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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2001
Cousin Kate is a more serious Heyer heroine, and this is a more serious story, with Gothic overtones which are, however, more believable that the true Gothick Romance of Mrs Ratcliffe and the like because the tale is told so calmly. Yes, there is madness, sudden death and wicked plots. But a charming, independently minded heroine and a strong, sensible and reasonably handsome hero win through. This may be less fun than some, but I would highly recommend it - and for more than one reading
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on 19 July 2015
The Heyer Regency romances have the distinction of being well written in British English, and with what appears to be a comfortable understanding of the period. I find it a pleasure to escape into a gentle enjoyment of these novels, which have varied plots, situations and characters, and charmingly describe the life and idiosyncrasies of the Regency period.
In this novel a young woman of gentle birth, brought up mostly in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsula wars, must earn her own way in the world. She enjoys the love of her old nurse, a redoubtable woman who contacts Kate's aunt Minerva. Minerva has her own reasons for responding to the approach to rescue Kate, and we are introduced to the situation at Staplewood and from there the adventure develops, with love blossoming along the way.
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on 7 March 2007
This is an exciting story, with suspense mounting slowly as the story unfolds. At times the sense of how trapped Kate had become was scary enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I thought she was an appealing heroine for most of the time. But I did find her determination not to believe the worst, despite all the evidence, rather irritating after a while. It isn't one of Heyer's best, but I liked it enough to read it again.
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on 30 May 2015
Kate is yet another of Heyer's "strong" women - resourceful and principled, beautiful but without illusions, thrown upon her own abilities to survive a wastrel father's death. Of course love triumphs over all. This is a favourite of mine
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on 11 August 2004
Cousin Kate is a charming book about a young woman who is saved from the drudgery of employment by an Aunt she has never met.
She is swept of to the luxury of Staplewood a beautiful estate owned by Sir Timothy.
Kate soon finds out that she is living in a divided house and the behaviour of some of her family leave her asking questions.
This is a book to be read time and time again, it is my personal favourite Georgette Heyer book.
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on 24 November 2014
I have tried for a long time to listen to this cd I was not over impressed with the person telling the story but that is a personal thing
I wish all of the stories were available in cd not kindle or other forms of listening to cd!!!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2013
I love Georgette Heyer generally but this book became a chore to read. It starts off well with Kate as one of Heyer's attractive and energetic heroines: alone in the world, she accepts an invitation from a long-lost aunt - but things soon take a sinister turn at Staplewood.

This uses a Pride & Prejudice narrative in miniature to shape the relationship between Kate and the hero, and mixes it up with Jane Eyre and other gothic novels. But the sparkle of Heyer's best novels is missing and Kate starts to become irritating as she persists in believing that nothing is wrong at Staplewood and that her aunt and cousin are behaving perfectly normally no matter how much she uncovers, or how many people tell her otherwise.

So if you haven't read Heyer before this really isn't the place to start - this displays some of the elegant writing that we have come to expect, but the plotting is a little haphazard and the romantic chemistry is severely limited. Heyer can write far better than this.
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on 26 January 2014
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2011
Cousin Kate, published in 1968, is one of Heyer's later novels and one that appears to really divide opinion - possibly because it's not what people tend to expect from her. Although there's still some humour and some romance, it's a lot darker than the other Heyer novels I've read. It also has a gothic feel and I couldn't help being reminded of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

Our heroine, Kate Malvern, is a young woman who has been left orphaned and penniless following the deaths of both her parents and who has been working as a governess to support herself. At the beginning of Cousin Kate, she has lost her position and has returned to the London home of her former nurse, Sarah Nidd. Worried about Kate's future, Sarah writes to Kate's Aunt Minerva, who invites her to stay at the family mansion, Staplewood.

On her arrival at Staplewood, Kate remarks that the big house is not very homelike. Aunt Minerva, Lady Broome, is a manipulative woman, obsessed with the family lineage; her husband, the elderly Sir Timothy Broome, lives in a separate part of the house; and then there's Kate's handsome young cousin Torquil, who can be charming one minute, violent and aggressive the next. As Kate begins to learn exactly why Minerva was so keen to welcome her into the family, the only person she can turn to for help is Sir Timothy's nephew, Philip.

The gothic elements of the book come in the form of the descriptions of the house and its grounds, locked doors and strange sounds in the night, the ruthless scheming of Aunt Minerva, family secrets - and Torquil, who is considered 'mad' and spends much of his time isolated in a distant wing of the mansion where he is attended by his doctor and faithful servant. It's always sad to read how people with mental illness were treated in the past, in a time when it wasn't properly understood, and I could sympathise with Torquil's situation.

I also really liked both Kate and Philip and enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Kate has a kind heart and an ability to always see the best in people, but she is also a strong, courageous woman who values her independence. Philip is a pleasant, sensible person and felt to me like a realistic character, if not a particularly interesting or memorable one. I thought he and Kate made a believable couple.

I love Heyer's use of language in the dialogue between her characters and I thought there was just the right amount of slang in this book to set the story in its period without becoming too difficult to understand. In fact, the only character who used an excessive amount of Regency-period slang was Sarah's father-in-law, Mr Nidd, and this really suited his personality, making him an amusing, vibrant character who seemed to leap out of the pages!

Although, as I've said, this was quite a dark Heyer novel which deals with some serious themes, I still thought it was an entertaining read. I can see that it might not be to everyone's taste but I loved it.
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on 2 March 2008
a darker tale than usual. althought there is the usual girl meets boy, they fall in love etc which is very endearing, the more interesting part of the story is the cousin tourqil stangeness and aunt minerva's apparent kindness. wont spoil the story but it is very obvious at the begininng what is going on but as the story unfolds, the secrets are revealed.
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