Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (1953)

      It’s an issue of money and marriage…alas the stuff regency love is made of. However there is a twist. The orphaned Miss Kitty Charing stands to become a very rich girl, an heiress if she wishes to be so but only if she obeys the odd request of her miser guardian Uncle Matthew. The catch is that she must marry one of her guardian’s nephews of which there are quite a few. Not a problem when Kitty has  always cared deeply for one of the nephews: Jack.  However when the suitors are summoned and told of the situation…Jack never arrives or offers his hand. Therefore if Kitty is to escape her life at Arnside and be provided for, she must marry another. If she does not, she will be left penniless when her guardian dies with no where to go.

Freddy Standen is an amiable if somewhat absent-minded man. Among all the other possible suitors the dandy Freddy is the one considered least likely to propose to marry Kitty. While many of the suitors need the money Kitty will inherit, Freddy is well provided for and much more concerned with his wardrobe than the attentions of a young lady. This is why Kitty immediately decides Freddy will be the perfect man to help her escape to London and find a way out of her situation through a pretend engagement.

The pretend engagement soon finds both Kitty and Freddy navigating the waters of a sparkling London and all it’s diversions. Throw in a few mixed up love connections with the re-apperance of the man Kitty loves and a drop of scandal and you have a novel that will keep you deep within it’s pages long into the night. Georgette Heyer takes a classic mixed up love scenario and makes it so much more in Cotillion. Adding layer upon layer of intrigue, humor and love story, Heyer manages to create a novel of depth and light-heartedness at the same time while providing sub-plot after sub-plot that will intrigue readers from the very first page.

Who will Kitty marry? Will true love prevail or is there a love lurking nearby of which she never suspected? A detailed cast of characters and a perfectly timed plot all reveal Kitty’s fate. A must read Heyer!

  (A Favor by Edmund Blair Leighton)

What’s in a cover?

 Ever wonder where the cover art of the Georgette Heyer novels published by Sourcebooks comes from? Novembers Autumn shows us a few examples of works of art transposed onto book covers here.

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

11 responses to “Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (1953)

  1. Mary Preston

    Poor Kitty!! COTILLION sounds like a fun read. A must read: I shall thank you.


  2. How scary and disheartening to find yourself in the situation that you MUST marry someone you don’t love in order to not end up on the streets penniless! Women really didnt have very many options back then, did they? It sounds like Ms. Heyer packs in plenty of twists and turns to make it comical and interesting to follow however. Thanks for the review!

  3. I just got this to read as I’ve heard it’s hilarious and sweet — just what I need now and then!

  4. Danielle

    Thank you for the link detailing the cover art. I must admit that part of what drew me to first read “Cotillion” was the beautiful cover (and I’ll admit it: I kind of want to be one those girls).

    Will you be doing a post on Georgette Heyer’s life in general? I’d love to learn more about her.

  5. stilettostorytime

    Danielle- I am not sure if we are going to have a biographical post this month at this time but I can recommend a recently re-released Heyer biography you might like: “The Private World of Georgette Heyer” by Jane Aiken-Hodge. Here is a recent review from the fabulous Austenprose site:

  6. I’ve only read about five or six of her books so far, but this was my least favorite. It still was better than a lot of other books – don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there wasn’t much to like about Jack and there were a lot of mini romances that were just that — mini. They seemed to be more … manufactured because they fit the plot at that moment than something that was developed between two people. It was still a clever story and I enjoyed a lot about it. The characters were very believable … there was a lot to like. I just wasn’t quite as happy with the romance in this one.

  7. So this what everyone was suggesting I should read. I definitely like anything with lots of intrigue and sub-plots to keep things interesting. Great post!

  8. Laura W

    Cotillion is wonderful. Minor spoiler: the plot follows, in part, the cotillion dance, which is similar to a square dance. The share the square formation and some of the basic steps, though not of course music or style!

    I’m a big fan of the false-betrothal plot trope. It’s the plot for my own (unfinished) Regency novel manuscript!

    Thank you for the link to the blog with the Sourcebook artwork!

  9. elderflower

    This is one of Heyer’s funniest novels, which makes it one of my favorites. I just re-read it after 30 years, and it sent me into the very same uncontrollable fits of giggles. I don’t think this one would appeal to devoted romance-novel readers, but to Jane Austen fanciers — you have a treat in store!

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