With the stroke of her keyboard, author Kasey Michaels has taken the most delightful elements of British farce and enlivened the pages of The Butler Did It. A cross between Upstairs, Downstairs and Gosford Park, this lively Regency has more action packed into its pages than most other novels in the genre. Readers should be prepared for a score of laugh-out-loud moments, unforgettable characters and a most satisfying romance.
Morgan Drummond, Marquis of Westham, is determined not to succumb to the hot-tempered nature that led to his father’s early demise. When a drunken duel nearly costs him the life of his best friend, Morgan retreats to the country to tame his nature once and for all. He leaves behind a group of faithful retainers who will maintain his palatial Mayfair home, keeping all in readiness for his return.
No one, especially the staff, expected the Marquis to need five years of rusticating. In all that time, the staff, led by the butler, Mr. Thornley, have kept the home in proper fashion. For the first two years, this was as expected. Then doubt began to creep in. What if he never comes back? Thornley hates to see the lovely home going to waste, so he conspires to add some extra income for the staff and insure that they do not loose their service skills in the process. He begins to very discreetly offer lodging to Season visitors who lack town homes of their own. The staff enjoys the extra wages, the lodgers are discreet, and everyone is happy.
Now, dear reader, what do you suppose will happen when Morgan decides that it is time to return to Polite Society, especially since he has not written ahead to tell Thornley that he is coming? Well, we get to be the fly on the wall when it all breaks loose. The Marquis is aghast to discover that he is “hosting” three separate parties for the season - Sir Edgar Marmon (adventurer and not quite what he appears to be); The Cliffords (grandmother, mother, son and daughter, who is hoping for a good marriage) and Mrs. Olive Norbert (a seamstress who inherited a tidy sum and wants to live like a “nob” for the season).
With a vast array of memorable characters, more plotlines than a spiderweb and witty dialog filled with British understatement, The Butler Did It is a delight. If you only read one Regency this month, make sure that you pick the one that will feed not only your desire for a lovely romance, but will tickle your funny bone in the process.