Cousin Kate

Cousin Kate

by Georgette Heyer

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Overview

Enjoy one of only two Heyer Gothic Regency romances.

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. It is known that she was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and they had one son together, Richard.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402227042
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 05/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 65,507
File size: 884 KB

About the Author

Georgette Heyer (1902-1974) is one of the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists, the creator of the Regency genre of romance fiction. Her first novel, The Black Moth, published in 1921, was written at the age of fifteen to amuse her convalescent brother; her last was My Lord John. She also wrote eleven detective stories.



Jilly Bond has worked extensively in theater and radio for many years. Her stage credits include Miranda in The Tempest, Fiona in When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, and Anita in A Small Family Business. She is regularly heard in dramas for Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. She has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards for her audiobook narration.

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Excerpt from Chapter One

At no time during the twenty-four hours was the Bull and Mouth Inn a place of quiet or repose, and by ten o'clock in the morning, when the stage-coach from Wisbech, turning top-heavily out of Aldersgate, lumbered into its yard, it seemed, to one weary and downcast passenger at least, to be crowded with vehicles of every description, from a yellow-bodied post-chaise to a wagon, with its shafts cocked up and the various packages and bundles it carried strewn over the yard. All was bustle and confusion; and for a few minutes Miss Malvern, climbing down from the coach, was bewildered by it, and stood looking round her rather helplessly. Until the guard dumped at her feet the small corded trunk which contained her worldly possessions and advised her to look sharp to it, no one paid the least attention to her, except an ostler leading out two horses, and adjuring her to get out of the way, and one of the inevitable street-vendors who haunted busy inn-yards, begging her to buy some gingerbread. The guard, assailed by demands from several anxious travellers to have their bags and bandboxes restored to them immediately, had little time to spare, but Miss Malvern's flower-like countenance, and her air of youthful innocence, impelled him to ask her if anyone was meeting her. When she shook her head, he clicked his tongue disapprovingly, and expressed a hope that she might at least know where she was a-going to.

A gleam of amusement lightened the shadows in Miss Malvern's large gray eyes; she replied, with a tiny chuckle: 'Oh, yes! I do know that!'
'What you want, missy, is a hack!' said the guard.
'No, I don't: I want a porter!' said Miss Malvern, speaking with unexpected decision.

The guard seemed to be inclined to argue this point, but as a stout lady was tugging at his coat-tails, shrilly demanding to know what he had done with a basket of fish consigned to
his care, he was obliged to abandon Miss Malvern to her fate, merely shouting in stentorian accents for a porter to carry the young lady's trunk.

This summons was responded to by a burly individual in a frieze coat, who undertook, for the sum of sixpence, to carry Miss Malvern's trunk to the warehouse of Josiah Nidd & Son, Carriers. Since this establishment was situated a bare quarter of a mile from the Bull and Mouth, Miss Malvern had a shrewd suspicion that she was being grossly overcharged; but although an adventurous youth spent in following the drum had accustomed her to haggling with Portuguese farmers and Spanish muleteers, she did not feel inclined to embark on argument in a crowded London inn-yard, so she agreed the price, and desired the porter to lead her to the warehouse.

The premises acquired some years earlier by Mr Nidd and his son had originally been an inn, of neither the size nor the quality of the Bull and Mouth, but, like it, provided with a galleried yard, and a number of stables and coach-houses. Occupying a large part of the yard was an enormous wagon mounted on nine-inch cylindrical wheels, and covered by a spreading tilt. Three brawny lads were engaged in loading this vehicle with a collection of goods ranging from pack-cases to farm-implements, their activities being directed, and shrilly criticized, by an aged gentleman, who was seated on the balcony on one side of the yard. Beneath this balcony a glass door had once invited entrance to the coffee-room, but this had been replaced by a green-painted wooden door, flanked by tubs filled with geraniums, and furnished with a bright brass knocker, indicating that the erstwhile hostelry had become a private residence. Picking her way between the piles of packages, and directing the porter to follow her, Miss Malvern went to it, lifting its latch without ceremony, and stepping into a narrow passage, from which a door gave access into the old coffeeroom, and a flight of uneven stairs rose to the upper floors. The trunk set down, and the porter dismissed, Miss Malvern heaved a sigh of relief, as of one who had accomplished an enterprise fraught with peril, and called: 'Sarah?'

No immediate response being forthcoming, she called again, more loudly, and moved to the foot of the stairs. But even as she set her foot on the bottom step, a door at the end of the passage burst open, and a lady in a flowered print dress, with an old-fashioned tucker round her ample bosom, and a starched muslin cap tied in a bow beneath her chin, stood as though stunned on the threshold, and gasped: 'Miss Kate! It's never you! Oh, my dearie, my precious lambkin!'

She started forward, holding out her plump arms, and Miss Malvern, laughing and crying, tumbled into them, hugging her, and uttering disjointedly: 'Oh, Sarah, oh, Sarah! To be with you again! I've been thinking of nothing else, all the way! Oh, Sarah, I'm so tired, and dispirited, and there was nowhere else for me to go, but indeed I don't mean to impose on you, or on poor Mr Nidd! Only until I can find another situation!'

Several teardrops stood on Mrs Nidd's cheeks, but she said in a scolding voice: 'Now, that's no way to talk, Miss Kate, and well you know it! And where else should you go, I should like to know? Now, you come into the kitchen, like a good girl, while I pop the kettle on, and cut some bread-and-butter!'

Miss Malvern dried her eyes, and sighed: 'Oh, dear, would you have believed I could be so ticklish? It was such a horrid journey - six of us inside! - and no time to swallow more than a sip of coffee when we stopped for breakfast.'

Mrs Nidd, leading her into the kitchen, and thrusting her into a chair, demanded: 'Are you telling me you came on the common stage, Miss Kate?'

'Yes, of course I did. Well, you couldn't expect them to have sent me by post, could you? And if you're thinking of the Mail, I am excessively glad they didn't send me by that either, because it reached London just after four o'clock in the morning! What should I have done?'

Customer Reviews

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Cousin Kate 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
debbook More than 1 year ago
I've been seeing Heyer novels brought up on several blogs as her books are being re-released again. I wasn't sure which one to start with but Aarti of Booklust gave me a few recommendations. I wanted to read Cousin Kate as it is a gothic novel, which I love, though Heyer is more known for Regency romances. Kate Malvern is twenty-four, an orphan, and has just been fired from her position as a governess. She moves in with her former nurse, Sarah and her family. Kate is determinded to find a new position but Sarah thinks that someone in Kate's family should take her in. She writes to Kate's aunt, whom Kate has never met. Minerva Broome shows up to invite Kate back to her estate, Staplewood, which Kate accepts. At first Kate is thrilled, her aunt is generous and kind, her uncle, though ill is warm and welcoming. Torquil is her cousin, aged nineteen and though he has his moods and delicate constitution, Kate is fond of him. But then some strange things happen. Kate hears screaming one night but can't investigate as she is locked in her room. Torquil becomes more difficult to handle and uncle's nephew, Philip insinuates that Kate should leave Staplewood. Kate is unsure what to do or where she would go as she has not heard from Sarah since she moved to Staplewood. my review: I enjoyed this novel quite a bit; Kate is fearless and spunky, Torquil is creepy, and her aunt is mysterious. A perfect setting for a gothic novel. Of course I love this time period and British novels, so that helped. But I did have some trouble with the language. I thought I was almost fluent in British but I encountered many a word or phrase I was unfamiliar with; farrafiddles, skimble-skamble, jarvey,and nab the rust were a few of my favorites. It did not detract from the story however. The beginning felt a little slow but it picked up and then went quite fast at the end. I'm not sure I am a Heyer convert but I think I will read one of the books that was more strongly recommended by Aarti, The Talisman's Ring. Also, I'm not a fan of my library's copies as these are books from decades ago, but it seems that many of the Heyer books are now available as ebooks, so I will try that. my rating 3.5/5 http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cousin Kate is a novel that gets mixed reviews from Georgette Heyer's loyal fans. The set-up feels quite correct to the period, comfortably Austenish, and then takes a turn that seems utterly out of place in the well-ordered gardens and tea parties of Regency England. Heyer may be true to human nature in the darker plot twists of this story, but human nature can be jarring sometimes when you meet it in lighthearted entertainment. Twenty-four years old and alone in the world, pretty Kate Malvern is cautiously delighted when her long-estranged aunt takes an interest in her. Lady Broome of Staplewood is an imposing woman, but so very kind to her dear niece... maybe too kind. Lady Broome takes immense pride in her husband's isolated country estate at Staplewood, where the Broome line has been preserved unbroken for centuries. Kate soon befriends her cousin Torquil, a pettish but remarkably handsome young man who is tired of living under his mother's thumb. But she has less warmth toward another relation, Philip Broome, who warns her of vague danger and urges her to leave Staplewood. But is he¿next in line to inherit, should Torquil die¿trustworthy?Things wear a bit thin. This was published in 1968 near the end of Heyer's career and though it is fairly well executed, the strange mix of Gothic undertones with a patently Regency period setting is odd. I generally love Gothic-toned tales, but when Regency characters find themselves Gothic situations, they fall rather flat (or behave foolishly; see Northanger Abbey!). Things are neatly tied off at the end with rather more rapidity than seems decent, and some of the relationships aren't developed in a believable way. But having said all this, I certainly enjoyed the read. It's Heyer, after all, and she keeps you reading. And now I want a Sarah Nidd in my life!
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been seeing Heyer novels brought up on several blogs as her books are being re-released again. I wasn't sure which one to start with but Aarti of Booklust gave me a few recommendations. I wanted to read Cousin Kate as it is a gothic novel, which I love, though Heyer is more known for Regency romances.Kate Malvern is twenty-four, an orphan, and has just been fired from her position as a governess. She moves in with her former nurse, Sarah and her family. Kate is determinded to find a new position but Sarah thinks that someone in Kate's family should take her in. She writes to Kate's aunt, whom Kate has never met. Minerva Broome shows up to invite Kate back to her estate, Staplewood, which Kate accepts.At first Kate is thrilled, her aunt is generous and kind, her uncle, though ill is warm and welcoming. Torquil is her cousin, aged nineteen and though he has his moods and delicate constitution, Kate is fond of him.But then some strange things happen. Kate hears screaming one night but can't investigate as she is locked in her room. Torquil becomes more difficult to handle and uncle's nephew, Philip insinuates that Kate should leave Staplewood. Kate is unsure what to do or where she would go as she has not heard from Sarah since she moved to Staplewood.my review: I enjoyed this novel quite a bit; Kate is fearless and spunky, Torquil is creepy, and her aunt is mysterious. A perfect setting for a gothic novel. Of course I love this time period and British novels, so that helped. But I did have some trouble with the language. I thought I was almost fluent in British but I encountered many a word or phrase I was unfamiliar with; farrafiddles, skimble-skamble, jarvey,and nab the rust were a few of my favorites.It did not detract from the story however. The beginning felt a little slow but it picked up and then went quite fast at the end.I'm not sure I am a Heyer convert but I think I will read one of the books that was more strongly recommended by Aarti, The Talisman's Ring. Also, I'm not a fan of my library's copies as these are books from decades ago, but it seems that many of the Heyer books are now available as ebooks, so I will try that.my rating 3.5/5
jmaloney17 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another sweet Regency romance. This one has mayham and malice! Oooohhh.....
gwernin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Atypical for Heyer (gothic rather than romance), and one of my least favorites. That being said, mediocre Heyer is still preferable to most people's best. For the gothic novel fan or the completest.
exlibrisbitsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kate Malvern is in desperate straights. She has no family left in the world to take her in, she believes, and so stays with her old nursery maid while considering a job in the working class as a governess, companion or abigail. At her old nurse¿s urging a letter is sent to some distant relations in the neighborhood, to everyone¿s surprise the relations respond and soon Cousin Kate finds herself settling in at a place called Staplewood with her aunt and uncle and cousin Torquil. The family is strange though, her cousin lives off in one wing, while her uncle lives in another. No one is responding to the letters she sends, and bizarre events begin to unfold. Her aunt¿s unexpected generosity may have come at a steep price.This novel is quite different from a lot of Georgette Heyer's other pieces. It's very dark first off, more of a gothic novel than any thing else with many spooky events and unsettling discoveries not to mention the impending sense of doom.One of the things I like so much about Heyer's novels is her deep character studies and Cousin Kate is no different. In fact in this novel she takes it a step further and addresses the very real concerns about how mental illness was treated and the attitude towards it during the regency. Very spooky, no wonder the gothic genre even arose in the first place. No doubt it was from households like these.Of course, you can't have a Georgette Heyer without the romance. Cousin Phillip is yet another cousin of the establishment that comes to visit at this awkward time and good thing too! He at first believes her to be after the family money but soon realizes something far more sinister is afoot, and Kate is the target of it. Really, I found the misunderstandings these two continually went through to be surprisingly endearing. Normally I can't stand for characters to make a muddle of things. But, with everything else going on around them I could hardly blame them.Favorite Quote:"Has it occurred to you, Kate, that she is placing you under an obligation?""Oh, yes, indeed it has, and it is crushing me!" she said earnestly. "If only there were some way of requiting her - not arranging flowers, or entertaining Sir Timothy, or bearing Torquil company, but a big thing! Something that was vital to her, or - or even something that entailed a sacrifice! But there isn't anything that I can discover."There was a pause, during which he frowned down at his well-kept finger-nails. At length he said slowly: "If she were to demand it of you, would you be prepared to make a sacrifice of yourself?"
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well. This surprised me. I was expecting a Regency romance, which is what Heyer is famous for, and instead, I got a gothic. I lurrrrve gothics.The "Cousin Kate" of the title is an orphaned, penniless young woman who's been invited to live with her aunt after losing her position as a governess. Her old nurse, to whom she'd turned, contacted the aunt Kate had never met, and at first, all seemed fine.The aunt was kind and solicitous, and her cousin Torquil a handsome but moody young man, but the expected introductions to London society never materialized with their hope of contracting a marriage for Kate, and instead they lived quietly in the country, with the poor health of her aunt's husband, Sir Timothy, as an excuse.With the arrival of Sir Timothy's nephew Phillip, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems, and Kate is thrust into the middle of a mystery, not knowing whom to trust.I've been wavering between 4 and 5 stars for this book. On the one hand, I have no complaints about it whatsoever. I love the gothic style, and this was a pretty much flawless example of a gothic romance. On the other hand, it's a flawless example of a gothic romance--that is, there was nothing to distinguish it from other gothic romances, nothing that made me say "oh, my god, this is such a good book." Realizing that my ratings have been becoming inflated of late, I'm sticking with the 4 stars. Which I've always intended to mean "a book I really enjoy, but that doesn't make me want to do a little dance."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent story, well told, with wonderful characters and witty, sparkling dialogue
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I really love this author. gives you a vision of what the era was like. this especially had laughing times and what is going to happen next?
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