No one can compare to Georgette Heyer. Many try to emulate her style, but no one has mastered it. And in spite of her troublesome tendency to marry off naive young girls barely out of the schoolroom to older, sophisticated men of the world, and her frequent portrayal of the middle and merchant classes as uncultured, uncouth, and grasping, perpetually trying to curry favour with the upper classes, she is still one of my favourite authors
With Cousin Kate, Heyer abandons somewhat the comedy of manners that she is so well known for and enters the darker realm of the gothic novel. The heroine, Kate Malvern, is a penniless orphan who has just lost her latest job (as a governess) and her home. An aunt, of whom she knows little, offers her a home at Staplewood Manor, provided she acts as a companion and friend to her young cousin, Torquil. Torquil proves to be a charming and clever young man who is also troubled by frequent mood swings and bouts of depression. All too soon Kate discovers that all is not well at Staplewood Manor. There is an atmosphere of secrecy and deception, and Kate soon finds that she doesn't know who to trust or what to do.
In Kate Malvern, Heyer has created a witty, courageous, and engaging heroine. The avid Georgette Heyer fan may miss the lively, light-hearted romps she is most famous for, but I can recommend this book as a wonderful read, especially for its gallant heroine.