PLAIN JANE: Vol II of A House for the Season by Marion Chesney

PLAIN JANE: Vol II of A House for the Season

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Second novel in Chesney's Regency series (in wit and pizazz a cut below her Six Daughters series). Here again is the ""family"" of servants permanently trapped, thanks to an unscrupulous agent, in the downstairs of a desirable London address. The latest tenants: Captain Hart, a dour naval ""hero"" (as it turns out); his vacuous wife; beautiful, greedy daughter Euphemia; and her Cinderella sister, ""plain Jane."" While Euphemia, still living in her family's provincial digs, practices ""Attitudes"" (her current pose is Dreaming Beauty), Mrs. Hart, although a tightwad, is thinking of entering Beauty in the marriage stakes during the London season. Off they go to 67 Clarges Street, where await the servants: butler Rainbird, a paternal sort who, untypically, will fall in love with Mrs. HaWs French maid, Felice; two other pretty maids and scullery waif Lizzie, who adores Joseph the footman; anxious housekeeper Mrs. Middleton, who has a tender spot for Rainbird; ex-chimney sweep Dave and the fierce Scots cook MacGregor. Above stairs, Mrs. Hart, though most assuredly not ton, attracts the social elite by mischance, and there's a riotous ""rout"" (Rainbird spiked the punch); Euphemia is courted by a fat title; and Jane, with her honest innocence, attracts the admiration of handsome Beau Tregarthan. Below stairs, Lizzie rescues the servant family after MacGregor poaches a deer; MacGregor ruins a dinner party; and, at the close, they all rally round Miss Jame (as they did for Miss Fiona in The Miser of Mayfair, p. 406) to save her from murder. As for the lovers--a slew of missed connections is resolved happily, after the Beau and Captain Hart take off with an unlikely companion. Floppy and soft-centered, this will melt in the mind; but Chesney has her following.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's