Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Audiobook review - Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Cotillion (Abridged)

Georgette Heyer (Narrated by Clare Wille)

I'll be honest, I got an unabridged version of Cotillion from the library earlier this year and could not finish it. There was guilt involved here as it's a favourite book of a friend and it feels disloyal to not love a book as much as a good friend does but there it is. My main reason for disliking it was the fact that there is a character in it I can't stand, and I didn't want him to end up getting the girl. He was arrogant, unscrupulous and just not the right man for the heroine but that doesn't always mean that such a character won't ultimately waltz off into the sunset with the girl.

This is one of Heyer's Regency novels. The central story of Cotillion rests upon a man's fortune being entailed upon whichever of his grand-nephews marries his ward, Kitty. Kitty has her heart set on Jack Westruther, the rake mentioned above, and so she devises a scheme with another of the grand-nephews, Freddy Standen, that will simultaneously get her out of the dull backwater in which she resides and enable her to make of a play for Jack. Have I mentioned how odious the character of Jake is? Well, Freddy is as delightful a character as Jack is odious. He is the stand-out character of this book for me and when I finally decided to get closure on the Cotillion story via the abridged route he was the reason.

“You think I’ve got brains?’ he said, awed. ‘Not confusing me with Charlie?’
‘Charlie?’ uttered Miss Charing contemptuously. ‘I daresay he has book-learning, but you have—you have address, Freddy!’
‘Well, by Jove!’ said Mr Standen, dazzled by this new vision of himself.”

There are other stories interwoven with this main plot - a long-lost relative who turns out to have a shadier heritage than he has made out; the beautiful daughter of a mercenary mother bent on selling her off to highest bidder either in or out of wedlock; wresting one of the other grand-nephews from the control of a waspish and nasty mother and into the capable arms of another. 

Whose fair heart won the fair lady in the end? Suffice to say that once I knew who ended up where at the end of the book I was disposed to like it more than I thought I would. A recommended listen, though if arrogant male characters don't make your blood boil then perhaps the unabridged would suit you better.

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