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Cotillion    by Georgette Heyer order for
by Georgette Heyer
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2007 (1953)
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Lively Kitty Charing is in a quandary: her elderly, irascible, and penurious guardian, Mr. Matthew Penicuik, is convinced he is at death's door and has once again revised his will. He decrees that his fortune will be left to Kitty IF she marries one of his great-nephews. Otherwise all will go to charity.

Poor Kitty. Arriving at Uncle Matthews' remote estate are the least attractive of her titular cousins. Hugh is handsome and dignified but also stiff-necked and humourless. Dolphinton has a title but no funds, and the poor fellow is definitely slow-witted. Conspicuously absent is her splendid cousin Jack. Kitty's feelings for Jack are no secret in the family; and Jack himself, loath to bow to Uncle Matthew's will, is confident that Kitty will accept none of her other suitors.

What is a spirited damsel to do? Kitty decides to run away. Since the night is cold and she herself without resources, it is most fortunate that she encounters yet another cousin, amiable and tolerant Freddy. He helps to convince her of the folly of her original plan, but is quickly ensnared in her ploy to bring Jack to his senses.

What follows is a delightful romantic romp. Cotillion, for all its frothy appearance, is rich with colourful players caught in one of Heyer's many-threaded plots. Heyer's earlier tales were adventures filled with derring-do; her later works show more sophistication. Cotillion falls into the second category. It is sheer pleasure to follow Kitty's progress in polite society and to observe the depths in Freddy's character. The ending is totally satisfying, and the author tidily resolves all the many sub-plots bubbling around Kitty.

Heyer may have many imitators but she remains The Queen of Regency Romances. Fortunately, a new generation of readers will have a chance to become acquainted with this unparalleled writer, as Sourcebooks is reissuing Heyer titles.

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