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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.
66 of 67 people found this review helpful
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
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Where does Arabella rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
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.
What other book might you compare Arabella to, and why?
All Heyers of course. The humour, the amazing characters, the everything.
What does Phyllida Nash bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
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!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I did- giggle
Any additional comments?
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....
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Once again I love this book, the narration of which by Ms.Nash was absolutely outstanding!
Great characters and regency society wittily portrayed
Recommended to those who enjoy the delightful escapism of these novels. Arabella is a favourite heroine and the novel is read with wit and verve.