Ok, I was going on a weekend vacation with my husband that I new would involve some down time, so I indulged in another Georgette Heyer. It is very much like the others I have read, but it was still a lot of fun.
An orphan girl, Kitty, is adopted by an old miser and raised cloistered on his country estate. When she comes of age, the old man decides that he will fix all his inheritance on her, if she will marry one of his grand-nephews. There are four eligible candidates, a kindly simpleton, a rector, a playboy and dandy. Kitty has had a crush on the playboy, Jack, for many years, but he refuses, out of pride, to offer for her at the appointed time. Kitty refuses the offers of the simpleton, and the rector, but convinces the dandy, Freddy, (who is initially not interested because he is wealthy enough not to be tempted by her fortune), to pretend to be engaged to her. Her hope is to make Jack jealous, and to have an excuse to go and spend a month in London, ostensibly to meet Freddy's family. As naive, but kindly, Kitty tastes the delights of London society, she begins to see what Jack really is.
I kept expecting there to be an actual cotillion dance in the book, because of the title, but there was none. The title is symbolic, because a cotillion is a country dance, like a square dance, with four couples. The plot includes four couples, and the partners move around from one to another like they would in square dance, but come out all well and happy in the end. The final sequence is especially hilarious as the ultimate winner of Kitty's hand scrambles to prove his worth. Caveat: this book has more clear mention of Jack's naughty behavior as
regards to women than any of the other Heyer books, but they are brief
and there is no description of actual encounters. (355 p)