“Cotillion” by Georgette Heyer
I love Regency Romance novels, as you can guess by this blog. And since I read a million of them, I thought it would be worthwhile to record my reviews of each Regency I read. I hope that others may find these reviews useful.
I’m going to start off by reviewing Cotilliona book by historical author, Gorgette Heyer, who pretty much launched the Regency romance sub-genre. Inspired by Jane Austin, Heyer’s Regency novels were witty, had rich plot lines, and were filled with tons of accurate details of Regency life — from the slang they used when they spoke, to the minute details of a lady’s dress. “Cotillion” embodied all of the best about Georgette Heyer. Wit definitely abounded.
The book begins when cantankerous old Mr. Penicuik summons his great-nephews to his manor house and informs them that he will leave his entire fortune to his adopted daughter, Kitty — providing, that is, that she agrees to marry one of them. Her choices? An Irish Earl who has a limited intellect and who has a dragon for a mother; a handsome but prissy Reverend; a young dandy; and a dashing Corinthian who Kitty’s nursed a not-so-secret crush on her whole life.
For most of the book I had a smile on my face. Heyer’s heroine, Kitty, was kind-hearted but full of spunk. I was rooting for her the whole way. By the end I was literally grinning from ear to ear. But what made “Cotillion” stand out for me was the hero, Freddy.
I normally love dark, brooding heroes, and Freddy is just the opposite. He’s a “pink of pinks,” a man of exquisite taste, a leader of fashion and a sunny nature. He isn’t especially smart, or sexy, or daring. But he is strong in his own way. His talents (perfect address, instinctive knowledge of manners, and a sublimely practical mind) are what save the day in the end. And this is what makes “Cotillion” so great. Heyer’s hero is one you don’t find in most romances out there. In modern stories, Freddy would probably be written in as the faithful sidekick. Through the book, Freddy grows, surprising his parents, his cousins, Kitty and himself. But he surprised me most of all.
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