Perhaps the most deeply cherished novel among Heyer fans, Arabella is the story of a poor girl who captures the heart of a handsome and wealthy bachelor. When Arabella first arrives in London, she has only one mission: to snare a rich husband. With a mind to beat the competition, she pretends to be a rich heiress and soon finds herself the talk of the town, pursued by the most eligible bachelors in the city. But she has her sights on one man only: the much-hunted Mr Beaumaris. Our feisty heroine puts up a fight and deals the worldly-wise Beaumaris a deft hand in the game of love; at first grudgingly charmed, he soon becomes smitten. However, what will he think of her deceitful charade? Will it ruin her chance to be with the perfect man? Arabella contains some of Heyer's most witty dialogue and romantic banter; with its delightful and laugh-out-loud passages it is no wonder it remains the fan favorite.
©1949 Georgette Heyer (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
Maggie's review on Audible UK summed it up perfectly:
"Gold stars all round for finally recording Arabella, unabridged, and by Phyllida Nash. Points off for whoever wrote the bland 'publisher's summary' that manages to make the book sound like the diary of a gold-digger."
The synopsis of this book (as of 10/14) has every aspect of this charming story wrong. Anyone who reads the first chapter will know that Arabella is certainly *not* a gold-digger. And the amusing misunderstanding-leading-to-deception that drives the plot is far more the work of Beaumaris than of Arabella.
I would say it is with the 1949 publication of "Arabella" that Georgette Heyer completely took possession of the Regency romance in a way that defines the genre to this day. "The Grand Sophy," perhaps her most famous work, followed in 1950, with another 15 years of wonderful books before the stories (in my opinion) began to slide in the late '60s.
There is some similarity between the plot and characters of "Arabella" and those of the later "Sylvester," but Arabella is unique. The scenes where Arabella quite innocently foists a mongrel dog (to say nothing of the chimney sweep's "climbing boy") into the care of the suave and "dandy" Beaumaris are priceless. Her father and mother, though relatively minor characters, are wonderful.
For fans of Heyer, this one is not to be missed. These Naxos editions continue to eat my credits for lunch, but I'm not complaining.
Why do people love this author so much? Myself included? You hear the same phrases in all her books, her characters appear to be interchangeable from novel to novel and they always end in marriage. And yet you can’t help but love them.
I think it is because Arabella could meet The Nonsuch and his wife, The Marquis and Marchioness of Alverstoke, Mr. and Mrs. Standden, The Marquis and Marchioness of Rotherham any evening at Al Max that make her books so enjoyable. It is a complete world. The world of Georette Heyer. They are not great literature, but fun reads rich in character and the little foibles of every day life. Lite and happy; they are feel-good fairy tales for adults. It is the little things like taking-in a stray dog or child; containing a gaggle of ducklings; trying one’s luck at a gambling hell; or the fear of telling a husband about another large bill that set these stories apart.
Arabella is no exception. The beautiful, feisty daughter of a rector respectfully circumstanced, goes to London for a season. Her fond parents cannot afford a second. Through a series of jests and misunderstandings, Arbella becomes the talk of the town as a great heiress; something she is not.
Although Arabella enjoys her popularity to the fullest; she realizes it makes it impossible for her to accept an offer of marriage from anyone; especially the the nonpareil, Mr Beaumaris, who she is more attracted to than she will admit.
The book includes a wonderful description of a young man losing everything through gaming his first time in London and what a gaming establishment may have been like.
The scenes of Mr. Beaumaris talking over his troubles with the little stray dog Arabella foisted on him are priceless.
The performance by Phyllida Nash is superb. It is a wonderful bedtime listen.
Engaging, witty and fun.
The Nonsuch also by Heyer. Poor girl, rich boy. Different plot but the same kind of engaging characters.
Listening to this book is a marvelous experience - one you cannot get by just reading it. Ms Nash is one of the best narrators for Heyer's books. She does men voices flawlessly and her mature women voices are also great; however, she made Arabella sound older than her 19 years, consequently, the image of the innocent debutant was hard to take for me. Regardless, I enjoyed it very much and will listen to it again soon. In fact, I just finished it and want to listen to it again - I will use restrain though and wait a little.
You bet! Unfortunately, it took me two days to finish it.
This is a favorite book of mine. I'm so glad that several Heyer books are coming out on audiobook. Hopefully, Pistols for Two and Simon the Coldheart will be coming very soon.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
"Arabella" is one of Georgette Heyer's earlier books, and it illustrates much of what makes her writing so much fun. The title character is young, spirited and lovely - but what sets her apart is her native intelligence and her exceptional heart. Our hero is experienced and a little jaded (and, OK, to modern audiences, just a shade too patronizing), but he recognizes the quality as well as the physical attributes of the lady. A charming, highly mannered Regency romance ensues.
We might wish for more of the eccentric and funny secondary characters that Heyer so deftly presents in later books ("Sylvester", "Venetia", "A Civil Contract" are excellent examples), but I dare anyone to resist Jemmy the chimney sweep or especially the wonderful Ulysses in "Arabella".
It's a short listen, but, as one of Heyer's characters might say, "highly diverting".
Well worth the credit
Will likely listen to again One of Heyer's best ones. Not Austen but closest author I can find. Performance/reading is lively and does justice to the book
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
I've read the book several times; it's a favorite Regency-era classic by the immortal Georgette Heyer. The dialogue and plot is light and sparkling with humor. The narrator is superbly talented, but I expected a younger voice for the heroine, Arabella. Nash simply doesn't suit a debutante. I'm puzzled at this mismatch.
It is a very nice, light story written by an intelligent and subtle author and read by one of the best narrators.
Arabella. She is the most interesting character in the novel
Everything. She has excellent expression and technique and voices most characters very well. She has a very cultured voice.
I loved it when Arabella told her host off in front of his guests because he said that the fate of climbing boys, who were horribly abused by their chimney sweep masters, was not a fit subject for his mother's drawing room. Arabella's most engaging characteristic is her championship of the victims of injustice, regardless of whatever her peers think.
This story is not particularly riveting in itself but the characters so well written and the humor so dry and intelligent, it is a charming book
One of the Georgette Heyer's best works - filled with humour, delectable food, memorable characters, Beautiful clothing and wit of the first order!
The book is good, but Arabella sometimes seems far too childlike and Robert too worldly and suave and old and experienced to not make this seem a little ... what will they possibly talk about, really? And how can this ever be a relationship of equals?
"One of GH's best!"
The summary given for 'Arabella' gives a very false impression of the book. Arabella is an entirely innocent girl from the country, who naturally wants to see more of the world, and enjoy life in London. It is her innocence that makes the book so enjoyable, and the fact that she does what her conscience tells her is right, never mind the consequences. She is not 'after a rich husband', but her parents want her to make a 'good' match, so she feels it her duty to find a suitable husband. She did not 'have her sights' on Mr Beaumaris, nor does she 'put up a fight' - she was entirely taken by surprise when he proposed to her, and only then realised she was in love with him - and then declined him for reasons of conscience, until he told her he knew her secret.
"Awwww, another favourite...."
As most of Heyer books, it is the top. The narrators are always well chosen and Phyllida Nash is top of the tops. She enjoys the narration and it is obvious she enjoys the story. As do we who are priviliged to listen to her telling it.
All Heyers of course. The humour, the amazing characters, the everything.
She has that happy abiity to give the characters a personality, the situation a humour by her obvious enjoyment. She can read any day to me!
I did- giggle
This is for sure one of the most favourite Heyers amongst us fans, so having it availible in unabridged version is a pleasure. And yes, we all have it in printed version too. Have it on kindle most likely as well. I wish they made a movie (there was Arabella done by Germans, but it was alas not that great as it was brought into modern era). BBC could do great deal with all Heyers....
"Arabella, unabridged - just as requested."
Gold star all round for finally recording Arabella, unabridged, and by Phyllida Nash.
Points off for whoever wrote the bland 'publisher's summary' that managed to make the book sound like the diary of a gold-digger.
There's no mention that Arabella is young, the daughter of a Yorkshire clergyman, and slightly naive about the ways of high society. Imbued with her father's standards, and unaware that the rest of the polite world don't necessarily think the same, she renders her fashionable hostess's life extremely uncomfortable by sticking to her principles, getting involved with a bullied climbing boy and rescuing a scruffy mongrel amongst other social disasters. We're in Georgette Heyer world though, where impending social death is always avoided - eventually
This is a witty, enjoyable comedy of manners and it's great to finally have it added to Audible's Heyer collection. Thank you.
The story written by Georgette Heyer and the narration by Phyllida Nash
I loved them all.
Her way of imbuing warmth, humour and personality into her characters is unique. She is brilliant.
It is a wonderful story with all the usual plots, sub plots and of course a fabulous supporting cast. It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
loved the story. excellent narrator. will seek out further heyer read by this natator. highly recommended.
"Charming and comforting read"
Comfortably predictable plot but filled with Heyer's trademark sparkling wit and charming dialogue, I curled up with this book like a warm blanket and finished it in two days. Not my very favourite Heyer, but certainly a light-hearted and funny romance that I'd happily listen to again on an otherwise miserable day to lift my spirits. Also, Phyllida Nash is great, though I do often find myself quite sad that Richard Armitage didn't narrate more of Heyer's books - as he's been my favourite narrator of her works so far.
Really enjoyed this book it's a new book to me. Will listen to it again a super romp
"A well loved story well read"
If you are a Georgette Heyer fan ( and I am) this is a great example of her story telling. She captures the essence of higher society of that age and flings in its midst a beautiful vicars daughter who fights for the underdog and manages to value and care for others even in her naïveté.
She captures the interest of the "nonpareil" who finds himself intrigued by her.
I loved the audiobook as I think I probably skim read and having it read to me I picked up on many more nuances.
"Couldn't have been done better"
Already have! Listening for the third time in as many weeks. Always one of my favourite Heyer's - not least for the adorable conversations between a man and his dog - this reading makes it outstanding. Phyllida Nash is just wonderful, so much warmth and humour in her voice. She is just brilliant at character acting. Her readings of the male characters is particularly good. Happy, funny book, set in a colourful, fascinating world, and read by a genius. Perfect!
Frederica, The Reluctant Widow and The Grand Sophy all come to mind. Practical, witty heroines, each with family members, and pets, running amok.
Everything! She is marvellous.
I did just that, and would do so again. It's such great fun.
I wish Phyllida Nash could record all the Heyers, most particularly because she is so versatile; female voices, male, foreign accents, she nails them all. I'd particularly love her to do Frederica, The Reluctant Widow, These Old Shades, Devil's Cub, each of which I have found disappointing because of their readers' limitations. I am not alone in this view, friends have said the same.
"Moderate fun, but not my favourite"
Whilst Heyer's heroines are often "young chits " somehow this reading didn't capture the impulsive recklessness and charm of the written Arabella, when she first spoke I couldn't believe it was her - the voice seeming too tame and demurely insipid. Many supporting characters are well drawn particularly her brother Bertram and his half baked friend so it is a shame that Arabella herself didn't quite hit the mark.
Why when the book talks often of Arabella's dark curls, does she have blond hair on the cover picture??
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