Book Review: The Dreadful Debutante (The Royal Ambition Series #1) by M. C. Beaton

I am still on my M. C. Beaton books binge and I am finding the experience quite entertaining. “The Royal Ambition Series” was next on my TBR so I have dived into it. This is the first book in the series and it was not a disappointment at all.

The story centers around Drusilla and Mira, two sisters who are poles apart in everything. Drusilla is the beautiful but shallow sister who their parents and everyone else adores while Mira is not as beautiful, a tomboy who loves riding, fishing and outgoing. Drusilla is 19 and it is time for her “come-out” in London to enable her find a suitable husband among the aristocrats as the custom but their father Mr. Markham decides to bring out Mira at the same time. They arrive London and Mira is shamed when she pushes her sister into a fountain because Drusilla decides that the man she wants is the only man she knows Mira loves. Mira in the course of her rebellion meets the Marquess of Grantley and develops a friendship with him, however, a certain Lady Jensen wants the Marquess for herself and is determined to shame Mira by all means.

This story is filled with suspense, action, scheming, evil plots which all lead to a romantic happy ending. I love the way the writer portrays her characters with both their good sides and flaws. She has also succeeded in quenching all my beliefs about how people in these times were overly romantic and the reality of how marriage was mostly an arranged or simply put, a commercial affair where debutantes paraded themselves during “The Season” at balls and parties to catch the eyes of the eligible rich young bachelors who were also aiming to grab a suitable girl with a sizable dowry. I love the way English language was spoken in these times and I plan to add some particular words I have learnt to my vocabulary.

In a nut shell, it was a good read and I recommend it to all historical romance lovers. Note that, this is not your typical romance story where boy meets girl, they hate each other and then find out that they love each other and get together. This is a story with multiple themes laced with humor and short enough to be read in one sitting.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: February, 2015 by Rosetta Books

Pages: 208

Genre: Historical Fiction (Regency Romance)

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The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.


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