When young and beautiful governess Kate Malvern finds herself unemployed, she is taken in by Minerva Broome, the aunt she has never met, and whisked away to the majestic country home of Staplewood. However, things are not as they seem: strange things start to happen in the manor and Staplewood soon turns from an inviting stately house to a cold and gloomy mansion with a dreadful secret!
Rating: B for narration; B- for content
If you pick up Cousin Kate expecting to listen to one of Georgette Heyer’s trademark romantic comedies of manners, then I’m afraid you might be a little disappointed, as this book is somewhat of a departure from her usual vein.
Cousin Kate is more of a gothic mystery than a romance (although there is one), in which the orphaned Kate Malvern is taken in by her aunt, only to discover that there is perhaps more to that lady’s motives than simple generosity.
Kate is twenty-four, and at the beginning of the story has just returned to London following her dismissal from a post as governess because one of the young men in the household couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Having followed the drum for more than half her life, she has no airs or graces about her, even though she’s a well-born young lady – which is just as well because when her father died, leaving her with nothing, she had to make her own way in life. In London, she stays at the home of Sarah Nidd, her former nurse, who is outraged at Kate’s latest idea of trying to find herself work as a ladies maid, which is, in Sarah’s opinion, no occupation for a young lady of quality.