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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Cotillion (1953) Georgette Heyer

Kitty was adopted by Mr Penicuik, and now he is elderly, he wants to make sure she is provided for, but doesn’t want to cut his great-nephews out of his will entirely.

However, he is a crotchety, cranky old man, and his method of deciding who to leave his fortune to leaves something to be desired.

‘Well, I told you all to come here for a purpose, and if some of you don’t choose to do what’s to their interest I wash my hands of them. I’ve given ’em a day’s grace, and there’s an end to it! I won’t keep you all here, eating me out of house and home, to suit the convenience of a couple of damned jackanapes. Mind, I don’t mean they shan’t have their chance! They don’t deserve it, but I said Kitty should have her pick, and I’m a man of my word.’

So I’ve settled it that one of you shall have her, and my fortune into the bargain.’

Jack, the favorite, hasn’t bothered to show up, and Kitty is unimpressed by the cousins who offer for her because of the fortune, so she says she’ll have none of them, and decides to run away. But her lack of planning about running away leads her to create plan with Frederick (a complete dandy) of a fake engagement.

For the first couple chapters I find him terribly irritating, but then you quickly see he might not be as quick as others, but he knows what is right and is good-hearted.

She untied the strings of this receptacle, and dragged out the roll. ‘Pray, will you take care of it for me?’ she begged.

Mr Standen was just about to decline the office when a deep and cunning thought entered his head. Having a very nice idea of the cost of feminine apparel, it did not seem to him that two hundred and fifty pounds would suffice to clothe a lady about to make her début in the first circle of fashion. He was a good-natured as well as an affluent young gentleman, and he now conceived a scheme whereby Miss Charing might be imposed upon entirely for her own benefit. Detaching a fifty pound bill from the roll, he handed it to Kitty, saying: ‘That’s the dandy! You keep this one, and I’ll give the rest to m’mother. Have all the bills sent to her, and she’ll stand huff.’

I think my favorite character in this book is Dolph, who is clearly not smart, but knows it. He’s dominated by his mother, but despite everything, knows what he wants and is actually a good soul.

‘Take this chair!’ urged Lord Biddenden.

‘You will be comfortable here, my dear Kitty,’ said the Reverend Hugh, indicating the chair from which he had risen at her entrance.

Not to be outdone, Lord Dolphinton gulped, and said: ‘Take mine! Not comfortable, but very happy to—Pray take it!’

But really, this made me adore Dolph:

‘You will protect Miss Plymstock,’ said Hugh.

Rather to Kitty’s surprise, these stern words appeared to inspire Dolphinton with courage. He gulped, but made no further attempt to reach his refuge. The sound of the knocker on the front-door did indeed make him jump, and shudder, but he said resolutely: ‘Protect Hannah!’ and stood his ground.

I didn’t love this the first time I read it, but then I hadn’t had many romance novels then. Now, after a broader perusing of the genre, and really enjoyed it. Neither Kitty nor Freddy are clever. Kitty is pretty and Freddy has a title and money, but both of them try to do the best for their friends.

And I really do love that Dolph ended up with his true love in the end, as well as Kitty and Olivia. (I didn’t mention Olivia. It’s ok.)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    

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