times and made a decent story a hard one to get through. As you say, hopefully its just a matter of adjustment.

      Yes, this would make a great palate cleanser. I listened it after a serious tear jerker and a complex sci-fi world one so it was just right for a nice break.

      Oh yes, I was glad to see you liked it. This reminds me… I need to check my library for book two. 🙂