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Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

Cousin Kate (original 1968; edition 2005)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,1644010,032 (3.43)1 / 97
Title:Cousin Kate
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Arrow (2005), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:historical fiction, read 2011

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Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (1968)


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English (39)  German (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I thought I knew what to expect with Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer, but the author really surprised me with this one. I wasn’t expecting her to deliver a Regency Romance with a touch of creepy Gothic suspense. Although I wasn’t totally able to embrace this combination, I applaud Ms. Heyer for trying.

Kate Malvern is an impoverished young woman who is between posts. Her old nurse goes behind her back and writes to her aunt of her circumstances and when her Aunt Minerva invites her to spend some time at Staplewood, Kate thinks this is the answer to her prayers. Unfortunately, before too long, Kate starts to question what is actually going on at this estate, her Aunt is a domineering, possessive woman who seems to be encouraging a relationship to develop between Kate and her son, Torquil. Torquil, in turn, is an excitable, uncontrollable young man given to extreme mood swings. After a number of odd and slightly dangerous incidents Kate realizes that she must leave. To complicate matters further Kate has fallen in love with Torquil’s other cousin, Philip. Can these two young people find happiness in such dark surroundings?

Cousin Kate was published in 1968 when Gothic romances were quite the thing. I believe the author wanted to show that she could hold her own against the likes of Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart. While I thought the romance between Kate and Philip was developed too quickly, and the ending was rather depressing, it is still always a treat to read a Georgette Heyer book. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 1, 2018 |
“Cousin Kate” is a more serious – and at times sinister – offering than what Georgette Heyer usually serves up. It’s good in its way, however, I missed the consistent comedy that this author was so brilliant at.

That said, humour does still creep in here and there. I smiled at the way Kate’s nurse Sarah talks to her as if she’s (Kate) still a small child (Kate’s 24), with comments like, “Now you sit down there like a good girl.”

Kate is a likeable character, and is my favourite in the book, but unlike many other Heyer novels, none the characters are larger than life like, for example, they are in “Frederica” and “Black Sheep”.

I tend to find Heyer novels hit or miss, while this one lies somewhere in between. Good, but not great. ( )
  PhilSyphe | May 24, 2018 |
I enjoyed this one just about as much as I have the previous bunch of Heyer novels I've been reading, though the added gothic and mysterious elements even ticked it above a couple of them. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 4, 2018 |
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 |
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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Average: (3.43)
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