Cotillion: Review

After reading An Infamous Army, I couldn't wait to give Georgette Heyer more of my time. Cotillion is quite a different novel than An Infamous Army. Kitty Charing, the ward of a cantankerous miser, must marry one of the old man's great-nephews or be left penniless upon his death. Kitty's choices are: the stogy Hugh, the simple minded Dolph, the dandified Freddy or the rakish Jack. Kitty can only image marrying Jack whom she's adored since childhood. Jack refuses to be pushed into marriage; it's too much fun being a sought after bachelor in London.

Kitty, desperate to get to London and out from under the thumb of 'Uncle Matthew', devises a scheme. She convinces Freddy to pose as her fiance to make Jack jealous. Sure of her plan, she drags Freddy all over London stumbling into misadventures only Jack, Chrissy and Janet could appreciate. Kitty involves herself in unlikely couples' romances and neglects her own. To know how it all turns out for Kitty, you just have to read it. I don't want to give too much away.

Cotillion is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Kitty is adorable and warm hearted, but she never thinks through her plans. Freddy somehow manages to pull her out of her messes with a calm practicality that surprises everyone. At times, it reads like a Regency version of "Dumb and Dumber" (without the gross). Their trip to the museums was quite funny. Here is Freddy's reaction to 'treasures of ancient Greece':

"...he was called upon to admire the Three Fates, from the eastern pediment. 'Dash it, they've got no heads!' he protested.
'No but you see, Freddy, they are so very old! They have been damaged' explained Miss Charing.
'Damaged! I should rather think so! They haven't got any arms either!..."

While reading An Infamous Army, I was often overwhelmed by the painstaking detail of the battle of Waterloo. The only battles here were ones fought by ambitious Mamas but I was frustrated with Freddy's vernacular. First, he has an aversion to pronouns and also uses a tremendous amount of slang. It took me awhile to get used to it. A glossary might be helpful. Now I see that it was a device used by Heyer to convince the reader that Freddy isn't very bright.

Although it's comic, it also has a lot of heart. I really loved each of the characters. The book also emphasizes how little control a woman of that time had over her own destiny.

I definitely recommend Cotillion if you are in the mood for something light and fun as well as well written.



  1. I've been seeing Georgette Heyer a lot these days. Methinks I should finally read one of her books, which should I read first, Chris?

  2. I've been meaning to read a Heyer book for awhile now ~ I have a few in my TBR mountain and hope to get it read during my upcoming vacation.

  3. I am reading this at the moment. I am not very far in yet, but I am looking forward to reading more when I get on the train tomorrow to see what happens!

  4. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment on Girlebooks. I had thought about putting some Georgette Heyer up on my site. Do you have a favorite novel of hers? I haven't read anything...

  5. Athena & Laura- This is only my second Heyer novel. I just discovered her. I've read An Infamous Army and this one. An Infamous Army is a more serious novel. There is a lot of death. I would likely start with Cotillion.

    Dev & Marg- I hope you enjoy it.

  6. I'm really looking forward to this one! I enjoyed An Infamous Army a lot although like you the battle scenes weren't my cup of tea. Kitty sounds quite different from Barbara Childe doesn't she?

  7. Iliana- Kitty is much more innocent but I think she has strong qualities as well. I think you'll like this one.


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