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Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

Cousin Kate (1968)

by Georgette Heyer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,121387,344 (3.43)1 / 88

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
I disliked the coercion that Kate was trapped into during my first reading and that overwhelmed my liking of the story. However, in re-reading the book, I admired the way Heyer related a tale that was probably all too true for many girls in these periods. Overall, I think it was an insightful narrative, although a bit dark, perhaps even gothic. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Sep 24, 2017 |
Cousin Kate purports to be a gothic novel set in Regency England. It features the lovely if superannuated (for a single woman of the time) Kate Malvern, who at 24 is an orphan in impecunious circumstances.

Kate’s former and still faithful nurse, Mrs. Nidd, writes to an aunt of Kate’s, a Lady Broome, who promptly comes and offers to take Kate to her estate, Staplewood. Although Lady Broome showers Kate with gifts, something seems off, especially with Kate’s 19-year-old cousin Torquil. Lady Broome’s husband, Sir Timothy, is sickly, and so a shady-acting doctor lives on the premises too, and the servants seem to be in divided camps between the husband and wife.

As the situation becomes creepier, Sir Timothy’s nephew arrives, the 29-year-old and handsome-in-a-rugged-way Philip Broome. Philip is the second heir to Sir Timothy after Torquil, and Lady Broome decidedly hates him. But Kate and Philip apparently fall into instalove, and by instalove I mean Fastest On Record.

But someone at the estate is dangerous - who is it, and who will survive in the end?

Discussion: The Instalove is a bit ridiculous and the “gothicness” of the plot wasn’t all that gothic, at least by today’s standards. The book was published in 1968, late in Heyer’s career. near the end of Heyer's career, and just doesn’t have the same appeal as her earlier books. ( )
  nbmars | Aug 25, 2016 |
Fun, not a favorite. I quite like Kate; Philip is a little too impulsive to me (also, he has a total of one (ok, maybe three) scenes where he's more than a cipher). Torquil is very nicely drawn - he's not blatant, but you get the feeling something more than the obvious is wrong early on and it only gets worse. Though it's hard to tell if he's actually insane or just over-coddled, over-drugged, and under-exposed to the real world. I must say Kate seemed to overreact to the rabbit...possibly because fully describing the scene would have moved the book past Gothic and into straight horror (which suggestion derives from trying to imagine what would make sensible Kate react so strongly). Minerva is actually the scarier character, and not just because she holds most of the power. I can pity Torquil, I'm afraid of Minerva. It's a classic Gothic novel - impoverished orphan is brought to the great house and there given all she wants, with a deeper plan in mind; she escapes with the help of the man she meets and loves. But it's a Heyer, as well, so the characters have depth to them - Philip possibly the least, but even he has _some_ depth to him. I enjoyed reading it, I might read it again at some point, but it's not one of my favorite Heyers. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jun 17, 2016 |
I was surprised by the quality of this gothic romance. Knowing that Georgette Heyer is best known for Regency romances, I did not expect the plot to be so well constructed or executed. The author clearly did a great deal of research in order to make it all work. Her characters, as always, were well drawn. The book begins a bit slowly, but quickly recovers. The servants here, including Sarah and Mr. Nidd, got all the best lines. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Mar 1, 2016 |
Kate Malvern is 24 and has no relations or money. Just as she is contemplating sinking beneath the boundaries of gentility and becoming a domestic servant, her heretofore unmet aunt descends upon her. She is the Lady Broome, and she overwhelms Kate with kindess and brings her to Staplewood, the ancestral home of the Broomes. There is clearly something sinister going on at Staplewood, focused around Kate's moody cousin Torquil. Thankfully, Kate finds an ally in Philip Broome, with whom she shares spirited banter.
Heyer does not spend much time distinguishing Kate and Philip. They are the hero and heroine of the story, and that's that. She spends a great deal of time on Torquil, and therein lies my big disappointment. [book: Cousin Kate] begins like a light hearted romp, and ends like a light hearted romp, but in the middle everyone gives long monologues about how Torquil is mad, mad I tell you and the great tragedy of it all. In fact, the happy ending comes mere pages after two violent deaths, yet the victims' relatives are apparently far too pleased with the impending marriage of Philip and Kate to mourn. It's a disjointed book, and one that owes rather too much to the overwrought gothic novels of the nineteenth century. I'm also annoyed in the presentation of Torquil's madness--I read him like Colin from [book: The Secret Garden], as an under-socialized, high-strung and insensitive spoiled brat. He doesn't have trouble distinguishing reality or anything, but everyone around him takes it for granted that he needs to be institutionalized. Even the eventual deaths don't seem like proof of madness to me. I was puzzled. Didn't they have a slightly better understanding of mental illness when this was written, in the twentieth century? Torquil wasn't mad--just badly raised. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bond, JillyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At no time during the twenty-four hours was the Bull and Mouth Inn a place of quiet or repose, and by ten o'clock in the morning, when the stage-coach from Wisbech, turning top-heavily out of Aldersgate, lumbered into its yard, it seemed, to one weary and downcast passenger at least, to be crowded with vehicles of every descripton, from a yellow-bodied post-chaise to a wagon, with its shafts cocked up and the various packages and bundles it carried strewn over the yard.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099490951, Paperback)

Kate Malvern, rescued from penury by her aunt Minerva, finds the grand household at Staplewood very unhomelike — even family dinners are formal. When she begins to suspect the shocking reason for Minerva’s generosity, there is no one to confide in.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When Kate Malvern moves in with her aunt Minerva and family she finds it very strange and begins to suspect ulterior motives for Minerva's generosity. This mysterious tale of love and death is a romantic fiction set in the English Regency period.

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Average: (3.43)
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