Cousin Kate

Cousin Kate Georgette HeyerAs much as I love my e-readers (I have both a Sony and an iPad now -- it's an embarrassment of riches) there's always that period of time on the plane when you can't use electronic devices. And sometimes that period of time is stupidly long. So I always be sure to throw a paperback into the carry on bag that gets shoved under my seat. I need my reading material, people. (Hey, let's be honest, you never know who you are going to be seated next to and sometimes a pair of headphones and a book are your best defense.) Georgette Heyer's Cousin Kate was my choice this time.

Ever since I read my first Heyer in 2007 I've developed a bit of a Heyer problem. While the Sourcebook re-issues are beautiful and I do pick them up from time to time most of the Heyers that I add to my bookshelves come from yard sales. Last year at the Great Glebe Garage Sale I took home about 10 of them. (I missed it this year, I was out of town.) The Friends of the Farm annual book sale is usually a good place to pick up some as well. The problem is that I can never remember which ones I own (with a few exceptions) and which ones I don't so I just end up grabbing them all. It isn't such a big issue since they usually cost me less than a dollar but then I end up with duplicates and have to decide which to keep and sometimes that's hard. A good example is Cotillion. I own two version of that -- one copy is a Sourcebooks re-issue and the other is a hardcover. The paperback is pretty, the hardcover is not. But the hardcover is hardcover and that usually trumps but... I can't decide. So I've kept both.

All this a long ramble to say that I picked up Cousin Kate at a garage sale for a quarter. It was light paperback and perfect for throwing in my carry on and I read it mostly on planes and in hotel rooms and it really kind of rocked for that kind of reading. It had romance! Mystery! Madness! Though I did spend quite a bit of time wanting to grab Kate by the shoulders and shake her.

You see, Kate should have been much smarter than she acted. She had been raised in a variety of conditions and had traveled the Peninsula and spent time with soldiers and just was really a rather savvy girl. Sometimes. The rest of the time she had a head full of feathers, but especially when it came to dealing with her aunt and seeing the truth about her cousin. She acted like a naive nincompoop. Thank goodness for cousin Philip. He had a good head on his shoulders. I approved of him. Aunt Minerva... she was fun to hate. Smart, calculating but definitely used to ruling the roost.

I'm not normally a fan of Gothic romances (or maybe I just haven't read enough of them?) but I this was the first of Heyer's that I read (she only wrote two), which is probably why it captured my attention so much despite my traveling conditions. (Ground delay! Fog delay! Missed connection!) I had tried to read another Heyer in similar circumstances but it didn't capture my attention at all... though to be fair it was The Infamous Army and I didn't care for it after I managed to slog my way through it.

I think fans of Heyer will enjoy Cousin Kate, though I do suspect that they will be like me and want to give Kate a good rattle. And it made an interesting pairing with the book I was reading on my iPad - Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches for BlogHer Book Club.