I do love Georgette Heyer, she's the perfect antidote to a crappy day. Her books might not be the deepest or most philosophical on the shelf but they're always reliably entertaining and every time I read one I find something new in it.
Back in my early teens 'Cotillion' wasn't a particular favourite, there are worrying subplots. One character seems likely to be sold into upmarket prostitution for the lack of an eligible husband, and it might be better than the only offer of marriage that she does look likely to get from a much older and distinctly unpleasant man. There's another business like match on the cards between the not very bright Lord Dolphinton (in fear of his mother who controls the money by threatening to have him institutionalised) and Hannah, who doesn't love him but would rather be married than not. The deal she's proposing is a fair one but it certainly underscores how bleak women's lives could be when marriage was basically the only respectable option for a middle class girl.
Meanwhile our heroine, Kitty, is in love with the dashing Jack. He's handsome, charismatic, wild - a typical romantic hero, but he's also selfish and unreliable. In the other corner is Freddy Standon, he's kind, pleasant, and without any discernible dash of brilliance - unless it's in his skill as a dancer and his generally impeccable manners but he is reliable.
Now, this is one of my favourite Heyer's simply because it does celebrate the reliable man. It feels like she's stuck a metaphorical finger up at the accepted romantic conventions (not to much of a finger, but still...). Beauty isn't necessarily going to be enough for the poor girl, the Earl lacks money and intellect (learning difficulties is, I believe, the current term), the man who looks the part of the hero is a cad, but the reliable man will prevail. He really is reliable too, it's more than being the nice guy or the underdog. He is a nice guy (though not really an underdog) it's the undeniable attraction of a man who won't forget your anniversary, who turns up on time, who knows just how to behave in any situation, and how to keep out of a mess.