Source: Review copy from publisher
Book Description from Publisher Website:
Georgette Heyer had a handful of unforgettable heroines, of which Arabella is one of the most engaging.
Daughter of a modest country clergyman, Arabella Tallant is on her way to London when her carriage breaks down outside the hunting lodge of the wealthy Mr. Robert Beaumaris. Her pride stung when she overhears a remark of her host's, Arabella pretends to be an heiress, a pretense that deeply amuses the jaded Beau. To counter her white lie, Beaumaris launches her into high society and thereby subjects her to all kinds of fortune hunters and other embarrassments.
When compassionate Arabella rescues such unfortunate creatures as a mistreated chimney sweep and a mixed-breed mongrel, she foists them upon Beaumaris, who finds he rather enjoys the role of rescuer and is soon given the opportunity to prove his worth in the person of Arabella's impetuous young brother...
Arabella is an enjoyable Regency romance. The book had similarities to Frederica: a charming heroine whose open innocence induces a jaded rich and popular fellow to think of others beyond himself. I liked Frederica a little better, but I certainly enjoyed Arabella, too.
The characters were engaging. Their antics were amusing, and the romance was delightful and built slowly. The historical information was interesting and skillfully woven into the action of the story. The pacing was excellent.
A large number of characters were introduced at the beginning, but their relationships to each other were clear and I was able to quickly sort them all out. Also, there were a small number of French words used. I don't know French, but I had no trouble following what was going on.
There was a very minor amount of swearing. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as well-written, clean fun.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
The schoolroom in the parsonage at Heythram was not a large apartment, but on a bleak January day, in a household where the consumption of coals was a consideration, this was not felt by its occupants to be a disadvantage. Quite a modest fire in the high, barred grate made it unnecessary for all but one of the four young ladies present to huddle shawls round their shoulders. But Elizabeth, the youngest of the Reverend Henry Tallant's handsome daughters, was suffering from the ear-ache, and, besides stuffing a roasted onion into the afflicted orifice, had swathed her head and neck in an old Cashmere shawl. She lay curled up on an aged sofa, with her head on a worn red cushion, and from time to time uttered a long-suffering sigh, to which none of her sisters paid any heed. Betsy was known to be sickly. It was thought that the climate of Yorkshire did not agree with her constitution, and since she spent the greater part of the winter suffering from a variety of minor ills her delicacy was regarded by all but her Mama as a commonplace.
There were abundant signs, littered over the table in the centre of the room, that the young ladies had retired to this cosy, shabby apartment to hem shirts, but only one of them, the eldest, was thus engaged. In a chair on one side of the fireplace, Miss Margaret Tallent, a buxom fifteen-year-old, was devouring the serial story in a bound volume of The Ladies' Monthly Museum, with her fingers stuffed in her ears, and seated opposite to Miss Arabella, her stitchery lying neglected on the table before her, sat Miss Sophia, reading aloud from another volume of this instructive periodical.