Georgette Heyer, “Cotillion”

OK, so I just laid waste to another couple of hours, looking for reassurance. Cotillion is not one of Heyer’s best. It splits pretty evenly between social comedy and romance but the hero is what they call a “sapskull” in these books — a somewhat dim-witted clothes horse with a heart of gold. The plot has the orphaned Kitty entering into a false engagement with him so as to attract the attention of his cousin Jack, the rake. Except as we all know, the rake is the far more compelling character and it’s a good thing Heyer doesn’t put the two of them in the same room very often. Part of that, of course, is that only in the rake character can Heyer bring sex into her romantic entanglements. There’s really no other way to work it in, considering that the very appeal of these Regency novels rests in the strict, even intricately controlled manners and behavior. So it’s really only when you’ve got the guy with the mobile eyebrows and the lazy smile and the ironic air that you really sit up and take notice. Johnny Depp, in fact. Maybe I won’t read any more of them unless he could plausibly star in the film version.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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