Arabella by Georgette Heyer
When the librarian handed me a worn, red book with no dust jacket, I smirked. I judged the book by its lack of cover and decided I wouldn't like the story.
I am glad to say I was wrong!
Arabella is the oldest and most beautiful daughter of a Yorkshire clergyman. Her mama sends her to London to make a suitable match (hopefully wealthy). On the way, Arabella's borrowed coach breaks down and she is thrust into the acquaintance of Mr. Beaumaris.
Mr. Beaumaris is the most watched man in London. He can set a new fashion by the way he wears his cravat. He can also make or break any young lady in society with a nod of his head.
Arabella overhears Mr. Beaumaris (or Nonpareil, as he is known in London circles) arrogant speech of the lowly and announces she is an heiress!
Mr. Beaumaris decides Arabella will be the most sought after lady in London and what ensues between his mischievousness and her trying to hide her lack of fortune is a delightful story.
What I really liked about Arabella was how she was true to herself, whether it was taking in strays or rebuffing flirtations, she didn't let society tell her what was right or wrong.
If you like Jane Austen, I think you will enjoy this story!