Day 1143: Cousin Kate

Cover for Cousin KateCousin Kate was one of the novels that I could read for the 1968 Club, during which we read books for the year chosen. Since I love Georgette Heyer, I was delighted to reread it.

Heyer’s Regency romances usually fit into one of two categories—straight romance or romantic suspense—both laced with humor and wit. Cousin Kate fits in the latter category.

Kate Malvern returns with some dismay to the home of her nurse, Sarah Nidd. She has lost her position as governess, because her employer’s brother made an offer of marriage. As she continues looking for a new position, she realizes her lack of success is due to both her lack of credentials and her good looks. She begins to talk wildly of taking a job as an abigail or a seamstress.

Kate’s mother’s family cut her mother off when she married Kate’s ramshackle father. But Kate’s father had a half-sister whom Kate has not met, Lady Broome. Unbeknownst to Kate, Sarah writes to Lady Broome hoping she will offer Kate a home.

She does, but shortly after arriving at the stately Staplewood, Kate realizes it is not a happy home. Sir Timothy is in frail health and lives in his own wing. Nineteen-year-old Torquil is also subject to headaches and extremely volatile in his behavior. He is constantly attended by either his man, Badger, or Dr. Delabole. Lady Broome claims to have work for Kate, but the household runs smoothly, and Kate, used to being active, is soon bored. Lady Broome also showers her with gifts, which makes her uncomfortable.

1968 club logoSir Timothy’s nephew, Philip, arrives. At first, he seems disdainful of her, but soon he is urging her to leave. She does not see how she can do so without seeming ungrateful and hopes there will be something she can do for Lady Broome. Little does she know that there is.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated the truly silly humor of some of Heyer’s funnier novels most. So, Cousin Kate is not one of my favorites. That being said, it still features an engaging heroine, witty dialogue, and an interesting plot. It is hard to go wrong with Heyer for a light, cozy read.

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9 thoughts on “Day 1143: Cousin Kate

  1. Helen October 30, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    This was one of the first Heyer novels I read and I remember really enjoying it, although it’s no longer one of my favourites now that I’ve read more of her books. I liked the gothic elements in this one, as I hadn’t expected that from Heyer.

    • whatmeread October 31, 2017 / 11:06 am

      I liked the more romantic ones when I was younger, and now I prefer the sillier ones. For the slightly gothic, I like The Reluctant Widow or The Quiet Gentleman.

  2. Simon T October 30, 2017 / 5:58 pm

    How have I still not read any Heyer? Maybe this isn’t the best place for me to start, but it’s a good reminder to get one of hers read at SOME point soon.

    • whatmeread October 31, 2017 / 10:59 am

      This is a puzzling lapse indeed! Just kidding.

  3. Karen K. November 2, 2017 / 3:24 am

    I also read Cousin Kate and I agree, a fun diversion, but not her best. But Torquil was downright creepy and it was interesting to see her take on mental illness, which I imagine wasn’t much written about in the context of romance novels back in the 1960s.

  4. Naomi November 2, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    I’ve never read anything by Heyer, but I’ll keep my eyes out for her – I’ve heard other bloggers praise her books as well.

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