Monday, 28 April 2014

Cousin Kate - Georgette Heyer

This is an odd one, because it’s historical fiction, written almost 50 years ago. Part of me thought that it might closely resemble modern historical fiction, but that part of me was wrong.

Nowadays historical fiction often tries to focus on realism, on capturing the mindset and atmosphere of the people living at the time. Heyer, however, simply transplants a plucky 60s young woman into the nineteenth century, making her an unfeasibly attractive and outspoken penniless governess. Kate is invited to stay with her rich aunt Lady Broome and her admittedly odd cousin, Torquil, and discovers various dark family secrets along the way.

Virtually every character in this novel speaks in a bizarre kind of slang, which I initially assumed was common 60s slang, but The Sunday Times claims that it is “slang beautifully rendered” – presumably regency slang, or the contemporaneous idea of it. Having lived through neither the regency period nor the 1960s, I can’t say for sure, but it feels a bit jarring to me.

That said, it’s an amusingly melodramatic romance, and a fun light read.

Next up: The Way of Shadows, by Brent Weeks

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