Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bath Tangle and Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Bath Tangle and Cotillion by Georgette Heyer were enjoyable airplane reads on my recent trip.

In Bath Tangle, strong-willed Serena Carlow is shocked when her late father's will assigns her ex-fiance Ivo Barrasford as her trustee, putting him in charge of not only her fortune, but her marriage prospects as well. Serena initially plans to remain with her young mother-in-law Fanny on her father's former estate, but after a few months of watching her cousin (who inherited the estate) make various "improvements," the two women decide to temporarily relocate to Bath. There, Serena meets a former suitor whose prospects have improved since their early courtship. Will Barrasford give his approval to the match? Does Serena really want him to? And will sweet, shy Fanny find someone to love? When Barrasford's own engagement to a shallow slip of a girl is announced, the tangle is complete!

Cotillion is the story of Kitty Charing, ward to the irascible, miserly Matthew Penicuik. When Penicuik declares that he will leave his considerable fortune to Kitty on the condition that she marries one of his great-nephews, neither Kitty nor the nephews in question are happy about the situation. In fact, Jack, the presumed favorite for Kitty's hand (handsome, but something of a rake), doesn't even show up for Penicuik's announcement. Kitty is furious about the whole situation. With the help of genial, dandified Freddy (another of the nephews), she hatches a plan: she and Freddy will pretend to be engaged, whereupon Kitty will visit Freddy's family in London. She'll have a chance to see something of the world, and maybe she will even manage to make Jack just a little bit jealous. . . .

I liked Bath Tangle and loved Cotillion -- Bath Tangle is a little more predictable, while Cotillion takes certain conventions of the genre and turns them on their heads. I'd hate to spoil the ending for anyone, so I'll stop short of saying anything else about it. But, for anyone unfamiliar with Heyer's writing, I'd say Cotillion would be an excellent place to start -- and for those who have already read and enjoyed some Heyer, don't miss either of these!

(Reviewed from my personally purchased electronic copies.)

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