Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
The word “classics” tends to bring to mind long, boring books, the kind you just have to wade through. I’m not sure why that is. The classics I’ve read over the last several years have, for the most part been, been wonderful, some of my favorites. I almost wish I could refrain from referring to them as “classics,” simply because for so many people the word is such a turn-off.
Cotillion was published in 1953 and is one of many Regency Romance written by Heyer. To be honest, I haven’t quite finished reading it yet. I could have rushed through I guess, but I’m finding it a delightful story and want to take my time with it.
Kitty, the heroine, is a charming young woman. She is to inherit a fortune from her guardian, but only if she marries one of his great-nephews. Kitty is not appalled by the plan, but wants the right nephew to propose – Jack, a fascinating, handsome rake, but he doesn’t seem interested. Kitty conceives a plan. In a bid to finally see London and perhaps to make Jack jealous, she convinces another of her “cousins,” Freddy Standen, to pretend to be engaged to her. Freddy, while not the brightest man on the planet, is kind, has good taste, some common sense, and knows his way around Society. Her plan brings her to London where she meets Freddy’s family and a variety of other characters, including a long-lost cousin and a new friend.
I have to admit that I peeked ahead to the ending and am happy to report that I was pleased with how the main romance turns out. This is just such a fun, light-heated story. All the characters are enjoyable, whether they be kind or cunning, smart or dull and their interactions are priceless. I find myself smiling and laughing.
I’ll be reading this one for another day or two, but I’m sure it won’t be the last Heyer I read. I do have to admit though, that I’m a fan of historical romance in general, at least well-written ones. It’s a shame that I’ve waited so long to read something by Heyer, who essentially established the genre.
Update 3/22 – I finished Cotillion this past weekend, and I have to say I loved it. Kitty is just adorable, wanting to help everyone. And Freddy, doing everything he can to make Kitty happy, even when he doesn’t know how she feels about him is great. I’d fall in love with him myself.
I’ll grant you that Dolph’s mother is horrible, although I’m not sure if she would have followed through with her threats. And the only way it seems for women to have any decent future is through marriage or being a wealthy man’s mistress, but Heyer handles all the situation quite gracefully, I thought.
First published 1953
Challenges: 100+, Romance
My copy was borrowed from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.
Cotillion is one of my absolute favorite Heyers! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it- I absolutely adore Freddy. Sigh 🙂 He’s such a USEFUL hero.
Peeking, bad girl ;=)
Did she go for the rake?..oh do not tell me
Everyone seems to love Heyer’s work. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I would prefer one of her mysteries.
I can’t believe you peeked. lol. I used to do that but now I don’t let myself.
I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. This was one of my favorites of Heyers. I really liked Kitty – she’s a great character.
I am, on the other hand, not a fan of historical romance but still appreciate reviews on them. Maybe one day when I’m feeling adventurous, I’d give it a shot. Thanks for the review!
Thrilled that you loved/liked/enjoyed Cotillion but really, the book is so much more than what you described … and perhaps I’m being unfair, having read it so many times, but there was a lot happening besides “isn’t this a fun book” and more of us should read Heyer.
Jack, rake cousin, is trying to entice a not-quite-of-our-class woman to be his mistress. Freddy’s aunt wants to shut her son up in an asylum. Kitty’s uncle is cold-heartedly saying to her that she should marry someone or she’ll be out in the cold. It’s just not quite that “lite” and merry … Kitty is a great character, as is Freddy and as is Freddy’s father. Heyer doesn’t shy away from reality, even if you have to read between the lines.
I, like you, probably couldn’t have resisted peeking at the end, but especially in a book like this, with four couples in play, one needed to finish it to complete the dance.
This is the Heyer novel I’ve decided to start with – great review!
That’s how I feel when I hear the term “classics.” I haven’t read any Heyer yet, but I have one of her books on my shelf.
This was my first Heyer and I have very fond memories of it! One of the things that I suspect is that Heyer is one of those authors who you can read time and time again. I am definitely planning to reread several, and I still have loads I haven’t read yet.
I’ve been known to peek at the end too 🙂
I’m a self-proclaimed lover of (lots of) classics. I just read my first Heyer too and she is so much fun!
I really enjoyed Cotillion–one of the few Heyer’s that I’ve read more than once (though my favorite remains The Reluctant Widow). I just love Freddie, and (as I mature) Freddie’s father…I’ve often thought that the pater familias would make a wonderful hero in a Regency Romance–funny, capable, adorable, attractive.
What I love best about the book is that unlike most romances (esp historical romances), Freddy is just soo nice. It’s really a rare book where the hero is not some over the top macho man.