Kate is surprised to receive an invitation to live with a distant aunt, uncle, and cousin who buy her new clothes and provide all the amenities a young lady of quality needs. Kate begins to realize, though that her aunt’s apparent benevolence hides an ulterior motive — to assure succession of the title, her aunt intends Kate to marry her cousin Torquil, until his increasingly bizarre behavior culminates in violence and tragedy.
I put off reading Cousin Kate for almost three months now because False Colours and parts of A Convenient Marriage left a sour taste in my mouth. I actually started this book twice and barely managed to get past the first ten pages; the narrative just didn’t grabbed me. And then when I finally managed to plow through and start to the enjoy the story, the plot begins to lose it’s way. It deviates and takes roads that lead to no where, which ultimately means the story stutters and stalls at the end.
I think part of my difficulty with Cousin Kate is the fact that it’s two different books — a romance novel and a mystery novel — forced together. Both aspects lack any sort of power over the narrative meaning that they cancel one another out. I was supposed to feel like Kate was in real danger, but by the time she (and I) realize how danger she actually was in, she had already found a powerful, stronger-than-the-danger man to save her. And, as someone else pointed out, I found utterly ridiculous that Kate would marry a men she’s only known for a week when people are not what they appear.
I thought the most interesting part of Cousin Kate was the expose on the treatment of mental illness during the Regency period, but the ending almost voided out that for me.
- Heyer, Georgette. Cousin Kate. Sourcebooks: New York, 2009. Originally Published 1968. Print. 380 pgs. ISBN: 9781402217685. Source: Purchased.