Amy's Reviews > Arabella

Arabella by Georgette Heyer
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's review
Jan 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: georgette-heyer, books-i-have-re-read-time-and-time, re-read-in-2017
Read in August, 2017

2017 Review - 5 Stars
Breaking from my usual method of leaving reviews and stars untouched and bumping this up to 5 stars because I absolutely love this book. I've worn out my copy re-reading it. It is comfortable and lovely and I still swoon happily over Arabella and Mr. Beaumaris. Never mind this book's imperfections, it is lovely. 17-year-old Amy just wasn't ready for the genius that is Heyer.

2011 Review - 3 Stars
Before going into detail about Arabella , I really should mention the book's author, because it was seeing her picture that first intrigued me into picking up the book. The black and white picture provided by goodreads represents a pretty woman of undeterminable age, unremarkable. Fashionable, maybe of the thirties, wearing a funky WW hat with a feather and fur coat, almost post-flapper. I pictured a character more dramatic and romantic, probably single. Her name seemed to be popping up everywhere, though, so with a bored burst of desperation, I got it from the library.
Arabella is the eldest daughter of a genteel parson and his wife. When a wealthy godmother offers to chaperone her for a season in London, it seems like the perfect opportunity for her to make an advantageous marriage that will make the fortunes of her eight siblings. A carriage accident throws her in the path of the extremely wealthy and arrogant Robert Beaumaris, most sought-after marriage catch in society. After accidently overhearing his disgusted opinion that she is nothing more than a fortune hunter who had contrived a way to find him even in the country, "Bella" impetuously decided to put him in his place by pretending to be an heiress of immense wealth. Things don't go quite as planned....suddenly almost all of fashionable London believes her to be a fabulously wealthy young woman, with fops and rakes, and fortune hunters alike begging for her hand, Bella starts to wonder if she has lost her only chance of happiness in one impetuous moment....
My thoughts went something like that.....
delightfully amusing
a good romp
really, quite amusing...
And all that by page 70!
I struggled through most of the book with a mixture of incredulity and intense amusment. The plot was forseeable and was so much like Pride and Prejudice, I kept thinking of my brother's comment after watching the P and P movie:
"Clearly, she didn't have much interation with guys."
In Heyer's defense, though, the characters were the best part of the book. In fact, they were really well done. Arabella could be sickeningly perfect at times, and utterly ridiculous by the end, but you loved her anyway. In fact, she reminded me of Bella from Our Mutual Friend. I espeically liked how she took the information about a season in London. It was believable. She wasn't perfect; she didn't take the information like a little saint, but was believably excited. And conscientious about her attire. She didn't fret over being the belle of the Season, but neither did she sucumb to some horrible evil of society. It was a good balance.
Her part of the romance, though, was slightly unlikely. While I could believe that Mr. Beaumaris fell in love with her for her character, she is repeatedly struck my how handsome he is....and little else. Her opinion of his character doesn't seem to improve much until maybe the very end, and I mean the very end. His actions pretty much saved her from going down in literature as eternally stupid, though I think she was made to sensible at the beginning to find her actions completely believable.
Robert Beaumaris was....amusing. In fact, I think I could have grown attached to his character if it weren't for two hints that he might have kept a mistress at some point. That alone ruined him for me. He was overly rich, spoiled and petted by society, and a great, great deal like Mr. Darcy. But not quite enough. I found his exploits amusing, though the author comparing his falling in love to a hunter stalking his prey was somewhat....disturbing. But over all, he was good enough, though perhaps a little romanticized.
Ms. Heyer, especially at the beginning, seems very fond of....adorning adjetives. There aren't hands, they're "graceful hands". The flowerly language seems to taper off by the end.
I liked Arabella's brother Bertram, who really was well done. It would have been quite easy to dislike his character, but Ms. Heyer does him just enough justice to make enjoyable.
Perhaps the best character, though, is Beaumaris's grandmother. What a character! Really, it is a pity she only got one scene. Between scorning female company, declaring her numerous children to be idiots, and startling even her grandson with her language, she was pretty much the best character xD

Like I said before, my two words for this book are incredulous and amused. Far fetched plot? Yeah. But it was kind of cute too xD Though I struggled with giving it two or three stars, I think I will try and find more by this author.
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