Chick lit, Historical fiction, Romance

A House for the Season by Marion Chesney writing as M.C Beaton

This series has taken a long time to complete. I listened to every one of these books via Kindle Audible and enjoyed most of them thoroughly.

There are six books in all and since there is significant overlap in the storyline I deemed it appropriate to combine all the reviews in one go. It will make it easier to pursue the series ( I feel ) if you are into the genre at all.

The main focus of the tale are the struggling servants on 67 Clarges Street, a highly popular street in the old-time London. This particular house has multiple reasons to be listed as unlucky , some of which are explained over the course of the series. This even includes a mystery or two.

Miser of Mayfair (A House for the Season #1):

This is the beginning and the body of servants are still not what they will become as the story goes on. The mysterious leading lady in this book named Fiona is an odd creature and you can spend the whole book wondering who is being conned, you or the others in the book. The story is of her pursuit to a better life, in a world where comfort ranks above anything else. Though the ending seemed to close the story of the staff of No. 67 it suddenly takes a plunge back to the starting line ( The better to make a series with)

Plain Jane (A House for the Season #2)

This book introduces a far more lovable character who introduces a change in the lives of the people below stairs as they do in hers. Jane has spent her life playing second fiddle and things change for her when her mother makes the decision to move to London for the season.She also stumbles on to a mystery no one bothered solving about one of the deaths in the house. That definitely spices up the tale.

The Wicked Godmother (A House for the Season #3)

The third set of tenants to the house at 67 Clarges Street brings with them their own drama. This book was funnier than the last two with more misconstrued conversations. Young Harriet is now a Godmother to a pair of sly twins who have convinced themselves of their hatred towards her being justified.Harriet being blind to faults in people she holds dear starts a series of events in which her staff comes to her aid, sometimes acting ‘above their station’.

Rake’s Progress (A House for the Season #4)

This book finally has a male character who is the main tenant of the house for the season. His actions may raise qualms in the (now) family of servants. They feel the best thing their new master requires is a woman who has the power to reform him. Rainbird (the butler/father figure) stumbles on one such lady who is in desperate need for help with handling her servants. There is also political intrigue in the background that causes quite a ruckus into an already addled situation.

The Adventuress (A House for the Season #5)

In this book, the staff have imposters in their midst. They are uncertain how to tread this time but Rainbird takes the lead. There is a lot of secrecy and losses and gains in this book, but for some reason I could not wait for the end of this. I would say I tired of the storyline by this point. The only reason I completed this series was just because I usually do! It turned out to be a good thing that I did follow through.

Rainbird’s Revenge (A House for the Season #6)

This final book was the icing on the cake for having stuck through the series. It is light, short and surprisingly mature. This is a culmination of  a lot on trials on the part of the staff and they move on to a new life which may or may not have been the same as the picture painted by them since the beginning of the series when they first bonded together.The owner himself decides to stay at the house this season and things obviously come to light that finally lays to rest the situation with Palmer.

Every book brings into focus the uncomfortable social norms of that time and of standards we would find hard to understand. If that is ignored, the writing is good and these books are a perfect fit for a lazy afternoon read.

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