Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Cousin Kate (1968)

Cousin Kate. Georgette Heyer. 1968/2009. Sourcebooks. 384 pages. [Source: Bought]

Just how thankful should 'Cousin Kate' be to Aunt Minerva (Lady Broome)? Should receiving her aunt's "gifts" of shelter and clothes, obligate her in anyway to MARRY her cousin Torquil?! Kate Malvern is exceedingly thankful and quite patient considering the circumstances. She's accepted the fact that her "new" family has eccentricities, their own way of doing things, their own idea of what "normal" looks like. She even likes her cousin Torquil, in small doses when he isn't throwing a tantrum. But she likes someone else more! Someone who isn't losing it. Someone who doesn't aim guns at her all the while making excuses. Kate is falling in love with Philip. (Philip is the nephew of Sir Timothy; Aunt Minerva is Sir Timothy's SECOND wife.) And Philip is falling in love with her. He thinks that Kate will need rescuing, that his aunt (by marriage) is NOT to be trusted.

Cousin Kate is gothic and creepy. It doesn't quite match the intensity of Rebecca or Jane Eyre. But it's close.

Quotes starring Torquil and Kate:
He gave a low chuckle, and released his painful grip on her arm. ‘Strong, aren’t I?’ He flexed his long fingers, regarding them with an admiring smile. ‘I could strangle you one-handed, you know. Wouldn’t think it, to look at me, would you?’ ‘No, but as I haven’t had occasion to consider the matter there’s nothing wonderful in that!’ she retorted, rubbing her arm. His chagrined face stirred her sense of fun; she broke into laughter, and said: ‘Cry craven, Torquil! You have the wrong sow by the ear: I’m not so easily impressed!’ That made him echo her laughter. ‘Kate, Cousin Kate, do you call yourself a sow? I should never dare do so! You are the most unusual girl!’
She followed him down the steps to the stone bridge which was flung across the narrow end of the lake. He went ahead of her to the middle of the bridge, and stood there, leaning his arms on the parapet, and watching her with a mocking smile. ‘Come along!’ he coaxed. ‘I won’t throw you in!’ She laughed. ‘No, won’t you?’ ‘Not if you don’t wish it!’ ‘I most certainly do not wish it!’ ‘Don’t you? Not at all? I often think how pleasant it would be to drown.’ ‘Well, it wouldn’t be in the least pleasant!’ she said severely. ‘Are you trying to make my flesh creep? I warn you, I have a very matter-of-fact mind, and shall put you to a non-plus! What lies beyond the lake?’
Quotes starring Philip and Kate:
‘So I should hope! For God’s sake, Kate – ! I’m not flirting with you! I’m trying to tell you that I love you!’ ‘Oh!’ uttered Kate faintly. Mr Philip Broome, indignant at being given so little encouragement, said in goaded voice: ‘Now say you’re much obliged to me!’ ‘I don’t know that I am,’ responded Kate, almost inaudibly. ‘I – I don’t know what you mean!’ With all the air of a deeply reticent man forced to declare his sentiments, he said: ‘Exactly what I said! I LOVE YOU!’ ‘You needn’t shout! I’m not deaf !’ retorted Kate, with spirit. ‘I was afraid you might be! I could hardly have put it more plainly! And all you can say is Oh ! As though it was a matter of no consequence to you! If you feel that you can’t return my – my regard, tell me so! I’ve dared to hope, but I was prepared to have my offer rejected, and although it would be a severe blow, I trust I have enough conduct not to embarrass you by persisting!’ ‘You – you haven’t made me an offer!’ said Kate. She added hurriedly, and in considerable confusion: ‘I don’t in the least wish you to! I mean, I would far, far liefer you didn’t if you are trying to – Oh, dear, how very awkward this is! Mr Broome, pray don’t offer me a carte blanche !’ ‘A carte blanche ?’ he exclaimed, apparently stunned. By this time she was crimson-cheeked. She stammered: ‘Is – isn’t that the right term?’ ‘No, it is not the right term!’ he said savagely, drawing his horses in to the side of the lane, and pulling them to a halt. ‘What kind of a loose-screw do you take me for? Offer a carte blanche to a delicately bred girl in your circumstances? You must think I’m an ugly customer!’ ‘Oh, no, no! Indeed I don’t!’ He possessed himself of her hands, and held them in a hard grip. ‘I am proposing to you, Kate! Will you marry me?’ Her hands instinctively clung to his; a happiness she had never known before flooded her being; but she said foolishly: ‘Oh, no! Don’t! You can’t have considered – Oh, dear, how improper this is!’ Mr Philip Broome, after one swift glance round, dragged her roughly into his arms and kissed her. For a delirious moment Kate yielded, but every precept that Sarah had drummed into her head shrieked to her that she was violating every canon of propriety, and behaving without delicacy or conduct. She made a desperate attempt to thrust him away, uttering an inarticulate protest. He released her with unexpected alacrity, ejaculating: ‘I might have known it!’ and set his horses in motion again. ‘That’s what comes of proposing in a curricle!

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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