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Cousin Kate [Paperback]

Georgette Heyer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 5 2009
enjoy one of only two Heyer Gothic Regency romances.
'Miss Heyer serves up a very different sort of tale in the same period setting, nothing less than a full-fledged Gothic. And a very expert job she does of it, too, complete with a remote and forbidding country house, screams in the night, dark hints of something best left unmentioned... nicely leavened with wit, romance, and wonderful period slang.'
- PUBLISHeRS WeeKLY

A surprising invitation
Kate Malvern is rescued from penury by her aunt Minerva, who brings her to stay at Staplewood. But the household is strange and strained - Kate's uncle lives in his own private wing, and her handsome, moody cousin Torquil lives in another.

A dark family secret
As bizarre events unfold and Kate begins to question the reasons for her aunt's unexpected generosity, she has no one to confide in but her cousin Philip. Sympathetic though he may appear, will he tell her what she most needs to know... before it's too late?

What readers say:
'Flawless gothic romance.'

'A dark and different Regency romance.'

'Cousin Kate remains a classic Heyer study of character and Regency attitudes, and boasts a wonderfully warm and generous heroine who it is impossible to dislike and one of Heyer's most pleasant and agreeable heroes.'

'A superior Georgette Heyer work; a bit darker and more serious than most of her other books, but as always there is the fast wit and a happy ending.'

Frequently Bought Together

Cousin Kate + Lady of Quality + Friday's Child
Price For All Three: CDN$ 36.02

  • Lady of Quality CDN$ 12.24
  • Friday's Child CDN$ 12.24

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Product Description

Review

[T]the dialogue among the characters is completely delightful... Georgette Heyer builds a wonderful and complete world for her reader to sink into – like a bubble bath or a welcoming chair to relax you at the end of a busy day, but more fun. Much more fun. (Lady Anne Jane Austen's World 2009-05-12)

Exciting and interesting from harrowing start to dramatic finish, Georgette Heyer's Cousin Kate was a delightfully dark and sinfully satisfying read. (Rhianna Walker Rhi Reading 2009-05-26)

Filled with strange illnesses, intrigue, and a few murders thrown in along the way, this book is sure to please. (Shawn Remfry Maymay's Memos 2009-05-27)

Cousin Kate was simply another great performance by this wonderful writer and it only makes me elated to know that there are plenty more of her books to read. (Lilianna Swistek Reading Extravaganza 2009-05-29)

As Gothic novels go Cousin Kate has all the right elements. A menacing country house set on sweeping grounds, strange knocks in the night, locked doors, family secrets, and whispers of madness. (Danielle Torress A Work in Progress 2009-06-26)

Very good; excellent characterization and a decent plot. As usual, Heyer is faultlessly entertaining (Nancy Horner Bookfoolery and Babble 2009-07-07)

Full of suspense, humor, romance and myster... a dark gothic novel with a little bit of roman thrown in for fun. (Christine Plaisted Cousin Kate 2009-08-24)

About the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until herdeath from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different, more intimate Georgette Heyer book... March 26 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a superior Georgette Heyer work; a bit darker and more serious than most of her other books, but as always there is the fast wit, and a happy ending.
Kate Malvern is the orphaned daughter of a goodhearted, gambling-prone father and a beautiful but poor mother. Her father's death leaves her alone and impoverished in the world, and she comes to stay with her old nurse, Sarah, while looking for a new job. An aunt comes along and kindly and affectionately invites her to stay in her husband's family estate. Kate agrees, reluctantly-- because none of her relatives have never acknowledged her existence before. Staplewood, the estate, is beautiful and cold, and there she meets her cousin Torquil (a young man with the face of an angel), her sickly uncle Sir Timothy, and Sir Timothy's nephew Phillip. At first, everything seems too good to be true, and slowly, Kate unravels the deep secret that haunts the family.
Kate is a very charming and appealing heroine. She is mature yet innocent, is very witty and charming without being obnoxious, and is spirited without being willful or heedless. The hero, kind-hearted Phillip, is neither a dandy nor a cynical Corinthian, which is quite refreshing. Although still a Cinderella story of sorts, the romance between them is much more satisfying and believable than those in most other Heyer works.
Overall, a very interesting and different book from Georgette Heyer, and one of her best.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Georgette Heyer Has Gone Gothic! May 29 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Cousin Kate" is a dark, gothic novel, different from most of Georgette Heyer's other works. I have nothing against dark or gothic, but there is a lack of originality in this predictable plot and the characters lack the usual "Heyer spark." I believe that the author wrote this novel while she was ill. This is apparent as her delightful verve is very much missing here.
Kate Malvern, 24, orphaned and penniless, has been fired from her job as a governess through no fault of her own. She is surprised by an invitation to stay with her father's half sister, (whom she has never met), at the sumptuous estate Staplewood. There she meets the elderly lord of the manor, her aunt's husband Sir Timothy, their strange and ailing son, Torquil, and a cast of characters right out of the Addam's Family scrapbook. Why has this distant relation made Kate an honored guest and gifted her with beautiful clothing, jewelry and almost cloying kindness? Kate thinks she has the answers....but...?
I would say that to discover the secrets behind this strange tale you will have to read the book. However, as a major Georgette Heyer fan, I don't mind reading her most mediocre novels...and there aren't many. You, on the other hand, may want to save yourself the time. There isn't very much to surprise, enlighten or horrify here. This one is not a keeper.
JANA
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pass on this one. Feb. 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've just started reading Georgette Heyer and of the 8 books I have read, I've loved them all until I got to this one. The heroine is annoying and because I could not sympathize with the characters, I found the plot boring and tedious. I'm jealously guarding all my Georgette Heyers for re-reading, but with this book, I could not toss it quickly enough.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  68 reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different, more intimate Georgette Heyer book... March 26 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a superior Georgette Heyer work; a bit darker and more serious than most of her other books, but as always there is the fast wit, and a happy ending.
Kate Malvern is the orphaned daughter of a goodhearted, gambling-prone father and a beautiful but poor mother. Her father's death leaves her alone and impoverished in the world, and she comes to stay with her old nurse, Sarah, while looking for a new job. An aunt comes along and kindly and affectionately invites her to stay in her husband's family estate. Kate agrees, reluctantly-- because none of her relatives have never acknowledged her existence before. Staplewood, the estate, is beautiful and cold, and there she meets her cousin Torquil (a young man with the face of an angel), her sickly uncle Sir Timothy, and Sir Timothy's nephew Phillip. At first, everything seems too good to be true, and slowly, Kate unravels the deep secret that haunts the family.
Kate is a very charming and appealing heroine. She is mature yet innocent, is very witty and charming without being obnoxious, and is spirited without being willful or heedless. The hero, kind-hearted Phillip, is neither a dandy nor a cynical Corinthian, which is quite refreshing. Although still a Cinderella story of sorts, the romance between them is much more satisfying and believable than those in most other Heyer works.
Overall, a very interesting and different book from Georgette Heyer, and one of her best.
51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The last of the truly classic Heyers May 3 2000
By Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
.................................... Her writing style is always exquisite, and her ear for dialogue is parallelled by none. Even in a book where she was not at her utmost greatest, she is still very readable; and Cousin Kate is one of those books. It is not Heyer at her best, however. The characters are just a shade under-developed, veering dangerously towards the two-dimensional, which is very unusual for Heyer, and the story is not as elegantly plotted as we expect from Heyer. Having said this, it remains to be said that "Cousin Kate" shows Heyer at the last height of her talent. Her last historical romances after "Cousin Kate" were "Charity Girl" and "Lady of Quality", both proving a sad disappointment on the whole. So "Cousin Kate" is Heyer's last wholly successful and well-written novel. This gives the book a pathos to the Heyer fan, as does the fact that it was written during a serious illness on Heyer's part. If you read the book, you can sense the author's illness-induced depression underneath the surface comedy, and more obviously, in the dark twists and turns of the Gothic plot. However, Cousin Kate remains a classic Heyer study of character and Regency attitudes, and boasts a wonderfully warm and generous heroine who it is impossible not to dislike, and one of Heyer's most pleasant and agreeable heroes. (If you're expecting the bared teeth and masterful machoism of a Regency Buck, you will be disappointed, but if you like a man who you can talk to, who is warm and considerate and dependant, here is a book that will satisfy you as regards romance) It was written in response to the popularity of the Gothic romance as exemplified in Victoria Holt, so inevitably, such a departure from the "Heyer mould" of gentle and pleasant romance with a strongly realistic and sensible basis could disappoint some fans. But having said all this, I highly recommend the book "Cousin Kate." to anyone who wants to see how competently Heyer handled what is an essentially different type of historical novel.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cousin Kate Aug. 23 2000
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
No one can compare to Georgette Heyer. Many try to emulate her style,
but practically no one has mastered it. And in spite of her
troublesome tendency to marry off naive young girls barely out of the
schoolroom to older sophisticated men of the world; and her frequent
portrayal of the middle and merchant classes as uncultured, uncouth
and grasping, perpetually trying to curry favour with the upper
classes; she is still one of my favourite authours.
With this novel,
Heyer abandons somewhat the comedy of manners that she is so well
known for and enters the darker realm of the gothic novel. The heroine
of the piece is Kate Malvern, a penniless orphan, who has just lost
her latest job as a governess and her home. An aunt that she knows
little of offers her a home at Staplewood Manor. Her aunt, Minerva
Broome, wants Kate to act as a companion and friend to her young
cousin, Torquil, who happens to be a charming and clever young man but
who is troubled by frequent mood swings and bouts of depression. All
too soon Kate discovers that all is not well at Staplewood
Manor. There is an atmosphere of secrecy and deception. And Kate soon
finds that she doesn't know whom to trust or what to do.
In Kate
Malvern, Heyer has created a witty, courageous and gallant heroine
that engages the reader. The avid Georgette Heyer fan may miss the
lively light hearted romps she is most famous for, but I can recommend
this book as a wonderful read, especially for its gallant heroine.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly different from Heyer's usual Regencies June 30 2001
By Dr W. Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I first read Cousin Kate, many years ago, I didn't like it much. But I decided that it was time to give it another try, to see whether my tastes had changed with maturity. Not in this case, it seems.
I realise that this book is in the Gothic style, and of course even Jane Austen tried one Gothic novel - which I don't like anything like as much as the other Austens. My problem with Cousin Kate, however, wasn't its Gothic content, but the fact that much of it is extremely boring. Heyer's other works are full of witty dialogue and entertaining characters; here, the dialogue is dull, the characters uninteresting (even the hero, Philip Broome, failed to excite me), and the narration and introspection tedious. I realise that Heyer is trying, for some part of the book, to indicate Kate's boredom with her situation, but there's no need to bore the readers at the same time!
I couldn't really come to like Kate much, at the same time. She's a young woman of quality - lower-ranking aristocracy - fallen on hard times, like a number of Heyer's other heroines, but without the character or determination or resilience of those other heroines. She hasn't got an ounce of Ancilla Trent's independence and resourcefulness, for example. I found myself gritting my teeth at the way Kate takes her old nurse, Sarah Nidd, for granted: the woman left her family's employ many years earlier and is married with her own family, and yet Kate assumes that she can simply descend on Sarah any time she wants, and be waited on hand and foot - for nothing - in Sarah's own home. No wonder Sarah wrote to Kate's aunt Minerva!
However, this is clearly an aberration among Heyer's usual excellent work. And I don't agree with a previous reviewer that it marked a decline in her talent; Lady of Quality, to which that reviewer refers, is another highly enjoyable Heyer.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat darker than usual March 16 2002
By Beverley Strong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Kate Malvern finds herself unable to obtain another post as a governess, her future looks bleak.As a penniless, orphaned daughter of an army officer of good family, her chances of a good marriage are negligible.Unexpectedly,she is visited by an aunt whom she has never met before and whisked off to the country.Aunt Minerva plies her with gifts and clothes,but, to her horror, realises that she's been chosen as a bride for her mad cousin Torquil.She then meets Philip, a nephew and possible heir of Sir Timothy, Torquils father, and they fall madly in love. Terrible tragedy befalls the family before the obligatory happy ending.It's a likeable quick read and quite a bit darker than Miss Heyers usual tales.
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