The Butler Did It
In this Regency era farce, an unlikely selection of people converges at the London estate of Westham to enjoy the Season. Unknown to Morgan Drummond, Marquis of Westham, his butler, has been renting out the family mansion while Morgan has been away in self-imposed exile. The tenants include a ravenous seamstress spending some newfound money, an aged scheming adventurer, and the fatherless Clifford family who is seeking to wed beautiful daughter Emma to the Season’s catch. When the Marquis unexpectedly returns, he is forced to act as Emma’s guardian due to protocol and blackmail. An attraction born of threats and insults quickly occurs.
As true to a farce, the characters are exaggerated, and much of the action depends upon the physical foibles of the elder participants. Emma’s feisty grandmother teams up with the adventurer to assist in his con game and is also blackmailing the gentry into sending eligible men to court her granddaughter. Emma’s mother Talks In Capital Letters and lusts after the butler. The capitalization convention is initially annoying, but is ignorable since she is a lesser character.
Romance readers who like their romance silly and slapstick will find Michaels’ effort delightful. Those looking for sweet and serious need look elsewhere.