As an eleven-year-old, I fell in love with world of the glittering English Regency through the work of the incomparable Georgette Heyer. In the years since my admiration for her has only grown, and along the way I have happily found more than one author who, while never quite matching Heyer’s wit, scholarship and style when it comes to historical romance, has nevertheless followed closely enough in her footsteps that I have greatly enjoyed their various versions of this history-inspired fairy tale world she all-but created.
But I never liked Marion Chesney.
My friend Megan swore by her, in our younger days, and I remember trying so hard to understand what she liked about these books, but they just always rang so false to me. I read several Chesneys at Megan’s urging, but was always so outraged by the constant threat of social suicide that all her characters laboured under, not to mention her incredibly inauthentic and stilted dialogue, that I gave up on her pretty quickly and have not picked up one of her books since I was probably fourteen. But then a few years back, Chesney’s books were re-released under her real name, M. C. Beaton, and the knowledge that the writer of Hamish Macbeth was also the writer of those lacklustre Regency knock-offs was sufficient to get me curious enough to tackle one of them again.
Maybe Teen Me was wrong, I thought. Maybe Adult Me would finally get the appeal.
But, nope. Teen Me was right. (About this, anyway; there is a lot else about which she was distinctly mistaken.) If Lady Fortescue Steps Out is any indication, I still really, really dislike Marion Chesney’s pitiful attempts at Regency writing. I couldn’t even come close to finishing this book and now, hours later, I am still just SO MAD at how bad it is.
The line that led me to close this book for good? “Get you hence!” uttered by a lovely young lady, now reduced to working as a chef in a new hotel called The Poor Relation run by the indigent but well-bred scions of respectable families (yeah, that’s the plot; sigh), who has just been offered a position as a Duke’s mistress after he renews her acquaintance years after once dazzling him at a ball, and has now been cast upon hard times (yeah, he’s our “hero,” people; sigh).
I just… no. No, no, NO.
Sorry, Teen Me. How could I ever have doubted you?
TBR DAY 287: Lady Fortescue Steps Out (Poor Relation #1) by Marion Chesney/M. C. Beaton
GENRE: Regency Romance
TIME ON THE TBR: 1 year.
PURCHASED FROM: eBay.
KEEP: Certainly not.