Could there ever be anything more perfect than Arabella? Heyer picks up where Austen leaves off, presenting a charming and perfectly engaging story of a country miss (the eldest daughter of a vicar) who tells a little fib when faced with the snobbery of the Nonpareil.
Our hero, Mr. Beaumaris, is really just a Corinthian who amuses himself frequently at the expense of society because he is so admired and imitated. Therefore, the lovely Miss Tallant presents a delicious challenge. Can he make her the Season’s Incomparable?
What is so wonderful about Arabella is its very human portrayal of two seemingly disparate characters who happen to fall in love. Arabella is beautiful but cannot help her very Christian upbringing and seems bound to embarrass herself in Town with little foibles. Were it not for the presence of Mr. Beaumaris, who is challenged by her indifference toward him, she surely would have been seen as rustic.
Heyer, like Austen, is devoid of the sexual content of contemporary hist-ro. But somehow you never miss it with a Heyer because her language and descriptions feel so very real you are too caught up in the Regency world to give a fig.
It is for the very PG rated quality of this book that I think it should be on every gift list for teenage girls. As a voracious reader in childhood, as much as I am in adulthood, I can’t imagine why no one ever recommended Heyer. The lessons are strong, the story entertaining, and the romance wonderful.
As for woman of an age, it reminds of the innocence of the romantic story that draws us back time and time again. We love to read about the conflict of characters, their foibles and their follies, and most importantly their humanity.