I took a short break from my M. C. Beaton books binge and I must confess, I missed them and so here I am, back to my first loves. This is the third book in “The Royal Ambition” series but note that all books in this series are stand-alone novels and can be read in any order. To read my reviews on the first two books in this series, click on “Book Reviews” on my homepage.
“Miss Fiona’s fancy” takes us all the way to Scotland where Lady Fiona lives with her ever gambling father and her sweet mother. She has to go to London with her parents for her “come out” because the only way to save their house and lands is if Fiona can marry a wealthy man who can help to pay off the heavy debts incurred due to her father’s reckless gambling. The Marquess of Cleveden meets Fiona at a ball and is amused by her “highlandish” ways. He seeks to marry her despite all the rumors going round abut her and the fact that he knows that she also has some gambling traits flowing in her veins. Fiona marries the Marquess but on the condition that the marriage will be annulled if she doesn’t honestly fall in love with him in a year. This is an interesting love story of how the Marquess and Fiona find love amidst all that surrounds them. It is funny, entertaining and romantic.
What I loved most about reading this story is how it opened my eyes to the huge difference between the English and Scottish cultures. The Scots treated their servants as almost equals as their servants ate with the gentry on the same tables and answered them back when spoken to unlike the English who looked down on their servants. The Scots were however looked upon as savages by the English and were treated as such whether they were aristocrats or servants. It’s always nice to learn about bits and pieces of history from fiction and this gave me something new.
My favorite characters were the Marquess and Angus the Piper and my least favorite character was Lizzy, Fiona’s distant cousin who was the bitter illegitimate daughter of an uncle. Her character shows that people just set eyes on you and hate you because you exist and they are pained by it. Theses kinds of people in real life have always puzzled me and it is unfortunate that we will always have them around us as long as the sun shines.
I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers. On to the next book!
Rating: 4 Stars
Published: January 12th, 2014 by Rossettabooks (First published in 1987)
Genre: Historical Fiction (Romance)
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/missfionasfancy
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.