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! One of Georgette Heyer's later novels, Cousin Kate sees the author take a more experimental turn as she blends the regency romance genre with the suspenseful style of Gothic horror.
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Public Domain ©1968 Georgette Heyer (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
Heyer is a great author and I have all of her books, many in audio book version. I have an old recording of this one on cassette tape, read (very well) by Sean Phillips. This version, however, is completely ruined by a truly awful performance! The reader hams every line to the skies, putting on a variety of dreadful, hysterically-rendered voices. Reluctantly, I am going to have to apply for my money back on this one. It is impossible to continue listening to it.
I didn't warm to Cousin Kate when I first read it, but after a re-read it became a favourite. Slightly different from her usual comedies of manners, with dashes of Gothic, it still has the wonderful cast of supporting characters we've come to expect. For me in this they are Sarah, Kate's former Nurse, now a busy matriarch running her husband's family and Inn in London, and Sarah's glorious elderly father-in-law. And there's always Kate's monstrous social mountaineering Aunt Minerva...
This is a sad story in some ways but I don't want to give spoilers. It still has plenty of comedy and a pleasant romance, with a decent ending, and some interesting sidelights on Inn life in the 19C. Jilly Bond's narration is perfectly acceptable, but a bit arch at times. Perhaps I've been spoiled by too many Phyllida Nash readings? It is well worth listening to, even if you've already read the book.
As a story quite good but the performance of the narrator loses the plot...
I have read the book and to say what I found most memorable at that time would be a spoiler. However the most memorable moments as an audiobook was when I found that despite my best intentions I could not listen any more
Her voice for Kate which was too high and lacked spirit. Also her dreadful interpretation of a voice for Philip
No. Even if it had been read well the plot was too complicated and the story too long.
I ignored some of the previous reviews but I wish I hadn't
There is a sinister strand to the usual Georgette Heyer plot which really does work rather well. It allows you to enjoy all the usual cast of charactures plus the unlikely romance that you know will end happily - but just takes a little of the icing away so that the overall ambience isn't quite as sweet as we are used to. I thoroughly enjoyed this slightly different Heyer tale and only didn't vote it a 5 star listen because it did take me a couple of chapters to really get into the tale. This was mainly because I didn't like the pitch of the heroine's voice, which I found rather irritating and not as I envisaged Kate. Having said that once I got used to this I found Jilly Bond's presentation absolutely first rate and her pace and the other range of character voices first class. Yet another listen I would recommend.
I don't think so.
Sarah, as I felt that the reader had best identified the voice and character.
At times the reading pace felt rushed and the herione's voice was very high pitched and arch. This made me dislike her character.
Perhaps I simply prefer male reader voices.
Yes this is a different kind of Georgette Heyer, but maybe the plot or maybe the narrator but sometimes I could have happily strangled the heroine Cousin Kate.
The characters are ok, though the hero isn't exactly a barrel of laughs. The plot is very silly though.
She does her best.
I trudged through this one. Very unlikely to listen to it again.
one of my all time favourite writers but this audio book was spoiled because it was very over acted and badly read
Just read it we dont need silly accents and high pitched whiney women
Mis pronounced the odd word as well which grates my nerves
Cousin Kate is an excellent, though unusual example of Georgette Heyer's work. One of my favourite of her works, completely ruined by the awful narrator. I do not have words for how inappropriate and unsympathetic Ms Bond's narration is to the Gothic quality of the story, and the strong lead character. This is a travesty.
Where to start? The narrator should never be allowed to work again on the basis of this effort
Our heroine is so dreadfully twee I am not sure if I will be able to finish listening. Sorry for this as this book completes my Heyer regency collection bar one.
"Classic Heyer, narrator falls short"
Ms. Bond did a fine job of narrating and giving the characters their own voices, except — and this is a big caveat — for the voice of Philip Broome. He is made to sound almost like a parody of an English gentleman instead of like a sensible man, which is how he is written. It is surprisingly disappointing and grates on the ear.
Other than the Philip Broome problem, I enjoyed this audiobook, having always enjoyed the novel. Jilly Bond did a particularly grand job of voicing Kate and Lady Broome.
But for those who want a true feel for the characters, read the book, please. It's a gothic tale, but with heart.
I love the book and have read it in paperback on multiple occasions. The narrator makes Kate sound like an idiot! I got through two chapters and gave up. Jilly Bond ruined the book for me. I will not purchase any more of Heyer's books if she is the narrator.
Remove the earbuds and change to another book.
Get rid of Jilly Bond.
"What an overwrought ninny"
Way too much exposition, way too much whining and hand wringing. I was hoping for one of Heyer's plucky and positive heroines, but this book definitely doesn't deliver.
I think the narrator was saddled with a very tough text to strike the right tone, but I think she could have tamped down the overwrought drama. She makes Kate sound like a ninny that Heyer's usual heroine would hold in positive distain.
"Demand Jilly Bond to do more Georgette Heyers work"
After reading through so many Regency Romance novels, can see no other imitating writer(s) can hold a candle to this Genre fiction’s creator Georgette Heyer in terns of the humorous vivid colorful Englishness English language, story telling, and style.
Jilly Bond’s performance is colorful, exciting, vivid and true to Heyers’ characters. Deserve 5 stars and above.
Listening to this book became almost a chore. I found nothing fresh in the story plot and at times the characters seem to just fade away. The narrators voice was also distracting. Kate the title character is supposed to be strong, yet she comes off sounding like a simpering Pollyanna. I would not recommend this book very highly.
"Heyer's attempt at gothic horror romance."
Not the usual Heyer. A sad tale and a bit tedious, but Jilly Bond's performance is wonderful.
"A wonderful touching Georgette Heyer story."
Romance, suspense, and emotional upheavals in this different type of story. I liked the heroine and hero for their straight forwardness. My heart broke when the story dealt with Torquil, he was so tragic. Another one for the keep shelf.
"A cerebral Gothic horror story, not Heyer's usual."
With two characters subject to mania that is analyzed at length, and little of the humor and charm that Heyer's characters often show, this is my least favorite of her romances. Jolly Bond's narration is well paced, her accents are charming, and her plummy vowels beautiful, but I find her voice too high pitched for easy listening.
"Great story, but spoiled by narrator"
Not really. I'd recommend the book though.
I have stopped listening after three hours. I'll read my ebook again.
"Don't Do It"
This is by far the worst Heyer novel. I am a completist, so I decided to give this book a try despite what I'd heard, and I have to say I wish I hadn't. I am a big fan of Georgette Heyer, and have read nearly all of her novels (even the mysteries), but I couldn't even bring myself to listen to the last few minutes of this. It seems to be an attempt at gothic horror, but it is both obvious and infuriatingly poorly planned, with one-dimensional characters and a melodramatic feel. If you are fan of Heyer, save yourself some disappointment and choose another book.
That said, the performance was good.
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