Young Kitty Charing stands to inherit a vast fortune from her irascible great-uncle Matthew--provided she marries one of her cousins. Kitty is not wholly adverse to the plan, if
the right nephew proposes. Unfortunately, Kitty has set her heart on Jack Westruther, a confirmed rake, who seems to have no inclination to marry her anytime soon. In an effort to make Jack jealous, and
to see a little more of the world than her isolated life on her great-uncle's estate has afforded her, Kitty devises a plan. She convinces yet another of her cousins, the honorable Freddy Standen, to pretend to be engaged to her. Her plan would bring her to London on a visit to Freddy's family and (hopefully) render the elusive Mr. Westruther madly jealous. Thus begins Cotillion
, arguably the funniest, most charming of Georgette Heyer
's many delightful Regency romances.
No sooner does Kitty arrive in London than she becomes embroiled in the romantic difficulties of several new acquaintances. Kitty's French cousin, Camille, a professional gambler, has won the heart of her new friend, Olivia--who also happens to be the object of Jack Westruther's dishonorable intentions. Meanwhile, Kitty's doltish cousin Lord Dolphinton has fallen in love with a merchant's daughter who's embattled with his mother and needs his help. Finally, there is Kitty herself, who begins to wonder if the dandified Freddy might not be the man for her after all. As in all of Georgette Heyer's books, Cotillion transcends genre--it is, quite simply, wonderful literature. Historically accurate down to the finest details of dress, deportment, and speech, Heyer was also a master at creating unforgettable, comic characters, and Kitty Charing and Freddy Standen stand out as one of her most charming romantic duos ever.
From Library Journal
Miss Catherine Charing is in a difficult situation. Her irascible and eccentric guardian, Mr. Matthew Penicuik, will bestow his entire fortune on her only if she will marry one of his great-nephews, not a choice lot. The Rev. Hugh Rattney is a self-righteous prig; Capt. Claud Rattney is a well-known rake; Lord Dolphinton is none too bright and frightened to death of his Mama; the Honorable Frederick Standon is a useless fribble; and Kitty's hero, Capt. Jack Westruther, resisting Uncle Matthew's tyrannical ways, has refused to even show up. If Kitty does not accept one of them, she will be penniless and homeless. Driven to folly by these circumstances, she attempts to flee to London to find a position as a governess. Heyer's characterizations are at their sharpest as her people change and grow in unexpected directions. The book is a joy to listen to, as Phyllida Nash manages to keep the complicated cast of characters both separate and equal. Highly recommended for all public library collections where romance or the author's works are popular.ABarbara Rhodes, Northeast Texas Lib. Syst., Garland
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