Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer's Cotillion is romantic, hilarious, delightfully unconventional, and one of my all-time favorite books. For some unfathomable reason, Cotillion is rarely reprinted, so I was thrilled when Sourcebooks announced that this outstanding historical romance would be one of their Fall titles.

Kitty Charing is the sole heir to her eccentric guardian’s fortune—as long as she agrees to marry one of his grandnephews. Unfortunately, Kitty's grandnephew-of-choice, dashing rake Jack Westruther, shows no signs of proposing. In an effort to make Jack jealous, Kitty begs amiable, kind-hearted Freddy Standen, another of her guardian’s grandnephews, to pretend to be engaged to her. Freddy is unenthusiastic about this plan, but—luckily for Kitty—he’s also a total pushover. Their faux betrothal allows Kitty to travel to London, where Freddy arranges for her to spend a month with his sister.

London turns out to be a hotbed of over-the-top romantic hijinks. Freddy’s dim-witted cousin Lord Dolphinton is secretly engaged to a highly unsuitable young woman, and he wants Kitty to help him deceive his mother. Both Jack and Kitty’s French cousin Camille are pursuing Kitty’s beautiful friend Olivia: Camille because he’s in love with her, Jack because he wants to make her his mistress. Meanwhile, Kitty is still nursing her crush on Jack (unaware of his dishonorable attentions to Olivia), but she’s growing increasingly attached to her fake fiancée....

Like Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Heyer’s Cotillion pokes a little gentle fun at genre fiction. Cotillion features all of the ingredients for a typical romance novel (false identities, dashing rakes, indecent proposals, etc.), but its hero and heroine are completely atypical. Freddy and Kitty begin the novel as friends, maintain an affectionate relationship throughout, and, after discovering one another’s many good qualities, quietly fall in love. Freddy isn’t suave or handsome, and Kitty isn’t beautiful or seductive, but together they make up one of Heyer’s most memorable and charming romantic pairs.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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