31/07/2002

Arabella (by Georgette Heyer)

I don't know exactly what it is about Georgette Heyer that makes her my absolute favourite writer of historical fiction. It's partly her excellent characters - each one a little different, despite similar backgrounds in upper class Regency England. It's partly her clever plots, which are fast-paced and very well written. It's partly her humour and irony, too - and the absolute authenticity of the writing, without too much dull detail.

So, I re-read all her books every so often.

'Arabella' is the eldest daughter of a Vicar. She's loving and loyal, and extremely good-hearted and generous. But she's also very strong-minded. She goes to London for a season, having hinted (in anger at someone's arrogance) that she is excessively wealthy.

Arabella shocks her godmother by her humanitarian streak, leading her - amongst other things - to rescue a mongrel dog and a sweep's boy from their fates. However the bored but elegant Mr Beaumaris is fascinated by this unusual young lady.

As ever, the book races to a most satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended. One of the best.

Still in print in the UK, and widely available second-hand.

(You can also read my longer review of Arabella, written on re-reading yet again seven years later)

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