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by Georgette Heyer

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Celebrate the 80th birthday of Regency Romance with great books from Sourcebooks Casablanca!

Georgette Heyer had a handful of unforgettable heroines, of which Arabella is one of the most engaging.

Daughter of a modest country clergyman, Arabella Tallant is on her way to London when her carriage breaks down outside the hunting lodge of the wealthy Mr. Robert

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Celebrate the 80th birthday of Regency Romance with great books from Sourcebooks Casablanca!

Georgette Heyer had a handful of unforgettable heroines, of which Arabella is one of the most engaging.

Daughter of a modest country clergyman, Arabella Tallant is on her way to London when her carriage breaks down outside the hunting lodge of the wealthy Mr. Robert Beaumaris. Her pride stung when she overhears a remark of her host's, Arabella pretends to be an heiress, a pretense that deeply amuses the jaded Beau. To counter her white lie, Beaumaris launches her into high society and thereby subjects her to all kinds of fortune hunters and other embarrassments.

When compassionate Arabella rescues such unfortunate creatures as a mistreated chimney sweep and a mixed-breed mongrel, she foists them upon Beaumaris, who finds he rather enjoys the role of rescuer and is soon given the opportunity to prove his worth in the person of Arabella's impetuous young brother...


"Our Georgette Heyer display of the Sourcebooks reprints has been a huge success, not only to those early fans like myself, but to many new readers who appreciate her style and wit."
Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen."
Publishers Weekly

"Wonderful characters, elegant, witty writing, perfect period detail, and rapturously romantic. Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to."
Katie Fforde

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"My favorite Heyer yet." - Library Queue

"Compulsively readable Regency romance." -

"Engaging... the romance was delightful." - Genre Reviews

"I was completely wrapped up in the story from the very beginning as I was sucked in by Heyer's seemingly unending witty and charming writing style. " - The Burton Review

"Heyer fans will definitely enjoy this Regency romance. " - Drey's Library

"Wickedly entertaining; a superb comedy of manners! " - Love Romance Passion

"Recommend it to Austen fans, to anyone new to Heyer (I think it would be a great starter book for a Heyer reader), or the general historical romance fan. I don't know how you could be disappointed in it!" - The Courtier's Book

"I enjoyed spending time in this one... Heyer books feel like good friends" - Becky's Book Reviews

"Arabella is simply a not-to-be-missed story that I can't say enough about." - Cafe of Dreams

"Sweet, funny and entertaining. " - The Bookworm

Product Details

Publication date:
Regency Romances , #9
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Barnes & Noble
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By Georgette Heyer

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-83555-8

Chapter One

The schoolroom in the Parsonage at Heythram was not a large apartment, but on a bleak January day, in a household where the consumption of coals was a consideration, this was not felt by its occupants to be a disadvantage. Quite a modest fire in the high, barred grate made it unnecessary for all but one of the four young ladies present to huddle shawls round their shoulders.

But Elizabeth, the youngest of the Reverend Henry Tallant's handsome daughters, was suffering from the earache, and, besides stuffing a roasted onion into the afflicted orifice, had swathed her head and neck in an old Cashmere shawl. She lay curled up on an aged sofa, with her head on a worn red cushion, and from time to time uttered a long-suffering sigh, to which none of her sisters paid any heed.

Betsy was known to be sickly. It was thought that the climate of Yorkshire did not agree with her constitution, and since she spent the greater part of the winter suffering from a variety of minor ills her delicacy was regarded by all but her mama as a commonplace.

There were abundant signs, littered over the table in the centre of the room, that the young ladies had retired to this cosy, shabby apartment to hem shirts, but only one of them, the eldest, was thus engaged. In a chair on one side of the fireplace, Miss Margaret Tallant, a buxom fifteen-year-old, was devouring the serial story in a bound volume of The Ladies' Monthly Museum, with her fingers stuffed in her ears; and seated opposite to Miss Arabella, her stitchery lying neglected on the table before her, sat Miss Sophia, reading aloud from another volume of this instructive periodical.

"I must say, Bella," she remarked, momentarily lowering the book, "I find this most perplexing! Only listen to what it says here! 'We have presented our subscribers with fashions of the newest pattern, not such as shall violate the laws of propriety and decorum, but such as shall assist the smile of good humour, and give an additional charm to the carriage of benevolence. Economy ought to be the order of the day-' And then, if you please, there is a picture of the most ravishing evening-gown-Do but look at it, Bella!-and it says that the Russian bodice is of blue satin, fastened in front with diamonds! Well!"

Her sister obediently raised her eyes from the wristband she was hemming, and critically scanned the willowy giantess depicted amongst the Fashion Notes. Then she sighed, and once more bent her dark head over her work. "Well, if that is their notion of economy, I am sure I couldn't go to London, even if my godmother invited me. And I know she won't," she said fatalistically.

"You must and you shall go!" declared Sophy, in accents of strong resolution. "Only think what it may mean to all of us if you do!"

"Yes, but I won't go looking like a dowd," objected Arabella, "and if I am obliged to have diamond fastenings to my bodices, you know very well-"

"Oh, stuff! I daresay that is the extreme of fashion, or perhaps they are made of paste! And in any event this is one of the older numbers. I know I saw in one of them that jewelry is no longer worn in the mornings, so very likely - Where is that volume? Margaret, you have it! Do, pray, give it to me! You are by far too young to be interested in such things!"

Margaret uncorked her ears to snatch the book out of her sister's reach. "No! I'm reading the serial story!"

"Well, you should not. You know Papa does not like us to read romances."

"If it comes to that," retorted Margaret, "he would be excessively grieved to find you reading nothing better than the latest models!"

They looked at one another; Sophy's lip quivered. "Dear Meg, do pray give it to me, only for a moment!"

"Well, I will when I have finished the Narrative of Augustus Waldstein," said Margaret. "But only for a moment, mind!"

"Wait, I know there is something here to the purpose!" said Arabella, dropping her work to flick over the pages of the volume abandoned by Sophia.

"'Method of Preserving Milk by Horse-Radish ... White Wax for the Nails ... Human Teeth placed to Stumps ...' Yes, here it is! Now, listen, Meg! 'Where a Female has in early life dedicated her attention to novel-reading she is unfit to become the companion of a man of sense, or to conduct a family with propriety and decorum.' There!" She looked up, the prim pursing of her lips enchantingly belied by her dancing eyes.

"I am sure Mama is not unfit to be the companion of a man of sense!" cried Margaret indignantly. "And she reads novels! And even Papa does not find The Wanderer objectionable, or Mrs Edgeworth's Tales."

"No, but he did not like it when he found Bella reading The Hungarian Brothers, or The Children of the Abbey," said Sophia, seizing the opportunity to twitch The Ladies' Monthly Museum out of her sister's slackened grasp. "He said there was a great deal of nonsense in such books, and that the moral tone was sadly lacking."

"Moral tone is not lacking in the serial I am reading!" declared Margaret, quite ruffled. "Look what it says there, near the bottom of the page! 'Albert! be purity of character your duty!' I am sure he could not dislike that!"

Arabella rubbed the tip of her nose. "Well, I think he would say it was fustian," she remarked candidly. "But do give the book back to her, Sophy!"

"I will, when I have found what I'm looking for. Besides, it was I who had the happy notion to borrow the volumes from Mrs Caterham, so - Yes, here it is! It says that only jewelry of very plain workmanship is worn in the mornings nowadays." She added, on a note of doubt: "I daresay the fashions don't change so very fast, even in London. This number is only three years old."

The sufferer on the sofa sat up cautiously. "But Bella hasn't got any jewelry, has she?"

This observation, delivered with all the bluntness natural in a damsel of only nine summers, threw a blight over the company.

"I have the gold locket and chain with the locks of Papa's and Mama's hair in it," said Arabella defensively.

"If you had a tiara, and a - a cestus, and an armlet to match it, it might answer," said Sophy. "There is a toilet described here with just those ornaments."

Her three sisters gazed at her in astonishment. "What is a cestus?" they demanded.

Sophy shook her head. "I don't know," she confessed.

"Well, Bella hasn't got one at all events," said the Job's comforter on the sofa.

"If she were so poor-spirited as to refuse to go to London for such a trifling reason as that, I would never forgive her!" declared Sophy.

"Of course I would not!" exclaimed Arabella scornfully. "But I have not the least expectation that Lady Bridlington will invite me, for why should she, only because I am her goddaughter? I never saw her in my life!"


Excerpted from Arabella by Georgette Heyer Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Arabella 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
bookwormiest More than 1 year ago
I'm someone who HATES the typical romance novel, so I approached Georgette Heyer with some trepidation. In the past, I'd tried a few regency romances and always felt they were poor (very poor) imitations of Jane Austen. Heyer, however, really delivers. Her prose is clean and straightforward- none of the flowery, gushy, euphemism-laden language that characterizes contemporary romances- her command of period slang is exceptional, and humor is delivered with a deft touch. I most enjoyed Beaumaris's "conversations" with Ulysses. Now I'm off to read as many of these as I can get my hands on!
ajpohren More than 1 year ago
Though the engrossing and talented works of Ms. Georgette Heyer have graced us for many many years, I have personally, up until now, been bereft of enjoying her tales. With Arabella, that has all changed and I feel as though I have uncovered a much coveted treasure! Just the sweet innocence and romantically nostalgic cover makes one's fingers itch to pick up the book. Once the cover is lifted and eyes are fixed upon the beginning words, the reader is transported back in time and lost in a different world, almost immediately. When I began to read Arabella, I was strongly reminded of Jane Austin and her voice and talent for words. The strong and sassy heroine and dashingly handsome hero, dealing with propriety of the times and just the overall feel of the story, was reminiscent of Jane Austin, to me. I simply adored the lead character of Arabella! There was not one single aspect of her that I disliked and the way in which she was written made her so easy to connect with. As a young lady, she has been given the enviable opportunity to travel to London to debut and stay with her Godmother. Along the way, a mishap occurs, landing Arabella and her traveling companion upon the doorstep of Robert Beaumaris a highly respected and well-known Nonpareil. When Arabella overhears Robert telling his friend that he is sure that Arabella is nothing more than yet another wealthy husband hunter, she takes matters into her own hands and tells a little white lie. That little white lie, however, changes Arabella's life and presence in London causing her heart to ache and her conscience to whirl. When Robert takes note of the spunk and fire within Arabella, he is instantly intrigued and decides to "help" her become known in London, just by his simple appearance and friendliness, and their story is one that is unforgettable. Georgette Heyer does such an outstanding job bringing this story to life and enveloping the reader with these lives. I have to say that I even adored the mogul that Arabella thrusts upon Robert. His adoration simply melts the heart and the connection between Ulysses, the dog, and Robert is sure to bring a smile to the reader's face. Arabella has a magnificently strong and warm heart, wanting to help out anyone or anything in need and Robert takes this in stride with a delightful humor. Arabella is simply a not-to-be-missed story that I can't say enough about. I loved it and cannot wait to read more by this author. The writing, characterization and overall feel of this story is just excellent and engrossing. If you haven't read anything by Georgette Heyer, I strongly recommend snatching Arabella up and settle in for a wonderful afternoon of reading pleasure!
Ellen Hicks More than 1 year ago
My maiden great aunts recommended Georgette Heyer to me thirty years ago, and Arabella is one of my favorites. I read voraciously and associate with some "highbrow" readers, and I am never embarassed to mention my admiration for Heyer's clever novels. I've read them aloud on long car trips to my husband; he finds them very entertaining and loves Heyer's vivid characterization.
readingissexy23 More than 1 year ago
I logged on to barnes and noble expecting to see hundreds of reviews for this book. I am shocked that more people have not discovered this masterpiece! Georgette Heyer writes beautifully, and throws in some hilarious jokes every now and then. Arabella is the story of a girl trapped among a big family without a big fortune. Her parents expect her to marry rich in order to set up futures for not only herself, but for her siblings. She goes to visit her godmother Lady Bridlington in London and must adapt quickly to the fast paced world of social engagements and luxuries. She meets Mr. Beaumaris, the last person anyone would expect to fancy Arabella. One little lie sets the pace for this entire novel. Read on as Arabella's seemingly innocent bluff backfires. Mr. Beaumaris is suprisingly charming and see's past Arabella's impetuous personality. Must read for Bronte and Austen lovers! Georgette Heyer's style has less extreme vocabulary than Austen. I also dare to say that she's got more wit!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Georgette Heyer fan. I believe Arabella (which is the first Heyer book I read -- many years ago) is the best. It is about a beautiful but penniless country parson's daughter who, on her way to the city to spend some time with a relative, has carriage trouble and has to stop at a country house. There she meets the owner, a man she instantly takes a dislike to because she believes he is arrogant. She then decides it would be okay to poke fun at the rich and arrogant Mr. Beaumaris, so she passes herself off as a rich heiress. Arabella doesn't believe this little lie will do any harm because she will never see this man again. Little does Arabella know that she will be meeting Mr. Beaumaris quite often in the city and, unfortunately, her lies of being an heiress have reached the city thanks to Mr. Beaumaris's friend who was staying with him at the country house. Arabella manages to get herself into all sorts of hilarious scraps with suitors thinking she is an heiress, and others who cross the path of the headstrong, but lovable, Arabella. The rich and handsome Mr. Beaumaris, much to his amazement, has to continually bail her out of these scraps. This is the book that got me hooked on this author. I highly recommend it and all Georgette Heyer's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on a whim and was VERY pleased. Would be a great book club selection. I intent to read more of her books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story! What a fun, delightful book! I loved the 'Nonpareil'! I thought he'd be more like Darcy. I was pleasantly surprised to how it all turned out! Fun read! This was my first encounter with Georgette Heyer. She's one of my newest favorites!
DDAVIS79 More than 1 year ago
I had the good luck to be in Barnes and Noble on a day when they had Heyer's books on display. My hardest decision was trying to figure out which book to start with. I'm so very glad I chose this one. It was charming, romantic, and at times had me laughing out loud. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen, I've been looking for a great period romance writer and now I've found one.
rishe70 More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. The fabulously wealthy Mr Beaumaris, who can socially ruin a young lady with the raising of any eyebrow, is captivated by a young woman who has as much character and integrity as she has beauty... a really fun read!
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Heyer's novels always have solid plots and good characterization. This is one of the best. The history, manners and language are mostly accurate. There are no hot sex scenes but some passion and kissing. It is somewhat sexist (man of the world vs innocent feisty heroine) but no more so than others in the genre. Arabella is a fun read and worth rereading at least once.
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What's not to love about this story? It has characters one can't help but care about, a realistic but interesting plot, and romantic tension. The heroine is both smart and naive, the hero is both cynical and caring. I highly recommend it!
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