Saturday I was really poorly. My pasty grey colouring even persuaded the Goblin I wasn’t pretending to be ill so I wouldn’t have to rake leaves off the drive (which had been our previously scheduled activity – he’s very organized and scheduled). Sitting up made me feel nearly as light headed as standing so I went back to bed (and back to sleep), but later in the day after waking up from a nap, I found myself lying there wanting to read something light. Something that wouldn’t require thinking or spawn the usual endless questions which fill my brain like bubbles from a soapy drain. I remembered of the three Georgette Heyer romances I’d bought a few weeks ago at the charity shop there was one (Cotillion) had I hadn’t yet read. The back of the book sounded boring, but I crawled back into bed with it and gave it a go. By page 35 I still had no idea who the hero would be or if I’d met him yet which really irritated me so I did what I almost never do and flipped to the end of the book. I hadn’t yet met him. Thankfully he appeared in the next (third) chapter and what a lovely hero! I’m not actually a big Heyer fan. There are several aspects of her writing style which I’ve always found distracting as a reader, but where she wins four stars from me is for her gift in creating heroes. In Cotillion (first published in 1953) all the characters are fleshed out and she does an excellent job of moving the story forward through the dialogue which is often funny. The hero, the Honourable Frederick (Freddy) Standen, is neither handsome nor especially intelligent, but he dresses well and has a big heart. Bed time came and I was only half way through the book…so I kept reading and finished as the new day started. It was really good! If you can get your hands on a copy I highly recommend it.
The basic plot is really simple. The rich penny pinching great uncle has got a bee in his night cap that the best way to decide who will inherit his money is for his adopted daughter to marry one of his nephews. He assumes of course that his favorite nephew Jack will win the girl’s hand because everyone knows she’s been in love with Jack since she was a girl. On hearing the terms of the will the heroine, Kitty, is horrified to learn that if she doesn’t marry one of her “cousins” she won’t get a penny. Her dream of going to London and seeing life beyond her sheltered (and penny pinched) existence is becoming hopeless until she persuades her rich cousin Freddy to pretend an engagement so she can go to town and see something of life and various things happen which show Jack isn’t the hero he resembles. I would have happily spent several more hours with these characters!