Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Phew!  Last week was intense and I’m still catching up on various things, so today’s review will be short.  Exhausted from moving and driving and lifting boxes, I decided to pick up some light reading and chose Cotillion by Georgette Heyer.

Nineteen-year-old orphan Kitty has just been told that she will inherit her guardian’s massive fortune — but only if she marries one of his great-nephews, preferably his favorite, Jack.  Kitty has quietly pined after the charming but rakish Jack for years; unfortunately, Jack seems indifferent to Kitty.  Desperate to get out of her guardian’s strict, dull home, Kitty asks Jack’s cousin Freddy to pretend to be her fiancé and take her to London on the pretense of meeting his parents. Kitty also hopes that the pretend engagement will spark Jack’s jealousy and finally force him to pay attention to her.

I devoured Cotillion in a single day.   It’s a deft romantic comedy with likable leads, amusing supporting characters, and the Regency detail Heyer is so famous for.  Freddy is also one of the most unexpectedly charming characters I’ve encountered in my recent reading.  His family and friends consider him a lightweight, a dandy obsessed with fashion, but as the book goes on Freddy’s good qualities increasingly shine through and you can’t help but like him, cravat obsession and all.  Many readers rate Cotillion as their favorite Georgette Heyer and I can absolutely see why (although I’d still pick Grand Sophy, personally).

There was one part of the book that I found uncomfortable.  One of the major supporting characters is Jack and Freddy’s cousin Lord Dolphinton, who is mentally slow and requires things to be repeated several times before he understands them.  “Dolph” is so slow, in fact, that I wonder if Heyer meant him to be developmentally disabled.  He’s clearly intended as a comic character and I found it disconcerting to see what appeared to be a developmental disability played for laughs.  I may be reading too much into Dolph’s mental deficiencies, but it seemed worth mentioning.

Rating: Library Loan

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