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Cousin Kate

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,975 Ratings  ·  274 Reviews
Kate Malvern, rescued from penury by her aunt Minerva, hardly knows what to expect at Staplewood - the grand household is so very different from a life spent following the drum in the Peninsular! But surely, other households are more homelike? Kate's uncle lives in one wing, handsome, moody cousin Torquil in another; thought the guests are few, even family dinners are form ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published October 6th 2005 by Arrow (first published 1968)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
In Cousin Kate, one of Georgette Heyer's later books (written in 1968, 46 years after her first book, The Black Moth, was published), Georgette tried a Gothic spin on one of her historical romances, with distinctly mixed results.

Kate Malvern, alone in the world at age 23, has just lost her governess job when the wrong guy made a pass at her, can't get another job, and has no money and nowhere to go except her old nanny's home, which isn't a good permanent solution for her. Sarah Nidd, her devote
...more
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
May 11, 2016 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Heyer completists
3.5

The end of the 60s & beginning of the 70s had quite a craze for Gothic fiction. Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier had cemented it's place as a modern classic & the works of the prolific Victoria Holt were widely read. Some established authors wanted to add their own twists to this fad.

Agatha Christie tried her hand at a Modern Gothic with Endless Night by Agatha Christie I reread this last year & it remains one of my favourites from Christie's later works. Unfortunately GH's attempt at a Regency Gothic wasn't quite so su
...more
Ruth Turner
Nov 28, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it liked it
Shelves: georgette-heyer

The romance was really a side issue in this book, with none of the feeling that Georgette Heyer has imbued in her other Regency Romances. The love story developed way too quickly and I thought Philip and Kate rather insipid.

However, apart from the romance, this was a good read, and I have to say that I loved old Mr Nid. His conversations were priceless!
Hana
May 06, 2016 Hana rated it liked it
About a three and a half star book rounded down because Georgette Heyer herself sets such a high bar. Gothic is not my favorite genre and the shocking ending cast quite a pall over the romance. Still, I enjoyed Kate as a spunky, sensible heroine, as well as Kate's loyal and wise old nurse Sarah and Sarah's redoubtable father, Mr Nidd (who provided much-needed comic relief).
Res
Feb 22, 2008 Res rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
The one where penniless, orphaned Kate is taken in by an aunt she's never met, and begins to discover strange things happening in the manor.

This was two different books that didn't mesh well together. The romance conflicts with the suspense in a way that takes the power out of both of them. By the time Kate finds out she could be in real danger, she's already got an ally who's more powerful than any of the forces that threaten her. And in a romance context I accept women agreeing to marry men t
...more
Tweety
Aug 19, 2014 Tweety rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you like Gothic and don't mind a slower story with a happy/sad ending
I do believe I am in shock. What a morbid, Ghastly, Horrid ending. I rather wish I hadn't finished it at night. How on earth did it end on a happy note?

I really have to think about this review.

I've thought about it

I found it almost lyrical, I could see the beautiful still water that haunted Torquil, I felt his anguish over his dreams. His lingering worry that someone didn't have his best interests at heart. Poor Torquil.

Minerva was so like Aunt Em from Death in Kenya. They both did different
...more
Melissa McShane
I have the weirdest relationship with this book. The first time I read it, I *hated* it. To the extent of giving it away. I thought Kate was a doormat and Torquil was awful. This time, I have no idea what I was thinking, because Kate is bright and sensible and clever and altogether interesting. (Torquil is still awful, but in a Gothic way.) I still don't love it, but I'm amending my rating to match my new opinion.

Cousin Kate represents a departure from Heyer's usual historical romances and histo
...more
Olga Godim
Sep 23, 2013 Olga Godim rated it liked it
Shelves: georgette-heyer
Unlike most Heyer’s romances, which are light-hearted romps, this novel is sad, almost tragic, with a brooding atmosphere of Gothic horror and a cast of characters to match.
The protagonist Kate is a penniless young woman of twenty-four. Her parents are dead, she doesn’t have any other relatives, and the only person who loves her is her former nurse. Kicked out from her position as a governess, Kate is trying in vain to find a new ‘situation’. She is close to despair, when unexpectedly a rich Au
...more
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
The heroine is no shrinking violet!

This book is Georgette Heyer's attempt at a gothic story. This book, like her first novel "The Black Moth" I don't recco to people who are newbies to Georgette Heyer.

I really liked the heroine. She was like able, honorable, independent and plucky.

There were some endearing minor characters from the "lower orders"--Kate's now married former nurse Mrs. Sarah Nidd and father in law Mr Nidd.

There were some amusing foibles of the superstitious Staplewood estate hous
...more
Caz
I've given this a B for narration and a B- for content at AudioGals.

If you pick up Cousin Kate expecting to listen to one of Georgette Heyer’s trademark romantic comedies of manners, then I’m afraid you might be a little disappointed, as this book is somewhat of a departure from her usual vein.

Cousin Kate is more of a gothic mystery than a romance (although there is one), in which the orphaned Kate Malvern is taken in by her aunt, only to discover that there is perhaps more to that lady’s motive
...more
Kathryn
Oct 08, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic
Cousin Kate was quite a surprise to me the first time I read it; I was expecting a light and fluffy Regency romance but instead got a Gothic romance. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Gothic romances are a subset of romance novels that feature heroines going through all sorts of dreadful adventures, including fire, flood, ghosts, murderers, skeletons, etc., before finally finding the right man. These novels were extremely popular with young English women during the Regency era, but mos ...more
Teresa
May 07, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot. There was so much drama in it from start to finish. I'ts totally different from her other books and it makes me wonder why she took such a different pathway. What was on her mind when she sat down to write this novel.
The Nidds were my favourite characters. Especially Mr. Nidd. I loved his expressions when speaking. I felt sorry for the Uncle, Timothy. I know he was a weak character and ignored what he didn't want to worry about or be troubled with but life hadn't been k
...more
QNPoohBear
Bodley Head 1968
Turned off from her job as a governess, Kate Malvern has no where to go except to the home of her old nurse, Sarah Nidd, a carrier's wife. When Kate declares her intentions of becoming a fashionable lady's maid or a dressmaker, Sarah is appalled. A young lady like Kate shouldn't have to go into trade, even if her father was a gamester soldier who left Kate with nothing. Urged on by her cantankerous, but kindly, father-in-law, Sarah writes to Kate's estranged aunt, Lady Broome. K
...more
Jessica
Sep 11, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic
This book... I don't know, man.

It has a Modern Gothic feel and a Regency Gothic setting, with its grand old house that becomes a mark of obsession for the innocent-but-plucky heroine's long-lost aunt (who reminded me greatly of Maleficent). Plus all sorts of family dysfunction and madness for extra Gothic fun. And it was definitely scary in places, in a small animals in danger from a proto-serial killer way. But the romance was very abrupt -- to the point where the heroine's suspicion that the
...more
Kate
Mar 06, 2011 Kate rated it liked it
The darkest Heyer I've read, with a penniless heroine taken in by an aunt with ulterior motives, an unsympathetic hero, and a poor madman. I got bogged down in the middle of this one - it's clear that Torquil is mad, it's clear that Minerva is trying to get Kate to marry him, but Heyer just fills in more and more pointless detail, perhaps in an attempt to make the Philip-Kate relationship more realistic. She couldn't resist reverting to her regular silly tone at the end, despite the series of tr ...more
Damaskcat
May 29, 2016 Damaskcat rated it really liked it
I remember reading Cousin Kate when it was first published and finding it not quite to my taste. It is probably the most Gothic of Heyer's novels though it has more humour and a much more sensible heroine than most of the books in that genre. Kate Malvern is rescued from a life as a governess by her formidable Aunt Minerva and taken to live with her and her husband and handsome son, Torquil.

At first Kate feels quite happy to have landed in such luxurious surroundings and she is happy to help her
...more
Whitney
May 05, 2016 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Wuthering Heights and Rebecca were to have a baby, Cousin Kate would be the product of their labors. It held mysterious characters with unclear motives like Mrs. Danvers and the strange, conniving plot of Wuthering Heights.

Cousin Kate was our Rebecca,innocent and financially at the end of her rope although rather more like Belle in Beauty and the Beast when it came to wit and brains.

Torquill was Linton Heathcliff, a sickly boy but was more than meets the eye and constantly trying to rebel. He
...more
Susan in NC
May 03, 2016 Susan in NC rated it liked it
3.5-4 stars - as in I liked it, almost really liked it in the fast-paced last third or so; I am not a fan of gothic novels, but this was a gripping and fun ride - I could barely put it down over the last couple of days! This is my first time reading this novel, and as always it is great fun to explore one of my favorite author's novels with the GR Heyer Fans group read. Such an articulate, funny, insightful and smart group adds so much to my reading enjoyment, and this is no exception.

Several m
...more
Christina
Aug 12, 2009 Christina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads, crime
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 en ...more
Meredith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
Kate is a young girl in her mid-twenties. Young by our standards, but in the Regency period she was bordering on being an old maid. What is worse is that both of her parents have died, and she has just lost her job as a nanny. So she has no home, no job, and nothing for a dowry.

She has traveled to her childhood nurse, Sarah's home until she can find another placement. She doesn't feel like she can stay with Sarah as she has her own husband and family to care for - so when her Aunt Minerva shows
...more
LaFleurBleue
Jan 21, 2015 LaFleurBleue rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance-histo, e-book
The gothic-reeking beginning of the book with Kate being smothered at Staplewood in a lurid environment full of hidden secrets, screams at night, weird characters took me by surprise but did not manage to engage me. It all seemed too much and Kate frequently seemed like a good-willing but slightly stupid goose to me.
Finally after more than 80 pages, the hero appeared on stage. He was as boring and colorless as the poor Cousin Kate. First they seemed to hate each other, then no longer. Their roma
...more
Mela
May 13, 2016 Mela rated it liked it
I am a big fan of GH and I am not a fan of Gothic stories. For me this book was good, but not so good as Heyer could be. I was feeling Heyer's hand in many descriptions and dialogues. And I must confess, there is a good psychological fundaments in personalities of Minerva, Torquil and Sir Timothy.

So, I think it must be an amazing book for fans of GH and Gothic mysteries.
Alyssa
Apr 08, 2015 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
This was my first book by Georgette Heyer. While other reviews have pointed out this is not her typical novel formula, it has inspired me to read more of her work. Which I'm excited for. This is probably why I gave the novel such a high rating. As a daughter of Jane Austen I'm very excited to have found another author who writes about the regency era that I enjoy.
Debbie
May 30, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
"Cousin Kate" is a Gothic Regency romance. It's got the screams in the night, locked doors, manipulations, and Gothic-style madness. Though not a light-hearted story, it's like Heyer couldn't let the story descend into a creepy or horror story--just some tense moments full of threat. Which is fine by me! The ending was very sad, but I felt like the author was trying too hard to convince the reader that this really was a happy ending. Also, since Kate is supposed to be world-traveled and not a sh ...more
Adobe
May 25, 2015 Adobe rated it did not like it
Penniless Kate Malvern is invited to visit her rich relations at Staplewood, a sprawling ancestral estate. But does Aunt Minerva have an ulterior motive in hosting Kate? And does something hidden lurk behind Cousin Torquil's handsome face?

Cousin Kate is Georgette Heyer's attempt to write a Gothic novel chockablock full of locked doors, mutilated animals, and mad relatives. It lacks any of the daft characters or screwball humor from Heyer's earlier Regencies; instead, it is Very Very Serious. But
...more
Katie Patchell
Apr 14, 2011 Katie Patchell rated it liked it
This was a good book. It was different from the other Georgette Heyer book that I read (Bath Tangle), as the second half dealt with murder and a possibly insane person. I don't read horror books, and although this had the slightly scary theme of murder, it was well-written. I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue, as well as the first half of the book. I just liked the whole Regency-Era-country-manor setting. I would suggest, though, the following:

1. Don't read this as an introduction to the b
...more
Hannah
Mar 15, 2010 Hannah rated it liked it
I've only read 3 other Heyer books, so I can't speak with any authority on how different this offering is compared to her numerous other books, but I will note that I heard about Cousin Kate because it stirs up alot of mixed feelings (and ratings) with Heyer fans.


So of course I had to read it...


Cousin Kate starts off lighthearted, but but within 50 pages the plot takes on a darker, more gothic feel. There is a romance involved, but it's actually not the central theme of the book - mental illness
...more
Angela
Apr 23, 2009 Angela rated it liked it
The only other book I've read by Georgette Heyer was a complete farce, so I was expecting the same type of light comedy when I picked up this book; I was floored when the plot progressed into something much closer to a Gothic mystery. The writing conveys a fantastic blend of pragmatic humor and skin-crawling suspense. I was completely drawn in and could hardly put it down. The characters are complex and realistic, and the romantic side-plot (though rushed considering the serious side of the book ...more
April
Jan 12, 2013 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should preface my review by saying that my favorite Georgette Heyer books are the lighthearted romps populated by witty cynics (The Masqueraders is probably my favorite of these). However, there is much to recommend in Cousin Kate. As with most Heyer novels, many of the characters are well-developed, with attention to both strengths and weaknesses and excellent descriptive quality. The opening scenes of Kate's arrival at the Nidd establishment are some of the most vivid. Unfortunately, the nov ...more
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Georgette Heyer Fans: Cousin Kate Read May 2016 Chapters 11-21 56 29 May 16, 2016 04:49PM  
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Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

Hey
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“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?”
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