Guest review by Kara Louise of Delightful Diversions
The heroine of Georgette Heyer’s novel, “Arabella” is Arabella Tallent, daughter of a clergyman from a country neighbourhood and one of eight children. Her father raised his family to care about those less fortunate, to shun extravagancies, and most of all, to live a principled life.
The fortune of the Tallent family is negligible, and it is the greatest wish of Mrs. Tallent for Arabella, her eldest and quite beautiful daughter, to marry well. When Arabella‘s godmother invites her to join her in London for the season, it is hoped that this will provide her with better opportunities to meet gentlemen of consequence and hopefully, find a suitable husband.
On Arabella’s journey to London the carriage breaks down, and the driver sets off to secure another carriage for her and her traveling companion. Rather than wait out in the cold, Arabella decides to seek shelter at a nearby home. The home of Robert Beaumaris.
It is here that Heyer sets up a humourous ‘misunderstanding’ that will take us through the story. Arabella overhears Mr. Beaumaris bemoan to his friend that ladies will do anything to throw themselves into his path because of his fortune, and he believes Arabella has done just that. He believes her carriage accident occurring conveniently outside his home a mere scheme of hers.
Arabella is appalled and retaliates by fabricating a story that she is The Miss Tallant, heir to a great fortune, and is tired of all the men who seek her out. She further expresses her hope that no one in town will come to hear of her wealth.
This bit of intelligence, meant only for the gentlemen, unfortunately follows Arabella to London, and she becomes one of the most sought after ladies in town. When she discovers that everyone believes she has a fortune, she is mortified, but has no idea what to do about it. Her greatest concern is what Mr. Beaumaris will think once he discovers she misrepresented herself to him. He is an influential man who can make or break a woman’s standing among the ‘ton’. The arrival of one of her brothers, who takes on a different identity and finds himself in one scrape after another, adds to her dismay.
Arabella has a rather compassionate nature, and she behaves in a most unrefined way as she rescues a stray dog, takes in an orphaned chimney sweep, and offers assistance to a woman of disreputable character. These acts of charity often involve a very reluctant — and bemused — Mr. Beaumaris, as well.
Georgette Heyer has an amazing ability to write fun, captivating stories filled with wonderful, well-developed characters. She has a precise knowledge and understanding of the Regency Era, and has a way with the language and slang of that era, as well. There are many times in this book that you will laugh heartily at Arabella’s antics. I heartily recommend “Arabella” as a book you will want to read again and again.
Arabella, by Georgette Heyer
Trade paperback (320) pages
Kara Louise grew up in Los Angeles, but now lives in Kansas on ten acres out in the country. She has a great love for all things Jane Austen and has written and self-published six novels based on “Pride and Prejudice.” Two of those novels have been picked up by Sourcebooks. “Darcy’s Voyage” comes out in September, a variation previously entitled “Pemberley’s Promise.” She began reading Heyer’s novels about a year ago and has enjoyed each one. You can follow her on her blog, Delightful Diversions or on Facebook.
Celebrating Georgette Heyer – Day 09 Giveaway
Enter a chance to win one copy of Arabella, by Georgette Heyer (Sourcebooks, 2009) by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about the plot or characters, or if you have read it, which is your favorite character or scene by midnight Pacific time, Monday, September 6th, 2010. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010. Shipment to continental US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Day 09 Aug 15 – Review: The Grand Sophy
Day 10 Aug 16 – Interview with Vic Sanborn
Day 10 Aug 16 – Review: Friday’s Child
Day 11 Aug 18 – Review: The Quiet Gentleman