To escape poverty, elderly widow Lady Fortescue hatches a plot to steal jewels—and use the funds to fix up a fashionable hotel. She soon accumulates a cast of eccentric, warm-hearted friends to help her run it—and share in her adventures. The staff of the Poor Relations hotel falls into larceny, attempted murder, hilarity—and romance.
The impecunious Lady Fortescue, widowed and alone save for two loyal, unpaid servants, has sold off almost all of the furnishings in her large Bond Street home and faces a grim future as a member of the aristocracy too proud to seek employment or charity, yet too poor to survive on the infrequent largess of wealthy relatives oblivious to her plight. Salvation arrives in the unlikely form of old Colonel Sandhurst, an equally impoverished retired military man who falls at her feet in a hunger-induced faint one afternoon in Hyde Park. The two decide to join forces: the Colonel will share Lady Fortescue's home, and they will invite others of their station and situation to live with them and pool their resources. Thus is born what eventually becomes one of London's most popular hotels, The Poor Relation, to which the nobility flocks to enjoy the novelty of being waited upon by members of their own class.
M. C. Beaton
M. C. Beaton is the pen name of bestselling novelist Marion Chesney. She is a prolific writer of historical romances and small village mysteries. Born in Scotland, the author began her writing career as a fiction buyer for a Glasgow bookstore and has worked as a theater critic, newspaper reporter, and editor.
The author has written under various names, most notably as M. C. Beaton for her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series. She also has written under the names Sarah Chester, Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Marion Gibbons, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward.
The author lived in the United States, but now splits her time between the Cotswolds, England and Paris, France.