Comfort Crack, a conversation about Kristen Ashley's books and joint review of Walk Through Fire
Mini-Reviews: Reaper's Fall, Glory in Death, Fool Me Twice and A Midnight Clear

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Cotillion is fantastic comedic romp.  It is a coming of age story of sorts as it follows a young inexperienced miss as she learns to negotiate her way through British high society.  Heyer delights in this tale of fake betrothals, fortune hunters and flirts.

Kitty Charing is the adopted daughter of a rich but miserly gentleman. She has lived at the mercy of his eccentric and narrow generosity for years before he declares that he will settle his vast fortune on her only if she accepts a proposal from one of his many great-nephews. Mr. P's plans for are spoiled when his favorite grand-nephew, Jack, a rougishly handsome rake, fails to show up.  Instead Kitty must has to turn down proposals from Hugh. a stodgy and pompous reverend and Foster, a "soft-headed" Earl, frightened of his domineering and controlling mother. Kitty persuades Freddy Standen, another Mr.P's great-nephews to agree to a fake betrothal, so that she might leave Arnside and visit London for a month while she tries figure out what to do next.

Kitty's adventures in London were a great deal of fun.  She is transformed from a dowdy and naive country girl to a savvy and enchanting young woman.  While she gains "town bronze", learning to maneuver perilous social situations, present herself in the most impressive manner and discovering shocking and disappointing truths, she remains a compassionate and caring. Those qualities lead her to get involved in a series of complicated romantic schemes that all pay off in a fantastic final chapter where everyone has the HEA they deserve.

I didn't really know what to expect when I started reading Cotillion. I had not even read the blurb, and had selected it purely on the strong recommendation of several Heyer fans on Twitter.  KJ Charles's enthusiastic recommendation is the one I remember most clearly.   I was half-way through the book before I realized who the hero of the story was.  I am so used to reading romances where even the most unrepentant of rakes is reformed through the love a good woman, that for most of the book I didn't even consider that Jack might not be the hero. Even when Jack, thought to himself how content he would have been to continue to leave Kitty rusticating in the countryside till he was ready to make her his wife, and when he raged at how inconvenient it was him that Kitty had formed a friendship with his potential mistress, I somehow thought, he was going to have a dramatic change of heart.  For most of the novel I wanted to slap him as much as or more than Kitty did.

Although I had decided I much preferred kind Freddy for Kitty, I just didn't notice how subtly Heyer was building him up. Even when Freddy unfailing acted to put Kitty's wants and desire above his own, and never failed to come to her rescue, I didn't realize he was actually going to be the hero. In fact I came close to googling to see if Heyer had written another romance for him, because I liked him so much and wanted him to have a HEA. Well Played, Ms.Heyer!   Freddy is a delightfully unconventional hero. He is not smooth, brilliant,  cynical or daring, but simply good-hearted.  He is popular and accepted in the Ton because he is a good dresser and always willing to dance.  He surprises everyone including himself with how he rises to the challenge of winning Kitty.  I loved his interactions with his Dad, a loving but patronizing man, who is greatly gratified and incredibly amused to see Freddy working so hard at figuring out things. I particularly liked that while he is moved to action he is never once moved to meanness.  The values and actions that win him Kitty are just extensions of the person he was before just a bit more intentional. I just loved him.

Cotillion was thoroughly enjoyable, full of humor, wit and heart.





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