Guest Review by Alexa Adams of First Impressions
When their Great-uncle Matthew, the miserly Mr. Penicuik, summons his five unmarried nephews to Arnside House, only four oblige him. Unfortunately, one of these attendees, already being married, was not even invited, a fact that delights the somewhat slow Lord Dolphinton, who torments the unwelcome Lord Biddenden by recounting the many times their host has mentioned the fact: “‘Said it when we sat down to luncheon,’ he continued, ticking the occasion off on one bony finger. ‘Said it at dinner. Said if you didn’t care for your mutton you needn’t have come because he didn’t invite you.’” But as Lord Biddenden’s most eligible brother, Claude Rattray, is away on campaign, and his other brother, the Reverend Hugh Rattray, can be depended on to make “a ramshackle business” of it, he feels his supervisory presence is unquestioningly required at Arnside. Yet there was only one great-nephew whose company Mr. Pencuik really desired – his favorite, the rakish Jack Westruther – and he has failed to put in an appearance.
As Uncle Matthew’s explicit purpose in collecting his nephews about him was to announce his outrageous intention of allowing his ward, Miss Kitty Charing, to choose amongst them a husband, Jack’s absence is of great chagrin to both himself and Kitty, who has “fancied herself in love with him for years”. After declining Lord Dolphinton’s proposal, which his domineering mother has forced him to make, as well as Hugh’s, who presents his suit with all the sensibility of Jane Austen’s Mr. Collins, Kitty reacts as every proper Heyer heroine must in such an unsavory predicament; declaring that she does not want her guardian’s “odious fortune”, that she would “rather wear the willow” all her days, she promptly runs away. Continue reading “Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”