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"Sparkling"-Independent on Sunday

"A literary bubble bath...Take a delightful and frothy dip among the gayer aspects of the author's favorite and well worked Regency period."-Sunday Tribune

Almost an heiress
Country-bred, spirited Kitty Charings is on the brink of inheriting a fortune from her eccentric guardian - provided that she marries one of his grandnephews. Kitty has spent her secluded life pining for the handsome, rakish Jack, who is well aware of her attachment.

A plan of her own
But when Jack fails to respond to his greatuncle's ultimatum, Kitty hatches a strategy of her own - a counterfeit betrothal to mildmannered Freddy Standen (who neither needs nor wants the money).

A most unlikely hero
And when Kitty's generous heart leads to all sorts of unintended troubles, there is only one man who can rescue her from more than one dreadful fix, pick up the pieces of her plotting and in the process her heart...

"Thus begins Cotillion, arguably the funniest, most charming of Georgette Heyer's many delightful Regency romances." - Amazon.co.uk

Topics: Arranged Marriage, Regency Era, London, Inheritance, Cousins, Heiress, Jealousy, Witty, and Uncles

Published: Sourcebooks on
ISBN: 9781402233159
List price: $13.99
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The exclamation points! Are overused! It's very difficult to read! Unless the author intends for the characters to say everything emphatically!more
The exclamation points! Are overused! It's very difficult to read! Unless the author intends for the characters to say everything emphatically!more
My favorite Georgette Heyer!more
When her eccentric guardian offers to leave his entire fortune to whichever of his great-nephews can convince her to accept a marriage proposal, headstrong Kitty Charing decides that the only possible course of action open to her is running away to London. Reluctantly assisted by her "cousin" Freddy Standen, who agrees to enter into a sham engagement with her, Kitty loses no time in involving herself in the romantic affairs of those around her, from slow-witted "cousin" Dolph to the beautiful and innocent Miss Olivia Broughty. But will her schemes bring her the love she herself desires...?Like many of Georgette Heyer's novels, Cotillion is a light-hearted romantic adventure, complete with all the quirky and endearing characters, witty dialogue, and charming coincidence that one would expect. That said, this novel makes reference to darker realities than usually seen in a Heyer creation, offering a rather sickening portrayal of the intersection of class and gender in nineteenth-century England. The precarious position of Olivia Broughty, vis-a-vis the upper-class men who become interested in her, was really quite disturbing, and never was a character more in need of a good punch than Jack Westruther. But despite his most welcome comeuppance, and Olivia's "rescue," one never gets the feeling that Heyer really repudiates the double-standard she so ably depicts, creating an unwelcome discordant note in a novel that resembles nothing so much as a spun-sugar fairytale.more
I have not laughed out loud so much in a while. This was the most fun kind of froth.more
Perfect example of it's class. It stands the test of time as well or better than Jane Austin.more
It's the first Georgette Heyer I read, after swearing I would look for Georgette Heyer books and read all her romances (thanks, Susan Elizabeth Phillips).

It plunged me into Heyer's world, and it was a wonderful experience. I found out why Georgette Heyer is the person to go to for a historical romance. Her characters are lively, and don't take themselves too seriously. It would seem like Georgette Heyer makes fun of her own genre by deliberately making the broody bad-boy cynical type of guy most romance novels have for a hero, into the character that doesn't get the girl. How many times have we read this kind of hero? In Cotillion, our hero would typically be cast as a secondary character. He's a dandy (le gasp), whom everyone likes, and seemingly ordinary.

And what I came to love about this book, is how Heyer turns ordinary people into heroes and heroines. Freddy isn't describe as super hot and goodlooking. Kitty is not the most beautiful girl you would meet. It's so realistic. It makes you believe, you, an "ordinary" reader can be a heroine of your own story and find romance as well.

Cotillion is somehow very modern (the way historical romances go), in an old setting. The characters don't lust after one another. It's a neat, sweet and quiet romance, which is a kind of love story I don't usually encounter. And, to tell the truth, reading about perfect heroes and heroines have been making me feel bad about myself. If I have to read about another heroine who is so unconscious about how so very beautiful and perfect she is, I am going to scream.

Kitty and Freddy are such regular and good citizens, I can't help but like them. (Imagine Kitty's horror when she found out what a masquerade ball really was. And I've come across so many romance novels where the heroine meets the hero in a masquerade, only to find out it's an excuse to be sexually promiscuous without ruining your reputation).

Cotillion is a breath of fresh air.more
A bit of a slow, uneven start to it, but once Heyer introduces everyone and sets the chaos dial to 11, it hits its stride with hilarious results. It's the most fun I've had reading in a good long while.more
One of the better Heyers, though not my top favorite. I sometimes think she had a standard cast of character types but took turns which ones were the hero and heroine. In this case, the hero is the Fop who is usually a secondary comic character in the other books. However, he stands up to the dashing buck who is more often the hero in her other books.more
Kitty Charing's guardian has issued an ultimatum. She will receive his wealth only if she marries one of his great-nephews, a situation Kitty finds repulsive. Particularly because Jack has not shown up to offer for her. However, when she lights on the idea of entering into a false engagement with Jack's cousin, Freddy, she's convinced she can make things turn her way during her month in London. Of course, she has as little an idea of what her way actually will turn out to be as any of the men in her life.I've been meaning to read Georgette Heyer for years and I'm sad it took me so long to discover the delights that is this novel. Her ability to effortless evoke the Regency period is awe-inspiring and her characters and plots are full of charm. The novel is full of sly humour and just a dash of romance that makes the narrative worthwhile. I fell in love with Kitty as a precocious heroine and Freddy as the slang spouting, slightly dandyish accomplice in her plots. Their exploits were thoroughly enjoyable and I was charmed and amused throughout. I will definitely be reading more Heyer in the near future.more
Convinced he's near death, Matthew Penicuik determines to leave his fortune to his ward, Kitty Charing, on one condition: that she marry one of his great-nephews. Kitty has no interest in any of them except for Jack Westruther, who also happens to be his uncle's favorite despite his wild nature. When Jack doesn't show up with the rest of his cousins in answer to their uncle's summons, Kitty convinces cousin Freddy to pretend to be engaged to her. As Freddy's fiancee, Kitty will have an excuse to travel to London and make Jack jealous enough to offer for her. However, Kitty's plan soon escapes her control.I've read several of Heyer's mysteries, but this was my first experience with the historical romances she's primarily known for. I found Kitty to be a charming heroine, even though her naivety occasionally annoyed me. The story doesn't read like a Jane Austen novel, yet I can see Kitty fitting comfortably into one of Austen's works. She reminds me most of Emma with her well-intentioned impulsiveness that more often than not gets her into trouble. This is a sweet, funny romance that had me alternately laughing and crying. Enthusiastically recommended.more
I adore this book! I think there's plenty of romance in it, I enjoyed watching Freddy and Kitty scramble through Kitty's plans--and failed plans. Watching Freddy develop his feelings for Kitty was one of the best things about the novel--it was so subtle, but I knew I could see it, though I was dreading the thought that she was still might be in love with Jack anyway, who seems to have no good qualities.I checked it out from the library wanting some romance, and I think Cotillion fit the bill perfectly. Georgette Heyer is always a good read.more
Kitty Charing has been brought up by her rich guardian, Matthew Penicuik. Out of the blue, Matthew decides to name Kitty as his heiress, but with conditions: she will only receive it if she marries one of his great-nephews. The horrid thing is the cousin she wants to marry (Jack) doesn’t even come to claim her hand, leaving her to pick from the rest of her weird cousins or be left destitute. She plans to runaway and runs into Freddy Standen another cousin who arrives unaware of his uncle's intentions. Being a favorite of hers, she begs him to fake propose and take her to finally see London under the guise of being introduced to his parents. They plan that after a month they'll quietly break it off and at least she would have seen London. Her real plan of course is to make Jack jealous and force him to finally propose, but what if Freddy is really the one for her?This book was hilarious. Both Freddy and Kitty willingly put themselves in this farce, and although he knows Kitty has another plan he doesn't know it involves the rakish Jack. Kitty sounds pretty conniving, yet I wouldn't call her that in a negative way...like she's crafty in a sweet way? If that makes any sense, and I love Freddy. He is the weirdest hero for sure. He’s described as being a dandy, very much interested in clothes and the latest fashion. Look at this description of him:"When he relinquished his coat, his hat, his cane, and his gloves into the landlord's hands, a slight look of anxiety was in his face, but as soon as a penetrating glance at the mirror had satisfied him that the high points of his shirt-collar were uncrumpled, and the intricacies of a virgin cravat no more disarranged than a touch would set to rights, the anxious look disappeared, and he was able to turn his attention to other matters."I guess he was the Ryan Seacrest of his day or something, and he doesn't readily seem like a hero at all. I think that's what’s so cool about this book, because of his growing love for Kitty he becomes a hero doing things he would not normally do. He becomes someone she can rely on, and he goes out of his way to make sure her wishes are granted. I love the trust between the two, and how he does everything in his power to help the people she loves.I know some people have issues about the extreme details on all aspects of regency life in Heyer novels, but it wasn't that bad. The language confused me sometimes, but I liked reading all the regency slang (dashed well making a cake of me!), and the view of fashionable London through Kitty’s eyes.OverallI’m not an expert on Georgette Heyer, or if this is good book to start with. I often hear that if you are new to her novels you should start with Frederica, Venetia, or The Grand Sophy, but I really enjoyed Cotillion. It was witty, and fun to see all the couples in this book end up with who they should.more
really enjoyed this one & I can’t tell you why without spoiling it. Kitty’s guardian decides to leave his large fortune to whichever of his nephews she decides to marry. She persuades one to take her to London so she can pursue another while two others Disapprove. Once there she gets involved in a number of scrapes & needs rescuing. This was laugh out loud funnymore
Kitty Charing has lived all of her life under the protection of her eccentric guardian uncle. He has decided that in order for Kitty to inherit she will have to marry one of his nephews. Kitty is not completely against the idea, as long as the right one proposes. She has set her heart of Jack Westruther who has no present inclination to be forced into any kind of marriage, being a dreadful rake and flirt. In an act of desperation she convinces her honorable cousin Freddy Standen to pretend to be engaged to her in an effort to make Jack jealous. Things do not go as smoothly as planned for Kitty as she has a lot of lessons to learn about life and love. I have enjoyed reading Georgette Heyer novels in the past because her plots are always so much fun to read and she has such a wonderful way of making Regency England come alive. I found that I enjoyed this one the best so far out of the ones I have read by her. The characters really do sparkle off the page, they are clever, funny and eccentric. The dialogue was also at times so funny I found myself chuckling. I had a hard time putting this book down. As with any Georgette Heyer novel the descriptions of gowns and clothes were so vivid I could imagine what each character was wearing. I can’t say enough just how much I enjoyed reading this book it truly was charming, funny and delightful.more
I think Freddy is one of my favourite Heyer heroes so far, and this story of a pretend engagement was good fun.more
Despite being indelibly stamped with Heyer's most infuriating trademarks - snub-nosed debutante 'Heyeroine', Regency London populated with 1930s socialites, and an overdose of 'flash' slang - I actually quite enjoyed 'Cotillion'. Freddy Standen, and his extended eccentric family, are delightful. Heyer's novels always remind of Wodehouse without the wit, and Freddy must be Bertie Wooster's ancestor. He speaks in a laconic drawl, peppered with phrases like 'dash it!' and 'buffle-headed', 'cork-brained' and 'doing it much too brown', and cares more about the cut of a waistcoat or the tying of a cravat than Sir Percy Blakeney - or a gay stereotype (and if this wasn't a Heyer novel, I would have to wonder). It's a pity that his 'Pink of the Ton' persona is not a clever rouse to hide his razor-sharp intellect and superhero strength, like the Pimpernel, but Freddy is a decent chap for all that. His family - Lord and Lady Legerwood and numerous siblings - are just as scatty, and wonderfully entertaining.Poor Freddy gets bamboozled into betrothal by the obnoxious Heyeroine of the hour, Kitty Charing, who stands to inherit her miserly guardian's fortune - if she will marry one of his great nephews. The selection of caricatures she can choose from is hardly inspiring - a pompous rector, a halfwit, a rake and Freddy. Not surprisingly, Kitty is less than enthusiastic, and runs away from home after being proposed to en masse by two of her mercenary suitors - only to run into nice but dim Freddy Standen on her way to London. The poor man, who insists that he 'ain't in the petticoat line', tries to resist Kitty's logic that a token engagement to the least harmless of her guardian's nephews would safeguard her inheritance, but that would be a short, sensible novel and not at all Heyer's style. So Freddy agrees to her plan, takes her to London to meet his family (although not a soul believes that they are actually engaged), and all sorts of Heyer hijinks ensue.The title of this novel captures the essence of the plot - the dance involves couples changing partners, and the word 'cotillion' comes from the French for petticoat! Kitty is supposed to be with Freddy but only to make his cousin jealous. Austenesque rogue Jack Westruther knows exactly what game Kitty is playing, but thinks to teach her a lesson by keeping her dangling. Olivia Broughty, Kitty's pretty protege, is already a victim of Jack's charms, but falls in love with Kitty's French cousin, the Chevalier d'Evron (or Chevron, as I call him). Whereas Freddy's other cousin Dolph, an imbecile who also talks in note form, has managed to find a woman capable of looking after him, but is too scared of his mother to act. Soon, lead couple Kitty and Freddy are too busy keeping the other dancers in sequence to notice that they are perfectly in step with each other. Kitty drove me mad, as usual with Heyer's gurgling poppets, but I love the Standen family, and Freddy's belated proposal really made me smile, bless him. The Regency cant is overdone - 'Talking flash! Forgot myself!' - and the characters sound like they have escaped from a 1920s house party (Kitty and Freddy, who have a jolly time in London, and his friend Jasper), but it's all good light fun.more
This is not my favorite Heyer, but it was still enjoyable.more
Masterful. Every detail accounted for.more
This book was a light and fun read. It was much better than the other regency romance novels that I have read (mainly other authors' continuations of Jane Austen's novels). Georgette Heyer did her research well, and all the characters act like what you would expect someone from that era to act like. The only thing I didn't like was that I found it hard to understand Freddy at times, since he used a lot of slang and didn't like to speak in complete sentences.more
Yes, I am a male. And I just finished my first Georgette Heyer novel.Kill me now.Actually, I found Cotillion to be an engaging, sparkling read, with memorable characters, great humor, and very little that was gushy or sentimental. It is a romance in that is about a boy and a girl, and of course ends with a wedding, but by virtue of its winning scenario it almost manages to transcend the genre. I enjoyed it greatly.The great parade of colorful people that Heyer marches past us in no way distracts from the major plot, which centers on the orphaned heiress Kitty Charing. As her guardian Mr. Penicuik likes her a great deal more than his real family, he decides to bequeath his entire fortune upon her, but familial loyalty is not so lost on him that he cuts them out entirely. Instead, he states that in order to inherit the fortune, she must marry one of his great-nephews, and invites several of them to his manor in order that they may make offers for her. This, of course, puts Kit in a real fix. George is married and thus ineligible. Claud is away in the army and cruel into the bargain. Hugh is a stuffy, disparaging cleric. Lord Dolphinton, while kinder than these others, is a little “queer in his attic” (aka brainless). Mr. Jack Westruther, that charming rake, has made Kit’s girlish heart beat gleefully for years, but he does not come for her. That leaves Freddy Standen, foppish, plain, but kindly. He is unaware of his uncle’s intentions in sending for him, and is moreover “not a marrying man!” But Kit wheedles him until he enters into a sham engagement with her, thus enabling her to go to London, where she may enjoy all the delights of her first season and perhaps make Mr. Westruther mad with jealousy.I cannot get over how wonderful Heyer’s characters are. At first I wasn’t sure I liked Kit, what with her crush on Jack and her manipulative plot to get to London—she seemed a little too flighty and self-centered. But she really grows in awareness as she navigates the social whirlwind that is London-town, and in the end I came to love her. Freddy, on the other hand, I liked from the start. It was sometimes difficult to follow his syntax (personal pronouns are often omitted, which is also the case with Dolphinton), not to mention his idioms, and at times I wished I was listening to it on audiobook, with a Regency Slang Dictionary beside me. But his use of language really adds to his character, along with his passion for good manners and good clothes. This is not to say he’s ridiculous; he’s also quite wise, as Kitty remarks late in the novel. But more on that later. My favorite supporting character has to be Mr. Penicuik, a delightfully wicked old man who seems to care a little for Kit despite his basically selfish nature. This is a Lionel Barrymore role if ever there was one. Kitty’s companion Miss Fishguard is also a hoot; I how she tiptoes in and out of rooms, not to mention her unending references to contemporary poetry (and, in one letter, Henry VIII!). Freddy’s father is delightfully sarcastic and perceptive, and his sister Meg is an interesting and dynamic character; if she does not seem to have learned her lesson as well as Kitty by the end of the book, I suppose that’s how life is sometimes. I would have liked to see a little more of Jack, to get a better idea of the danger in his character without going into Miller & Boom territory. All the other cousins are drawn and delineated very well, particularly Dolph.What really made me love this novel, though, and what I feel elevates it from being “just” a Regency romance, is the moral awareness Heyer shows of the situations she plunges her characters into. When in London, Kit encounters and befriends members of various social strata and ethical persuasions, which plunges her into some awkward situations. In the end, I think she finds that one should neither be prideful of one’s class nor thoughtless of the problems that unfortunate acquaintances may cause, and I love her all the more for it. Freddy is the moral bedrock on which many of the other characters rely; he always knows when something’s “not the thing,” and rescues both Kitty and Meg when their reputations may be in danger. The masquerade at the Opera House may be my favorite part of the book simply because Freddy shows how worthy he is of emulation.I took half a star away from my rating simply because I found the last couple of chapters rather contrived. Everything ends up pretty much as it should, but I found it hard to believe that so many of the major characters were thrown together for the finale, while others could have used more of a follow-up—Meg, for instance, and Mr. Penicuik and the Fish.Heyer is not at all the sort of author I would have thought to pick up on my own, and I have to thank LibraryThingers wisewoman and ChocolateMuse for bringing her to my attention, as well as for urging me to put off other novels of hers, and wait for this one to become available instead. Well, it was worth the wait. It was worth the public humiliation the rather unmanly cover brought down upon me. It made me laugh and cheer and say “Dash it, Kit!” at random times during the day. I highly recommend it.more
I love Georgette Heyer, and it's no surprise that I loved Cotillion. I wouldn't have bothered to write a review except that it occurred to me that Freddy is the quintessential male of my parents' generation. He's a simple soul, wanting only his creature comforts and a life regulated by the precepts that he knows are right. His Kitty is perhaps more complex, but she needs him because his precepts are built on a more complete knowledge of the world than hers, and because he is dependable, and most of all because he loves her. I also found the first half to lag a bit, but was swept away enjoyably after that to the end. Floreant Freddy and Kit!more
This is a difficult one to rate; the first half was so silly and so boring I almost started skimming. It reads like third-drawer Wodehouse; I love Wodehouse, but Heyer wasn't witty enough to pull it off. Now, the second half of the book was a great improvement - the barest hints of the romance begin to manifest, and the plot takes on some urgency. The last few chapters were marvellous, and I was entirely on their side by the last. If she could have sustained that quality through the entire book, it would be a five star rating above. If I had stopped reading halfway through, I would have given it two stars at best.more
I came to Cotillion with all the air of one giving an author a second chance, and so I was. I had previously tried Georgette Heyer's Lady of Quality, but didn't find it congenial. The characters seemed too modern for their setting, and I think my expectations had been too high (someone had recommended Heyer to fans of Jane Austen). Fortunately, I bumped into another Heyer fan, and asked the question that had been bothering me since I dropped Lady of Quality: Why do so many readers praise Heyer to the skies? The answer was simple; I'd started with the wrong book. This blessed fan gave me a list of good titles to start with, and Cotillion was mentioned. When I saw it on audiobook at the library, I decided to give it a try, and I'm thrilled that I did. This is the story of Kitty Charing, the young ward of miserly old Mr. Pennycook. Mr. Pennycook has five great-nephews, and wants Kitty to marry his favorite Jack Westruther, the dashing man of the town. To ensure this, Mr. Pennycook decides to leave all his money to Kitty only on condition that she marry one of his great-nephews. Kitty, who has lived a sheltered life in the country, is in love with Jack, but Jack flouts his great-uncle's summons and leaves Kitty to receive offers from the other cousins. This simply will not serve; Lord Dolphinton is a dolt, albeit a very lovable and funny dolt. Hugh is an austere and strict rector. George is already married. Claude is in the army and can't come. And Freddie, stolid and fastidious, is like a brother to Kitty. Jack is the one she really wants, but how is he to be got? Kitty convinces Freddie to offer for her so that she can go to London under a sham engagement. Freddie is very reluctant to do this, but Kitty's tears soon convince him. The two set off for London, where Kitty will enjoy all the delights — and complications — of her first season. From the first she gets mixed up in all kinds of little imbroglios, all in service of her friends. We get a very good picture of London society at that time, and not just the proper parts. I don't mean that Heyer indulges in Harlequin-romance style descriptions, not at all. The tone of the narrative is always proper and refined, and Kitty shows scruples that would be fitting for an Austen heroine. It's just that we learn a little of the possible fate of impoverished beauties who have no fortune or connections to recommend them for a good match.The final chapter is, in a word, satisfying. At one point I actually clapped my hands with glee over what happens. It's just that good! I don't want to give it away, so I will be mysterious here, but I will say that the final chapter fulfilled all my hopes for the characters. As the story progressed, I began to suspect that Heyer wasn't going to end it the way I wanted, and it overjoyed me when she did. I have a theory about the title (a cotillion is a French dance) but I think it might be spoilerish, so I won't go into it. Anyhow, the last chapter is so fun that I listened to it twice.Heyer's humor comes through brilliantly. The character names are delightfully Dickensian (Mr Pennycook, Mr. Pluckly, Miss Plimstock, "the Fish," etc.) and add to the humorous feel of the story. The comedic aspects are truly enjoyable and reminded me sometimes of P. G. Wodehouse. Heyer is not so laugh-out-loud funny as Wodehouse, and her situations are rarely as absurd, but there is a playful amusement with imbecility and with good old British slang. I have always enjoyed British slang, and Freddie supplies that in rich measure. I love his constant, exasperated "Dash it, Kit!" The dialogue is great, and one of the more effective devices that Heyer uses is to remove the personal pronoun when certain characters are speaking. Instead of saying, "I went to find you," certain characters might say, "Went to find you." Used consistently, it gives the speaker a distinctive voice and translates fantastically to audiobook. Phyllida Nash does an amazing job of dramatizing the story, and her character voices are superb. I was especially impressed with how she handled the male roles. I'm convinced that her reading greatly influenced my enjoyment of the story, and I thank her for helping me to enjoy Heyer properly for the first time. Overall, this is a most enjoyable story with well-written characters, wonderful humor, and an ending that will make you cheer. Highly recommended!more
One of the wonderful things about this book is that the hero isn't a typical Heyer Georgian romance hero. He is beautifully dressed yes, but isn't exceptional, but does have a great deal of common sense. Although the reader really wants Kitty to chose him, its really not certain that she will make the right decision. As always the prose is delightful and fun. Fantastic.more
I have never read a Georgette Heyer and I saw this as I was shelving and thought why not? She has been enormously popular for years and there must be some reason. Cotillion was a fun light romp with characters as they should be and a perfect outcome. I doubt if it will convert me to Regency romances, that would require more than a delightful little bit of wonder, but I would not hesitate to suggest it to readers who want something delicious, not taxing and upbeat.more
Absolutely loved it! So far, my favorite Georgette Heyer next to Frederica. The leading male character was not at all like the typical hero. His way of talking left me in stitches so many times! Definitely a must read if you are a Regency genre fan.more
"Dash it" if this isn't the original chick lit! I enjoyed this book immensely. Written in the 1950s it nicely upholds the comedic tradition of that time of wrapping up the story with as many weddings as possible. I shall definitely seek out other books by Ms. Heyer.more
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Reviews

The exclamation points! Are overused! It's very difficult to read! Unless the author intends for the characters to say everything emphatically!more
The exclamation points! Are overused! It's very difficult to read! Unless the author intends for the characters to say everything emphatically!more
My favorite Georgette Heyer!more
When her eccentric guardian offers to leave his entire fortune to whichever of his great-nephews can convince her to accept a marriage proposal, headstrong Kitty Charing decides that the only possible course of action open to her is running away to London. Reluctantly assisted by her "cousin" Freddy Standen, who agrees to enter into a sham engagement with her, Kitty loses no time in involving herself in the romantic affairs of those around her, from slow-witted "cousin" Dolph to the beautiful and innocent Miss Olivia Broughty. But will her schemes bring her the love she herself desires...?Like many of Georgette Heyer's novels, Cotillion is a light-hearted romantic adventure, complete with all the quirky and endearing characters, witty dialogue, and charming coincidence that one would expect. That said, this novel makes reference to darker realities than usually seen in a Heyer creation, offering a rather sickening portrayal of the intersection of class and gender in nineteenth-century England. The precarious position of Olivia Broughty, vis-a-vis the upper-class men who become interested in her, was really quite disturbing, and never was a character more in need of a good punch than Jack Westruther. But despite his most welcome comeuppance, and Olivia's "rescue," one never gets the feeling that Heyer really repudiates the double-standard she so ably depicts, creating an unwelcome discordant note in a novel that resembles nothing so much as a spun-sugar fairytale.more
I have not laughed out loud so much in a while. This was the most fun kind of froth.more
Perfect example of it's class. It stands the test of time as well or better than Jane Austin.more
It's the first Georgette Heyer I read, after swearing I would look for Georgette Heyer books and read all her romances (thanks, Susan Elizabeth Phillips).

It plunged me into Heyer's world, and it was a wonderful experience. I found out why Georgette Heyer is the person to go to for a historical romance. Her characters are lively, and don't take themselves too seriously. It would seem like Georgette Heyer makes fun of her own genre by deliberately making the broody bad-boy cynical type of guy most romance novels have for a hero, into the character that doesn't get the girl. How many times have we read this kind of hero? In Cotillion, our hero would typically be cast as a secondary character. He's a dandy (le gasp), whom everyone likes, and seemingly ordinary.

And what I came to love about this book, is how Heyer turns ordinary people into heroes and heroines. Freddy isn't describe as super hot and goodlooking. Kitty is not the most beautiful girl you would meet. It's so realistic. It makes you believe, you, an "ordinary" reader can be a heroine of your own story and find romance as well.

Cotillion is somehow very modern (the way historical romances go), in an old setting. The characters don't lust after one another. It's a neat, sweet and quiet romance, which is a kind of love story I don't usually encounter. And, to tell the truth, reading about perfect heroes and heroines have been making me feel bad about myself. If I have to read about another heroine who is so unconscious about how so very beautiful and perfect she is, I am going to scream.

Kitty and Freddy are such regular and good citizens, I can't help but like them. (Imagine Kitty's horror when she found out what a masquerade ball really was. And I've come across so many romance novels where the heroine meets the hero in a masquerade, only to find out it's an excuse to be sexually promiscuous without ruining your reputation).

Cotillion is a breath of fresh air.more
A bit of a slow, uneven start to it, but once Heyer introduces everyone and sets the chaos dial to 11, it hits its stride with hilarious results. It's the most fun I've had reading in a good long while.more
One of the better Heyers, though not my top favorite. I sometimes think she had a standard cast of character types but took turns which ones were the hero and heroine. In this case, the hero is the Fop who is usually a secondary comic character in the other books. However, he stands up to the dashing buck who is more often the hero in her other books.more
Kitty Charing's guardian has issued an ultimatum. She will receive his wealth only if she marries one of his great-nephews, a situation Kitty finds repulsive. Particularly because Jack has not shown up to offer for her. However, when she lights on the idea of entering into a false engagement with Jack's cousin, Freddy, she's convinced she can make things turn her way during her month in London. Of course, she has as little an idea of what her way actually will turn out to be as any of the men in her life.I've been meaning to read Georgette Heyer for years and I'm sad it took me so long to discover the delights that is this novel. Her ability to effortless evoke the Regency period is awe-inspiring and her characters and plots are full of charm. The novel is full of sly humour and just a dash of romance that makes the narrative worthwhile. I fell in love with Kitty as a precocious heroine and Freddy as the slang spouting, slightly dandyish accomplice in her plots. Their exploits were thoroughly enjoyable and I was charmed and amused throughout. I will definitely be reading more Heyer in the near future.more
Convinced he's near death, Matthew Penicuik determines to leave his fortune to his ward, Kitty Charing, on one condition: that she marry one of his great-nephews. Kitty has no interest in any of them except for Jack Westruther, who also happens to be his uncle's favorite despite his wild nature. When Jack doesn't show up with the rest of his cousins in answer to their uncle's summons, Kitty convinces cousin Freddy to pretend to be engaged to her. As Freddy's fiancee, Kitty will have an excuse to travel to London and make Jack jealous enough to offer for her. However, Kitty's plan soon escapes her control.I've read several of Heyer's mysteries, but this was my first experience with the historical romances she's primarily known for. I found Kitty to be a charming heroine, even though her naivety occasionally annoyed me. The story doesn't read like a Jane Austen novel, yet I can see Kitty fitting comfortably into one of Austen's works. She reminds me most of Emma with her well-intentioned impulsiveness that more often than not gets her into trouble. This is a sweet, funny romance that had me alternately laughing and crying. Enthusiastically recommended.more
I adore this book! I think there's plenty of romance in it, I enjoyed watching Freddy and Kitty scramble through Kitty's plans--and failed plans. Watching Freddy develop his feelings for Kitty was one of the best things about the novel--it was so subtle, but I knew I could see it, though I was dreading the thought that she was still might be in love with Jack anyway, who seems to have no good qualities.I checked it out from the library wanting some romance, and I think Cotillion fit the bill perfectly. Georgette Heyer is always a good read.more
Kitty Charing has been brought up by her rich guardian, Matthew Penicuik. Out of the blue, Matthew decides to name Kitty as his heiress, but with conditions: she will only receive it if she marries one of his great-nephews. The horrid thing is the cousin she wants to marry (Jack) doesn’t even come to claim her hand, leaving her to pick from the rest of her weird cousins or be left destitute. She plans to runaway and runs into Freddy Standen another cousin who arrives unaware of his uncle's intentions. Being a favorite of hers, she begs him to fake propose and take her to finally see London under the guise of being introduced to his parents. They plan that after a month they'll quietly break it off and at least she would have seen London. Her real plan of course is to make Jack jealous and force him to finally propose, but what if Freddy is really the one for her?This book was hilarious. Both Freddy and Kitty willingly put themselves in this farce, and although he knows Kitty has another plan he doesn't know it involves the rakish Jack. Kitty sounds pretty conniving, yet I wouldn't call her that in a negative way...like she's crafty in a sweet way? If that makes any sense, and I love Freddy. He is the weirdest hero for sure. He’s described as being a dandy, very much interested in clothes and the latest fashion. Look at this description of him:"When he relinquished his coat, his hat, his cane, and his gloves into the landlord's hands, a slight look of anxiety was in his face, but as soon as a penetrating glance at the mirror had satisfied him that the high points of his shirt-collar were uncrumpled, and the intricacies of a virgin cravat no more disarranged than a touch would set to rights, the anxious look disappeared, and he was able to turn his attention to other matters."I guess he was the Ryan Seacrest of his day or something, and he doesn't readily seem like a hero at all. I think that's what’s so cool about this book, because of his growing love for Kitty he becomes a hero doing things he would not normally do. He becomes someone she can rely on, and he goes out of his way to make sure her wishes are granted. I love the trust between the two, and how he does everything in his power to help the people she loves.I know some people have issues about the extreme details on all aspects of regency life in Heyer novels, but it wasn't that bad. The language confused me sometimes, but I liked reading all the regency slang (dashed well making a cake of me!), and the view of fashionable London through Kitty’s eyes.OverallI’m not an expert on Georgette Heyer, or if this is good book to start with. I often hear that if you are new to her novels you should start with Frederica, Venetia, or The Grand Sophy, but I really enjoyed Cotillion. It was witty, and fun to see all the couples in this book end up with who they should.more
really enjoyed this one & I can’t tell you why without spoiling it. Kitty’s guardian decides to leave his large fortune to whichever of his nephews she decides to marry. She persuades one to take her to London so she can pursue another while two others Disapprove. Once there she gets involved in a number of scrapes & needs rescuing. This was laugh out loud funnymore
Kitty Charing has lived all of her life under the protection of her eccentric guardian uncle. He has decided that in order for Kitty to inherit she will have to marry one of his nephews. Kitty is not completely against the idea, as long as the right one proposes. She has set her heart of Jack Westruther who has no present inclination to be forced into any kind of marriage, being a dreadful rake and flirt. In an act of desperation she convinces her honorable cousin Freddy Standen to pretend to be engaged to her in an effort to make Jack jealous. Things do not go as smoothly as planned for Kitty as she has a lot of lessons to learn about life and love. I have enjoyed reading Georgette Heyer novels in the past because her plots are always so much fun to read and she has such a wonderful way of making Regency England come alive. I found that I enjoyed this one the best so far out of the ones I have read by her. The characters really do sparkle off the page, they are clever, funny and eccentric. The dialogue was also at times so funny I found myself chuckling. I had a hard time putting this book down. As with any Georgette Heyer novel the descriptions of gowns and clothes were so vivid I could imagine what each character was wearing. I can’t say enough just how much I enjoyed reading this book it truly was charming, funny and delightful.more
I think Freddy is one of my favourite Heyer heroes so far, and this story of a pretend engagement was good fun.more
Despite being indelibly stamped with Heyer's most infuriating trademarks - snub-nosed debutante 'Heyeroine', Regency London populated with 1930s socialites, and an overdose of 'flash' slang - I actually quite enjoyed 'Cotillion'. Freddy Standen, and his extended eccentric family, are delightful. Heyer's novels always remind of Wodehouse without the wit, and Freddy must be Bertie Wooster's ancestor. He speaks in a laconic drawl, peppered with phrases like 'dash it!' and 'buffle-headed', 'cork-brained' and 'doing it much too brown', and cares more about the cut of a waistcoat or the tying of a cravat than Sir Percy Blakeney - or a gay stereotype (and if this wasn't a Heyer novel, I would have to wonder). It's a pity that his 'Pink of the Ton' persona is not a clever rouse to hide his razor-sharp intellect and superhero strength, like the Pimpernel, but Freddy is a decent chap for all that. His family - Lord and Lady Legerwood and numerous siblings - are just as scatty, and wonderfully entertaining.Poor Freddy gets bamboozled into betrothal by the obnoxious Heyeroine of the hour, Kitty Charing, who stands to inherit her miserly guardian's fortune - if she will marry one of his great nephews. The selection of caricatures she can choose from is hardly inspiring - a pompous rector, a halfwit, a rake and Freddy. Not surprisingly, Kitty is less than enthusiastic, and runs away from home after being proposed to en masse by two of her mercenary suitors - only to run into nice but dim Freddy Standen on her way to London. The poor man, who insists that he 'ain't in the petticoat line', tries to resist Kitty's logic that a token engagement to the least harmless of her guardian's nephews would safeguard her inheritance, but that would be a short, sensible novel and not at all Heyer's style. So Freddy agrees to her plan, takes her to London to meet his family (although not a soul believes that they are actually engaged), and all sorts of Heyer hijinks ensue.The title of this novel captures the essence of the plot - the dance involves couples changing partners, and the word 'cotillion' comes from the French for petticoat! Kitty is supposed to be with Freddy but only to make his cousin jealous. Austenesque rogue Jack Westruther knows exactly what game Kitty is playing, but thinks to teach her a lesson by keeping her dangling. Olivia Broughty, Kitty's pretty protege, is already a victim of Jack's charms, but falls in love with Kitty's French cousin, the Chevalier d'Evron (or Chevron, as I call him). Whereas Freddy's other cousin Dolph, an imbecile who also talks in note form, has managed to find a woman capable of looking after him, but is too scared of his mother to act. Soon, lead couple Kitty and Freddy are too busy keeping the other dancers in sequence to notice that they are perfectly in step with each other. Kitty drove me mad, as usual with Heyer's gurgling poppets, but I love the Standen family, and Freddy's belated proposal really made me smile, bless him. The Regency cant is overdone - 'Talking flash! Forgot myself!' - and the characters sound like they have escaped from a 1920s house party (Kitty and Freddy, who have a jolly time in London, and his friend Jasper), but it's all good light fun.more
This is not my favorite Heyer, but it was still enjoyable.more
Masterful. Every detail accounted for.more
This book was a light and fun read. It was much better than the other regency romance novels that I have read (mainly other authors' continuations of Jane Austen's novels). Georgette Heyer did her research well, and all the characters act like what you would expect someone from that era to act like. The only thing I didn't like was that I found it hard to understand Freddy at times, since he used a lot of slang and didn't like to speak in complete sentences.more
Yes, I am a male. And I just finished my first Georgette Heyer novel.Kill me now.Actually, I found Cotillion to be an engaging, sparkling read, with memorable characters, great humor, and very little that was gushy or sentimental. It is a romance in that is about a boy and a girl, and of course ends with a wedding, but by virtue of its winning scenario it almost manages to transcend the genre. I enjoyed it greatly.The great parade of colorful people that Heyer marches past us in no way distracts from the major plot, which centers on the orphaned heiress Kitty Charing. As her guardian Mr. Penicuik likes her a great deal more than his real family, he decides to bequeath his entire fortune upon her, but familial loyalty is not so lost on him that he cuts them out entirely. Instead, he states that in order to inherit the fortune, she must marry one of his great-nephews, and invites several of them to his manor in order that they may make offers for her. This, of course, puts Kit in a real fix. George is married and thus ineligible. Claud is away in the army and cruel into the bargain. Hugh is a stuffy, disparaging cleric. Lord Dolphinton, while kinder than these others, is a little “queer in his attic” (aka brainless). Mr. Jack Westruther, that charming rake, has made Kit’s girlish heart beat gleefully for years, but he does not come for her. That leaves Freddy Standen, foppish, plain, but kindly. He is unaware of his uncle’s intentions in sending for him, and is moreover “not a marrying man!” But Kit wheedles him until he enters into a sham engagement with her, thus enabling her to go to London, where she may enjoy all the delights of her first season and perhaps make Mr. Westruther mad with jealousy.I cannot get over how wonderful Heyer’s characters are. At first I wasn’t sure I liked Kit, what with her crush on Jack and her manipulative plot to get to London—she seemed a little too flighty and self-centered. But she really grows in awareness as she navigates the social whirlwind that is London-town, and in the end I came to love her. Freddy, on the other hand, I liked from the start. It was sometimes difficult to follow his syntax (personal pronouns are often omitted, which is also the case with Dolphinton), not to mention his idioms, and at times I wished I was listening to it on audiobook, with a Regency Slang Dictionary beside me. But his use of language really adds to his character, along with his passion for good manners and good clothes. This is not to say he’s ridiculous; he’s also quite wise, as Kitty remarks late in the novel. But more on that later. My favorite supporting character has to be Mr. Penicuik, a delightfully wicked old man who seems to care a little for Kit despite his basically selfish nature. This is a Lionel Barrymore role if ever there was one. Kitty’s companion Miss Fishguard is also a hoot; I how she tiptoes in and out of rooms, not to mention her unending references to contemporary poetry (and, in one letter, Henry VIII!). Freddy’s father is delightfully sarcastic and perceptive, and his sister Meg is an interesting and dynamic character; if she does not seem to have learned her lesson as well as Kitty by the end of the book, I suppose that’s how life is sometimes. I would have liked to see a little more of Jack, to get a better idea of the danger in his character without going into Miller & Boom territory. All the other cousins are drawn and delineated very well, particularly Dolph.What really made me love this novel, though, and what I feel elevates it from being “just” a Regency romance, is the moral awareness Heyer shows of the situations she plunges her characters into. When in London, Kit encounters and befriends members of various social strata and ethical persuasions, which plunges her into some awkward situations. In the end, I think she finds that one should neither be prideful of one’s class nor thoughtless of the problems that unfortunate acquaintances may cause, and I love her all the more for it. Freddy is the moral bedrock on which many of the other characters rely; he always knows when something’s “not the thing,” and rescues both Kitty and Meg when their reputations may be in danger. The masquerade at the Opera House may be my favorite part of the book simply because Freddy shows how worthy he is of emulation.I took half a star away from my rating simply because I found the last couple of chapters rather contrived. Everything ends up pretty much as it should, but I found it hard to believe that so many of the major characters were thrown together for the finale, while others could have used more of a follow-up—Meg, for instance, and Mr. Penicuik and the Fish.Heyer is not at all the sort of author I would have thought to pick up on my own, and I have to thank LibraryThingers wisewoman and ChocolateMuse for bringing her to my attention, as well as for urging me to put off other novels of hers, and wait for this one to become available instead. Well, it was worth the wait. It was worth the public humiliation the rather unmanly cover brought down upon me. It made me laugh and cheer and say “Dash it, Kit!” at random times during the day. I highly recommend it.more
I love Georgette Heyer, and it's no surprise that I loved Cotillion. I wouldn't have bothered to write a review except that it occurred to me that Freddy is the quintessential male of my parents' generation. He's a simple soul, wanting only his creature comforts and a life regulated by the precepts that he knows are right. His Kitty is perhaps more complex, but she needs him because his precepts are built on a more complete knowledge of the world than hers, and because he is dependable, and most of all because he loves her. I also found the first half to lag a bit, but was swept away enjoyably after that to the end. Floreant Freddy and Kit!more
This is a difficult one to rate; the first half was so silly and so boring I almost started skimming. It reads like third-drawer Wodehouse; I love Wodehouse, but Heyer wasn't witty enough to pull it off. Now, the second half of the book was a great improvement - the barest hints of the romance begin to manifest, and the plot takes on some urgency. The last few chapters were marvellous, and I was entirely on their side by the last. If she could have sustained that quality through the entire book, it would be a five star rating above. If I had stopped reading halfway through, I would have given it two stars at best.more
I came to Cotillion with all the air of one giving an author a second chance, and so I was. I had previously tried Georgette Heyer's Lady of Quality, but didn't find it congenial. The characters seemed too modern for their setting, and I think my expectations had been too high (someone had recommended Heyer to fans of Jane Austen). Fortunately, I bumped into another Heyer fan, and asked the question that had been bothering me since I dropped Lady of Quality: Why do so many readers praise Heyer to the skies? The answer was simple; I'd started with the wrong book. This blessed fan gave me a list of good titles to start with, and Cotillion was mentioned. When I saw it on audiobook at the library, I decided to give it a try, and I'm thrilled that I did. This is the story of Kitty Charing, the young ward of miserly old Mr. Pennycook. Mr. Pennycook has five great-nephews, and wants Kitty to marry his favorite Jack Westruther, the dashing man of the town. To ensure this, Mr. Pennycook decides to leave all his money to Kitty only on condition that she marry one of his great-nephews. Kitty, who has lived a sheltered life in the country, is in love with Jack, but Jack flouts his great-uncle's summons and leaves Kitty to receive offers from the other cousins. This simply will not serve; Lord Dolphinton is a dolt, albeit a very lovable and funny dolt. Hugh is an austere and strict rector. George is already married. Claude is in the army and can't come. And Freddie, stolid and fastidious, is like a brother to Kitty. Jack is the one she really wants, but how is he to be got? Kitty convinces Freddie to offer for her so that she can go to London under a sham engagement. Freddie is very reluctant to do this, but Kitty's tears soon convince him. The two set off for London, where Kitty will enjoy all the delights — and complications — of her first season. From the first she gets mixed up in all kinds of little imbroglios, all in service of her friends. We get a very good picture of London society at that time, and not just the proper parts. I don't mean that Heyer indulges in Harlequin-romance style descriptions, not at all. The tone of the narrative is always proper and refined, and Kitty shows scruples that would be fitting for an Austen heroine. It's just that we learn a little of the possible fate of impoverished beauties who have no fortune or connections to recommend them for a good match.The final chapter is, in a word, satisfying. At one point I actually clapped my hands with glee over what happens. It's just that good! I don't want to give it away, so I will be mysterious here, but I will say that the final chapter fulfilled all my hopes for the characters. As the story progressed, I began to suspect that Heyer wasn't going to end it the way I wanted, and it overjoyed me when she did. I have a theory about the title (a cotillion is a French dance) but I think it might be spoilerish, so I won't go into it. Anyhow, the last chapter is so fun that I listened to it twice.Heyer's humor comes through brilliantly. The character names are delightfully Dickensian (Mr Pennycook, Mr. Pluckly, Miss Plimstock, "the Fish," etc.) and add to the humorous feel of the story. The comedic aspects are truly enjoyable and reminded me sometimes of P. G. Wodehouse. Heyer is not so laugh-out-loud funny as Wodehouse, and her situations are rarely as absurd, but there is a playful amusement with imbecility and with good old British slang. I have always enjoyed British slang, and Freddie supplies that in rich measure. I love his constant, exasperated "Dash it, Kit!" The dialogue is great, and one of the more effective devices that Heyer uses is to remove the personal pronoun when certain characters are speaking. Instead of saying, "I went to find you," certain characters might say, "Went to find you." Used consistently, it gives the speaker a distinctive voice and translates fantastically to audiobook. Phyllida Nash does an amazing job of dramatizing the story, and her character voices are superb. I was especially impressed with how she handled the male roles. I'm convinced that her reading greatly influenced my enjoyment of the story, and I thank her for helping me to enjoy Heyer properly for the first time. Overall, this is a most enjoyable story with well-written characters, wonderful humor, and an ending that will make you cheer. Highly recommended!more
One of the wonderful things about this book is that the hero isn't a typical Heyer Georgian romance hero. He is beautifully dressed yes, but isn't exceptional, but does have a great deal of common sense. Although the reader really wants Kitty to chose him, its really not certain that she will make the right decision. As always the prose is delightful and fun. Fantastic.more
I have never read a Georgette Heyer and I saw this as I was shelving and thought why not? She has been enormously popular for years and there must be some reason. Cotillion was a fun light romp with characters as they should be and a perfect outcome. I doubt if it will convert me to Regency romances, that would require more than a delightful little bit of wonder, but I would not hesitate to suggest it to readers who want something delicious, not taxing and upbeat.more
Absolutely loved it! So far, my favorite Georgette Heyer next to Frederica. The leading male character was not at all like the typical hero. His way of talking left me in stitches so many times! Definitely a must read if you are a Regency genre fan.more
"Dash it" if this isn't the original chick lit! I enjoyed this book immensely. Written in the 1950s it nicely upholds the comedic tradition of that time of wrapping up the story with as many weddings as possible. I shall definitely seek out other books by Ms. Heyer.more
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