Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review- Arabella by Georgette Heyer

I went on a romance novel rampage and ended up reading more than twenty five romance novels in a month. Now, I am trying to remember all of them and review them. I'll start with the latest.

Arabella is a historical romance novel by Georgette Heyer, a popular romance novelist noted for her precise historical details and clean romances. I tried reading April Lady by her long time ago and fell asleep before I could get to the second chapter. After someone recommended her to me, I decided to try another book of hers. Arabella had glowing reviews on so I decided to read this one.

Arabella is the daughter of a clerk who gets the chance of a lifetime to go to London for her debut. Her godmother sends a letter to her saying she is willing to house her and help her make her debut. On the way to London, her carriage meets with an accident and she lands in Mr. Beaumaris' house who thinks she is a fortune hunter staging an accident to get him to marry her. Arabella lies that she is a very wealthy heiress who is sick of being courted for fortune and therefore, has come to London where people do not know her. In time, Mr. Beaumaris falls for her unique charm and compassionate nature.

Her style is pretty much like authors of that time eg: Barbara Cartland but contains more detail. I am used to reading old novels like these with more description than dialogue so, I found it good. One of the good things that should be noted is her historical detail. Most writers these days just write contemporary romances in historical settings but in her novel you can truly see how English society was at that time. Her dialogues when compared to dialogues of recent historical romances are much more genuine. At that time, people spend more time in formalities than actual talk.

The characters are quite typical of the victorian era but contain some uniqueness. The hero is an alpha hero but more realistic. The supporting characters are not very interesting (except the dog). The hero shows some sense of humour in the form of monologues with the dog. The name of the novel and the protagonist is exotic. The ending appeared a bit rushed though (especially the last two pages).

Overall, a good read. The story is more or less consistent with genuine victorian feel. The initial part can however, be boring or too long but if you endure it, the rest of the story is good.

Plot- 3.5/5
Development- 4.3/5
Dialogue- 4.2/5
Style- 4/5

Genuine historical feel
Romantic development
Well researched

Too much description
Slow in the beginning

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