Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
Monday September 26, 2011 at 12:00 am |

cotillion-ghPublisher: Harper Paperbacks
Copyright: 1953
Published: November 28, 1994 (1st 1953)
Pages: 406
Form: Paperback
Author: Georgette Heyer
Buy The Book: B&N | Book Depository


With the promise of her guardian’s vast fortune on the occasion of her marriage, the orphaned Miss Kitty Charing presents a most alluring prospect to the man who wins her hand.  But the lady herself has no intention of wedding any of her fortune-hunting beaux.  Instead, she shocks everyone by running away-straight into the arms of the elegant Mr. Standen of London.  Very much aware that a lady alone in a strange city can be a scandalous, and dangerous, enterprise, the resourceful miss makes Standen a daring proposal of her own.

To her great relief, the confirmed bachelor agrees to her bold suggestion and promptly whisks her off to fashionable Berkeley Square.  Kitty is soon swept up in a gay whirl of glittering balls and society intrigues.  But the most thrilling moment of all comes when she realizes that the man she has vowed to wed in such uncommon haste has completely captivated her wayward heart.

My Thoughts:

I had an interesting time reading this book.  The language in the novel takes some getting used to and is akin to trying to decipher Shakespeare.  But once I got the groove of it I had an enjoyable time getting into this novel.  While the blurb on the back cover leads you to believe this is a romance, the love story is secondary to all the other antics and actually progresses in a very subtle manner.  If you don’t pay attention you really could miss it all together.

Freddy Standen really is an unlikely hero.  He is quite the underdog in this tale and seems to pale in comparison to his dashing cousin Jack Westruther.  But when Kitty’s guardian, Mr. Penicuik, decides she must marry one of his great-nephews in order to receive his money, she decides she wants none of them when Jack never shows.  But Kitty dreams of leaving the strict household of the crotchety Mr. Penicuik and experiencing the sights and sounds of London.  Kitty flees, refusing to pick a nephew and runs into Mr. Penicuik’s great-nephew, Freddy.  They devise a plot to have a faux engagement in order for Kitty to visit and enjoy London.  And thus, mayhem ensues.

While in London Kitty finds herself involved with people those around her consider undesirable, and mixed up in situations she doesn’t quite know how to get out of.  But though Kitty has not experienced much under the rigid eye of her guardian, she is amazingly perceptive and quite intelligent.  She she’s and notices things others overlook and makes adjustments accordingly.  But she still finds herself constantly seeking the advice and help of her intended.  And with each pickle he pulls her out of, Kitty finds herself being drawn to Freddie more and more.  She also has opportunity to see Jack sans the rose colored glasses of her youth.

Cotillion is filled with a host of characters of which Kitty feels compelled to help.  My favorite of which is another great-nephew Lord Dolphinton.  Dolph is sweet but would be considered mentally slow by today’s standards.  And although he’s grown, he’s terrified of his mother who has the servants spy on him and threatens to have him put away if he doesn’t do her bidding.  Whatever Kitty gets involved in, ultimately Freddie bails her out which endears him to her.  Freddy, isn’t the typical hero.  But he has a great resourcefulness, intelligence, and an uncanny wit that had me laughing out loud throughout the novel.  He’s strong and dependable, and that’s what made me love him.

Overall this historical novel was entertaining.  Though I would recommend this to read, I’d also suggest that you really have a love for historical novels before picking it up.

 Favorite Quote:

Kitty explaining to Meg that she thinks Freddy is chivalrous

“Yes, and a great deal more to the purpose than all the people one was taught to revere, like Sir Lancelot, and Sir Galahad, and Young Lochinvar, and – and that kind of man!  I daresay Freddy might not be a great hand at slaying dragons, but you may depend upon it none of those knight-errants would be able to rescue me from a social fix, and you must own, Meg, that one has not the smallest need of a man who can kill dragons!…”

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Written by Jade

Jade is a book blogger from NC. In her spare time she loves to read and build and maintain websites. She has been reading since she was four and building websites since she was 16. was born on March 8, 2011 and is a fantastic merging of her two favorite hobbies. Enjoy your stay!

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8 Responses to “Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer”

  1. I’ve been meaning to try her work. Great review.

  2. Recently Georgette Heyer’s books have had book cover updates (I guess not this one) and when they do things like that, it is easy to forget when a book is written. It sounds like the writing style is a product of its time. I’ve read Georgette Heyer before and never noticed it, but when I read the quote that you included, I had a difficult time just getting through that blurb. Very interesting indeed.

    • Jade Jade says:

      Alexis, I try to post a picture of the cover I read. There are actually like five or six different covers for this one book. I was amazed. I think you’re right about the writing style, it was so different. But I liked reading it and figuring it all out. People with no patience for things like that probably wouldn’t enjoy this book. I’m curious about the books by her you’ve read.

  3. Missie says:

    Agh! Shakespeare. I don’t think I could do that to myself again. High school was enough. LOL

    Something about the way you’ve described Kitty reminds me of Jane Austen’s Emma. Always wanting to help others. And Freddy seems like my kind of guy. I always fall hard for the unlikely hero types.

    • Jade Jade says:

      Missie I have seen comparisons out there b/t Heyer’s and Austen’s work. So they probably are alike in some ways. And I agree, I’m a sucker for the unlikely hero as well.

  4. Lena says:

    Well Jade, I would probably pass on this. I’m not a big historical fiction fan, especially if it’s anything like Shakespeare. I have to prepare for reads like that where I have to pay close attention so I don’t miss something or an underlying meaning. I wish I could get into them, but I just can’t. Or perhaps I just haven’t come across the right one yet.

    • Jade Jade says:

      Lena I don’t blame you. I had to hype myself up before I started reading it. And still I was not prepared for the language. And definitely skip if historicals aren’t your thing. Have you tried a Jude Deveraux yet. She started off my historical craze and I love everything she’s ever written. Maybe try her first.