Last Cannonball, I read and reviewed the “Poor Relations” series by Beaton, and found that I enjoyed her style. The books are quick and entertaining reads. They all seem to follow a similar formula, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Beaton found what worked for her and stuck with it.
This series, “A House for the Season,” takes place around the same time and in the same-ish neighborhood as the Poor Relations. The main characters are the below-stairs gang at a house in Mayfair that its owner rents out for the London season. Some of the servants have a bit of a past, and are pretty much stuck where there are, even though they are woefullly underpaid (to the point of near-starvation). The house is considered unlucky because the original owner killed himself there, and bad luck has befallen other tenants. The price to rent the house keeps dropping, but people still avoid it. But then the house is let for the Season, and things are looking up.
The house is let to Roderick Sinclair, who has inherited his brother’s beautiful ward, Fiona. Roderick decides that the best way to make some money off the deal is to bring Fiona to London for the Season and marry her off to a wealthy man. Good plan, right? But he’s poor, so he takes the cheapest house he can find. Fiona comes across as a bit of a babe in the woods type, but under the surface she’s quite clever – more clever than most of the people she deals with.
The staff of the house all band together to help Fiona find the right man, much in the way that the Poor Relations did for their charges. The plots of the two series are so similar it’s almost as if Beaton just took the one set of books and changed the names (I’m not sure which one came first), but like I said, that’s Ok. I’ll be working my way through this series – there are not enough fun and simple things in life, so I devour them when I find them.