"Cousin Kate" by Georgette Heyer {Books}

This is one of the more serious novels of Heyer in which you would find both the separate writing styles of romance and thrillers. It little resembles some of the dark books of Christie and you can easily feel that something is being hidden even though the suspense is really not that moving. But, the climax is more of anti-climax and is quite horrifying to find in a romance novel. 

Kate is in her twenties and is penniless. She used to work as a governess at a place which she had to leave because one of the relatives of the house proposes marriage to her and some other lady antagonizes. So, Kate comes back to Sarah, her nurse, who is married and owns a little inn. Kate is planning to apply elsewhere for situations but Sarah stealthily writes to Kate's aunt telling her of Kate's circumstances and hopes that the unknown lady turns up and takes Kate under her wing. It does happen and when the aunt descends, Kate is unable to reject the offer of spending her summer at her aunt's place and leaves for Staplewood.

Her aunt is married to Sir Timothy Broome who owns the Staplewood. They have a son named Torquil who is nineteen. During the starting days of her stay, Kate finds the place very pleasant to live but she soon gets bored of having nothing to do. She also finds out about the odd habits of the residents of Staplewood. The house houses Dr. Chester along with the other three residents and all the three of them live in different wings and it seems as if there is no connection between the residents. Neither is Kate's aunt concerned with her husband's health which is precarious and very very delicate, neither does Torquil harbor least affection for his mother and father and neither does her aunt bother to visit the other two in their wings. Torquil also inherits a delicate constitution from his father and is prone to mood swings and fits of ecstasy or despair. Kate soon learns how to control him and Torquil is generally happy with Kate.

During her stay, Kate comes across Philip who is the first cousin and heir to Staplewood after Torquil. Kate's aunt hates Philip, his uncle dotes on him and Torquil probably likes him except for when he is in despair when he considers Philip to be his enemy and accuses Philip of trying to kill him. One day, Kate's aunt asks her to get married to Torquil which shocks Kate to no less an extent. Slowly, it is revealed that there is a lot being hidden at Staplewood and neither of the residents are what they show. The darkness soon becomes intense and Kate's only friend remains Philip. They both fall desperately in love with each other and Kate plans to leave Staplewood when her nurse, Sarah, turns up which brings another character of Kate's aunt into picture. 

Sarah's turning up leads to the most interesting climaxes of Heyer's books. One should definitely read this book to enjoy the favor which has so delicately been laid down in its pages.

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