Aug 152014
 

ArabellaFixes and Follies

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperbackswap

The beautiful and penniless Arabella Tallant is about to make her London debut, thanks to the kind of generous invitation of her wealthy, widowed godmother. As the eldest daughter of a small country clergyman with seven other siblings, it is Arabella’s responsibility to marry a wealthy man that will help her support her brothers and sisters in obtaining prosperous futures. The families’ hopes rest on Arabella โ€“ after all she couldn’t possibly โ€œbe so beautiful for nothing.โ€ ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, in a moment of pique and impulsivity, Arabella makes a thoughtless decision that threatens to ruin her chances of ever finding an eligible match. Wanting to deliver a set down to the arrogant Mr. Beauramis (who had the gall to assume Arabella was chasing him for his fortune!), Arabella poses as a vastly wealthy heiress trying to escape unwanted attention from numerous fortune hunters. Little does she know that she is in the company of the Mr. Beauramis, the Nonpareil, the man whose fashions and habits are forever copied and approval and company so eagerly sought.

Never expecting her โ€œlittle deceptionโ€ to become such a tangled web, Arabella is in the awkward situation of receiving many marriage proposals, but all by suitors with pockets-to-let. Her conscience and fear of ruin forbid her from accepting any of these suitors. And while Mr. Beauramis thought he would simply amuse himself with taking an โ€œunknown provincialโ€ and elevating her โ€œto the heights of society,โ€ he never expected that he โ€“ the most sought after bachelor of the ton โ€“ would get caught in her web…

Oh, brace your hearts, readers! Robert Beauramis is an adorable and admirable hero that will make you swoon! While the ton may know him to be illustrious, elite, and reserved, deep down he is generous, considerate, and noble. He is a capable hero โ€“ a man of action โ€“ who isn’t afraid to do more than his duty, His charity towards Arabella and her โ€œrescuesโ€ won my heart. But best of all is his relationship and conversations with Ulysses โ€“ a devoted mongrel who he is forced to house by Arabella. Loved how in-depth and humorous their exchanges were (especially when discussing Arabella) โ€“ utterly brilliant!

As a devoted admirer of all things Austenesque, I was quite elated to find so many nods and allusions to Jane Austen novels in this particular Heyer read โ€“ there seemed a quite bit more than usual. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are some parallels between Arabella Tallant and Catherine Moreland, who both come from very large and poor families, and find themselves experiencing their first adventures in an exciting metropolis. Mr. Beauramis and Mr. Darcy share some traits as well, with their fortunes, eligibility, and habit of voicing offending remarks within earshot of the young woman being insulted. I also delighted in spotting some lovely allusions to Jane Austen quotes ingeniously peppered throughout the tale as well:

โ€œIt is customary, you know, to exchange polite conversation during the dance.โ€ – Mr. Beauramis page 128

โ€œIf your sentiments should undergo a change, one word โ€“ one look! – would be sufficient to appraise me of it.โ€ – Mr. Beauramis page 226

While I would love to give this delightful read 5 solid stars, I’m held back by some slight dissatisfaction with our title heroine. While I loved her impetuousness, indignant sense of righteousness, and compassionate heart, I sometimes felt she was a little inconsistent. Since the first 130 pages of the novel don’t include any of her charity or concern for others, it seemed as if her social consciousness developed overnight. And when her desperate situation led her to contemplate a scheme that is filled with even more duplicity and brazenness than her first deception, I found her actions shocking and a little disappointing. I couldn’t agree with or like such behavior. In addition, I found the subplot with Arabella’s brother (which felt very predictable) to receive a little too much page time.

Nonetheless, I delighted in the entertaining and mad-cap adventure Arabella and Mr. Beauramis took me on! I can clearly understand why Arabella is a favorite of many Georgette Heyer fans! (My favorites remain Devil’s Cub, Cotillion, and Sylvester)

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HAPPY 112th BIRTHDAY TO GEORGETTE HEYER!!!

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  21 Responses to “Arabella – Georgette Heyer”

  1.  

    Hi Meredith, Thanks for the review. I have never read any of Georgette Heyer’s books so I think this has got to be my first!

  2.  

    Hi Meredith, thanks for your review. I agree Arabella is no Kitty Charing or Sophy Stanton Lacey, but Mr. Beauramis wins me over! Be still my beating heart!

    Happy early birthday to Georgette Heyer (and our favorite Austenesque Reviewer *wink*)

    •  

      Thank you, Heather. Yes Mr. Beauramis definitely does! He gives even the Earl of Rule from The Convenient Marriage a run for his money. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So swoon-worthy!

      Thank you so much, Heather! How sweet you are!

  3.  

    Thanks for such an insightful review! The relationship between Georgette Heyer characters and their dogs is always one of my favorite things in her novels (who can forget Frederica’s Baluchistan hound?). I’m not really troubled by Arabella not displaying her charitable impulses until well into the novel–she is a clergyman’s daughter, who would have been expected to intervene charitably in the lives of all the parishioners as a matter of course; and she is for the first time escaping from a life of Puritan severity and relative poverty to one of wealth and indulgence. It’s small wonder to me that she enjoys the contrast for a while, but more important to her character is that she is not ultimately changed by the fashionable world, regardless of the pressures put on her. Mr. Beaumaris is the one who is changed by the encounter–as it should be, right, ladies? ๐Ÿ™‚

    •  

      I haven’t read Frederica yet – but I love hearing that there are more lovely relationships with canines! So entertaining! Very true about Arabella and her upbringing. I guess I just didn’t feel a strong connection to her as early on in the novel as I would have liked, she had no other defining qualities except her beauty and a reputation for being impulsive. Mr. Beauramis did make a lovely change though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4.  

    I had only read The Black Moth which was offered free on Amazon so when kindle Unlimited offered many G. Heyer novels during the first 30-day free trial, I jumped at the chance to read this one as my second of her books. I am presently reading The Grand Sophy. Thanks for your review, Meredith. As always, very insightful. I now have another “favorite” author’s books to keep me occupied. I did note your favorite. Happy birthday to you and my grandson (2) tomorrow.

    •  

      I almost read The Black Moth this month, but Arabella won the vote. I look forward to hearing what you think of Arabella and The Grand Sophy (I have that one in my TBR). She sure has a lot of books to keep us occupied with! Happy birthday to your grandson! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      •  

        Well, I have now read 4 of her books and am starting on Friday’s Child. I posted reviews on 2 and will do the other 2 later…today. Read The Corinthian. Do all her books end so abruptly? Didn’t like that. And these females are so (what can I say?) unconventional. Sophy…I guessed at the plot early on but have to say that there was something about her that turned me off to being in sympathy with her officious ways. And then that British tradition of marrying first cousins…don’t even start me on that. Heyer’s books are intoxicating and I will read more; much due to her ingenious story lines. Each is unique…so far. And with 50 books out there can that last? Hope your birthday was everything you could hope for. We had lovely weather with low humidity on the Jersey shore line.

  5.  

    What a beautiful way of paying homage to Georgette Heyer!. The plot sounds exciting and the cover is so adorable ๐Ÿ™‚
    I haven’t read a Georgette Heyer book yet (yes, it’s a shame, but I have so many books TBR hahaha!). But I have one in my bookshelf: “Sylvester” and I see it’s one of your faves!. I’ll have to start reading Heyer’s novels because it seems to me they’re a source of humour, irony and elegance. Thanks for the review!

    •  

      Thank you, Teresa! I think this may be an annual tradition for me (this is my second year in row). Although, I do want to try and read more than one Heyer a year! That is a perfect description for them, Teresa! Yes, Sylvetser is wonderful – very feisty heroine!

  6.  

    Happy (belated) B-day, I too have yet to read my first Heyer, but heard many good things about her.

  7.  

    Thanks, Meredith, for honoring Georgette Heyer with this fine review. My introduction into her regency world was A Lady of Quality. I’ve since read, I think, 22 or 23 of her books. I find her offerings uneven – some brilliant and others just OK. However, even with the just OK ones, they are still entertaining and worth the read..

  8.  

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Arabella, Meredith. Mr Beaumaris is swoonworthy isn’t he! If you want to read all of Heyer’s works you’ll have to do it more than annually, there are loads of them! I agree with Jeffrey that GH’s romances can be of variable quality, though even her worse ones are pretty good and better than a lot of historical romances out there. Since GH was writing to pay the bills I think sometimes she just churned another book out!

    Sheila commented that her books end abruptly; these were the first historical romances I ever read so I suppose I just thought that is how such books end, but I am a member of a Georgette Heyer group on Goodreads and quite a few people on there have also commented that many of her books have an abrupt ending.

    •  

      I know! Maybe I will celebrate her half birthday too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m curious to try one of her mysteries – I found one at our library sale not too long ago.

      That is an interesting point that Sheila, you, and the other readers bring up. I did notice that the endings do seem to accelerate in pace though.

  9.  

    Thanks for the review! I used to devour Georgette Heyer’s books!!!
    Missed this one though and judging by Ceri’s comment, I’ve probably missed a whole lot more!

  10.  

    Oh you’re so spot on with Mr Beaumaris, Meredith! A little part of my romantic heart will always belong to him ๐Ÿ™‚ (love Devil’s Cub and Sylvester too! Give me a strong alpha male any day)

  11.  

    Oh great review Meredith! As I read your review I thought oh this sounds slightly familiar ๐Ÿ™‚ Still waiting for a gap in my crazy life to read some Heyer!

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