Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Roses are red…

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

cotillionWhen curmudgeonly old miser Matthew Penicuik suffers a particularly bad episode of gout, he thinks it’s time to decide who will inherit his considerable fortune once he’s gone. Not that any of his relatives believe him to be in any danger, hypochondria being another of his endearing qualities. Many years earlier, he had taken in Kitty Charing, the orphaned daughter of a friend, and he wants to be sure she’ll be provided for. So he hits upon the infamous notion of announcing that he will leave all of his money to whichever of his great-nephews marries Kitty, and invites them all to come for a visit – and to propose to poor Kitty. Everyone assumes Jack will be the lucky man – not only is he Great-Uncle Matthew’s favourite, but Kitty has had a crush on him since she was a schoolroom miss. But Jack’s pride won’t let him dance to Great-Uncle Matthew’s tune and anyway he’s not ready to get married, being too busy womanising all over town, so he refuses to come. In a fit of pique, Kitty persuades her cousin, the Honourable Freddy Standen, to pretend to become engaged to her and take her to London for a month on the pretext of meeting his parents…

‘You think I’ve got brains?’ he said, awed. ‘Not confusing me with Charlie?’

‘Charlie?’ uttered Miss Charing contemptuously. ‘I daresay he has book-learning, but you have—you have address, Freddy!’

‘Well, by Jove!’ said Mr Standen, dazzled by this new vision of himself.

Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances are my idea of literary chicken soup – they’re what I turn to if I have a cold or a fit of the dismals or, as now, hit a brick wall with some of the stuff I’ve been reading. She writes with such humour and the books are generally light and frothy fun. The heroes are usually rich, often proud and always handsome. The heroines are always strong, usually feisty and spirited, and would never dream of marrying for anything other than love. In fact, they are all variations of Darcy and Lizzie, and the road to true love is always as convoluted as in Pride and Prejudice, but stripped of the serious side of that book. Heyer is fun and romance, pure and simple, and the inevitable happy ending in no way diminishes the pleasure of the journey.

Oh, come on! You didn't really think I'd miss an opportunity like that...?
Oh, come on! You didn’t really think I’d miss an opportunity like that…?

‘I daresay Freddy might not be a great hand at slaying dragons- but one has not the smallest need of a man who can kill dragons!’

Cotillion is my favourite of all Heyer’s romances. Kitty is such a likeable heroine – kept countrified and dowdy all her life, she discovers the joys of clothes-shopping, hairdressing, learning to dance, and is soon able to stand her ground with the best of them. Freddy’s friends and family have always considered him nothing more than a fashionable young man about town – a Bertie Woosterish figure – but as he has to pull Kitty out of one scrape after another, he shows a level of intelligence and competence no-one ever suspected he possessed. The supporting cast is the usual Regency line-up of fops and dandies, grande dames and put-upon companions, flirts and innocent young misses, out-and-outers and Pinks of the Ton. The assorted great nephews vying with varying degrees of enthusiasm for Kitty’s hand add an extra level of humour to the book. And then there’s Jack – all charming exterior and wicked interior.

Upon Mrs Scorton’s reappearance, she found herself confronted, not by the fool of his family, but by the Honourable Frederick Standen, a Pink of the Pinks, who knew to a nicety how to blend courtesy with hauteur, and who informed her, with exquisite politeness, that he rather fancied his cousin was tired, and would like to be taken home. One of the uninvited guests, entering the box in Eliza’s wake, ventured on a warm sally, found himself being inspected from head to foot through a quizzing-glass, and stammered an apology.

Will Kitty realise Freddy’s superior worth before it’s too late? Will Freddy begin to reconsider his bachelor ways? Will Kitty’s friend Olivia marry the old roué Sir Henry Gosford for money or find a way to marry the gorgeous Chevalier d’Evron for love? Will Great-Uncle Matthew ever recover from his gout? And will I read this book again and again and again? Entertaining, mood-enhancing fun to brighten up the greyest day!

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37 thoughts on “Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

  1. FEF! I’ve missed you something awful.

    As soon as I saw the title I started laughing, I must admit. I fear Freddy is duller than dull. Taken advantage of by Kitty! And what’s that about the dragons??? That’s a very important art! Unless, you’re like the professor, and you are a dragon.

    (Notice how Lizzy is taller than Darby!)

    Stellar review! You make it seem like a great party. And I can’t resist those. But I’m not reading this!!

    • Delighted to hear it, C-W-W! *grins*

      *laughing* And I was so sure this one would appeal to you, too! Freddy is lovely – he’s so like the Professor that he couldn’t possibly be dull! And I actually felt Kitty was a bit unfair with the dragon comment – I bet if he had to, Fredddy could battle one!

      (She is not! As LF says below, she is standing on a step so she can gaze into those gorgeous soulful eyes…and who wouldn’t?!?)

      Haha! You’ll be delighted to hear that your TBR list has dropped to six after the unfortunate dead computer incident. (Note to self – back-up more regularly…) But I think you’d enjoy this one more than you think you would…

      • Freddy can’t be the professor! He should call himself Fred. That’s better. Freddy is too…too sweet! Freddy probably couldn’t kill an ant that had five legs injured.

        (Tell LF I didn’t know Lizio was a shrimp! But I think it makes sense. I bet Darby’s eyes are completely black.)

        *laughing lots* Awesome! Did you have to get a new computer? *looks away* Won’t be tempted into this!

        • But Freddy suits him, because he is very sweet…just like the Professor! But without the Professor’s famed warrior skills though – there wasn’t much call for katana fighting at the average Regency ball. However, he makes up for that sad lack with his exquisite dancing skills – he actually taught Kitty how to waltz… *sighs*

          (*laughing* But it sounds so much ruder when you call her it, somehow! Velvety brown, I think you’ll find… LF is talking about American Football on her blog today. She was very impressed – nay, gobsmacked – by my in-depth knowledge of the game!)

          Yep! Love the new lappy, hate Windows 8. But what fun to have a computer that doesn’t overheat every five minutes… Well, I’ll let you off with this one then. *unusually kind face*

          • Oh…but there might have been. For instance, what if a thug broke into a ball and tried to steal the punch? One would need a warrior then. (Darby wouldn’t cut it.) I can play waltzes and jazz waltzes!

            *high-five, if you still insist on not doing a fist pump* Did she mention the Patriots?

            Lappy… *laughs* Windows 8… Yucketh! Mac is better! Unless you want to play Empire Earth…or Madden!

            • Freddy would merely gaze at the thief through his quizzing glass, and reduce him to a trembling wreck. No need to crease his impeccable jacket with brawling. Well, I admit, that’s nearly as good as being able to waltz! What’s the difference? *wonders if in jazz waltzes you’re only allowed to dance with a drummer*

              *shakes Professorial hand in a restrained and dignified British fashion* No – but I did!! Though I think it was my casual mention of nose tackles that impressed her most. Then we started talking about hockey… *shudders*

              I’ve never had a Mac but if Windows keeps getting worse I might be tempted next time! Doesn’t it work very well for games then?

            • Then he’s not a real man! Any man would take any excuse for a good fight. Why…Vin Diesel would! And V. Wilfork! Waltz for Debby (Bill Evans) is a good example. It picks up further in. And you must listen to just a bit of it now!

              *laughs* I’ve always wondered how Brits shake hands. Wowawee! I’m proud the sudden, you know. *smiles bigly* Hockey… *shudders too* It’s really big where I’m at. Can’t stand it!

              Well, I guess it does, but not near the selection–which I’m thinking won’t bother you. On the up-side, you do get free recording and video editing software.

            • Yes, but both of them would look pretty silly in Regency dancing outfits anyway – all those muscles would ruin the smooth lines of the jackets. Hmm…I fear the best I can give that is a fairly lukewarm OK – sorry! But…do you think it would actually be possible to waltz to it anyway? I’m not convinced…

              You should be proud! Now all you have to do is convert me to the joys of baseball and your work will be done! Ah, but male hockey isn’t nearly as violent and dangerous as female hockey – it’s one of the few times women really get to show their true viciousness… *limps off clutching old injury*

              It might bother me if only I knew what it meant! Hmm…I could record myself singing and dancing then, eh? *thinks hard* No, best to stick with Windows, I feel…

            • Well, Mr. Wilfork would have something else–besides muscle–ruining the smooth lines of his jacket! *laughs* Don’t tell him I said that! I’m not sure if it can be danced to! Hopefully not.

              You’ve played hockey? *big surprised face* Tell me all about, please!

              *offers FEF a frog*

            • *laughing cruelly* So true! Perhaps he could have worn a corset though. I think we should try…

              Haha! ‘Played hockey’ might be stretching it – mainly I ran away from the hearty violent girls and tried to hide behind the big ones…

              Thanks! Now I can sing duets…though the frog will have to do the difficult bits…

            • A corset? *laughs and laughs and laughs* We shouldn’t! We should try to blow on it instead.

              But, still, you played! Do you anymore?

              Haha. He’s a great voice. It’s really disturbing at night, actually.

            • Well, I tell you what – you can play the music then, and I’ll dance with Mic…

              *laughing and laughing* Yes, twice a week – and I do a six-mile run before breakfast each morning! Do you believe me?

            • But…but…you were supposed to get wildly, uncontrollably jealous! *pouts and plots revenge*

              *laughing* Intense is certainly one way to describe it. Suicidal might be another…

  2. FictionFan – What?! You, pass up the opportunity for a gratuitous Darcy ‘photo? Perish the thought! You make a good point about ‘chicken soup’ books and series. There are those authors whose work just lifts us up when we need it. And you could do heaps worse than Heyer for that purpose 🙂

    • Haha! No photo of Darcy is gratuitous, surely? 😉 Yes, there’s a few books I return to again and again when I don’t have the brainpower for something new – these ones, Sherlock Holmes, Reginald Hill…

  3. Good heavens! I am in shock! I need chocolate! I didn’t see this coming. The queen of dismemberment reading Georgette Heyer???? Has the moon fallen from the sky? Is it the twelfth of never? Are pigs flying??? Faints away, whimpering and calling for chocolate.

    But it’s good to see you back, and maybe this is what is needed when wrassling with Windows 8.

    I didn’t do Miss Heyer I’m afraid. A 15 year old lip curled witheringly. Don’t forget I was Russia bound at that age and into wrassling with the dark night of the soul big time

    I think I’ll leave you to minister to Matthew’s gout. I might have offered Raskolnikov a remedy, but Matthew should just lay off the juice and pull himself together.

    PS Lizzie is NOT taller than Darcy, do tell the prof. She is standing on a step as she is such a perfect shrimp that its the only way they can look deeply and soulfully into each other’s pearly orbs

    • I know!! And not a single dead body in sight! I swithered long and hard before revealing this secret to the world – I hope you’ll still be my friend! But truly, truly, I adore these books – I’m pretty sure I must have been an upper-class Regency flirt in a past life …

      I HATE Windows 8!! What was wrong with Windows 7? Huh?? It was intuitive and it worked! 8 on the other hand is about as intuitive as DOS. Grrrrr!!! So I’m still struggling e-mail-wise – hopefully I’ll get it sorted today…

      I have indeed informed the Professor – but you must understand his bitter comments are due to his extreme jealousy of Darcy…and really, who can blame him for that? If I was a man, I’d want to be Darby too…

      • Oh I’m SO sorry (re Windows 8) I didn’t want to say a dicky, but i reckon Windows 7 is like Windows XP – one of the good ones, but 8 is like Vista, thumbs firmly down mistake. I will keep this PC together with string and sealing wax purely because I won’t go 8. Unless forced to by PC sudden irrevocable death

        I was obviously your Regency scullery maid in a past life, with NO PATIENCE with the simpery girls. Lizzie was my sort of woman, with a good deal of bottle about her.

        You’ve used that lovely s word again. Swithered!

        • Yes, that’s why I kept putting off getting a new lappy even though I knew the old one was on its last legs – well, that, and my vain hope that Vine might solve my problem. They’ve brought out 8.1 now apparently because of all the complaints, which theoretically makes it look like 7 – hmm, it doesn’t make it work like 7 though…

          Kitty is a bit Lizzie-ish, though – that’s why I love her. And Freddy’s like the Darcy you’d actually be able to have a laugh with once you’d had your fill of gazing into his eyes…

          😆 I must get you a Scottish dictionary sometime…

          • Is this so when I arrive unexpectedly and uninvited on your doorstep demanding bannocks and tablet I will understand the curses that mean ‘go away, go away fast’?

            Hopefully my PC and little netty will both survive long enough for Windows 9 to appear, which, based on the good one, dud, good one, dud theory, means 9 should be a good un. And IF so, maybe the PC and netty should be rapidly changed before 10, dud, comes in. They carefully seem to build up the system requirements so an old PC doesn’t happily have the capacity needed to run a couple of systems ahead. My experience seems to be death after 5 years max, and 3-5 you are on borrowed time anyway.

            • It’s all built-in obsolescence of course. I had to buy a new Office package because 8 doesn’t support the old version I’ve been using happily for years now, transferring it from machine to machine. So now I’m having to relearn both Word and Excel. Apparently instead of buying them outright they now encourage you to take out an annual subscription (at immense cost) so that they can keep updating you. Yeah, right! Oh, how I hate IT companies! And oh, how sorry I felt for the poor young thing who was trying to sell me loads of stuff I didn’t need or want, on the grounds that being female and…er…less young must mean I’m a computer illiterate…!!!

            • Oh, don’t. We will both start frothing at the withers. I hate IT companies too. And companies who make anything with electronics in (washing machines etc) ALL designed to die. Unlike the ancient heirlooms handed down from generation to generation by ancient grandmothers with no teeth, gumming their wisdom down to the daughter, herself anciently losing her gnashers but still in possession of the trusty cooking vessel, gumming her wisdom on, and on, Ariston.

  4. It’s been many a year since I have read any of Georgette Heyer’s stories. Nice, light and fun she is. Thank you for reminding me of the lighter side of life. 😀

  5. Oh, ‘Cotillion’ was an instant favorite when I read it. I do enjoy Heyer’s fluff – so relaxing and harmless! ‘The Grand Sophy’ was excellent, too (your sister needs to start a book blog!) ‘Friday’s Child’ was one I enjoyed so much that I bought a copy for my own collection! 🙂

    Everyone needs some R&R, sometimes from life in general, and sometimes just from intense crime novels! 😀

    • I don’t remember Friday’s Child so clearly – must dig it out and give it a re-read. I do love them – they make the world seem like a happy place for a while! My sister’s far too busy reading to blog! She’s one of these book-a-day types…I gave up competing with her years ago!

      But I’m back to the grim crime again today… 😉

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