This new novel starts in Bath in May, 1787.
We are introduced to Arabella Garland, who is in Bath’s Assembly Rooms, hoping that her eldest daughter Eliza hooks some eligible bachelor, but so far Eliza has only danced with men who do not meet Arabella’s requirements. We learn that Arabella is married to George Garland, and they have two daughters, nineteen-year-old Eliza and fifteen-year-old Clementine. Arabella comes from a noble, but impoverished family, and George was rich but without a title. We have the impression that Arabella and her husband were really in love and lust when they married, and they are still close.
One of the women Arabella has befriended in Bath but doesn’t like is Lavinia Knowles, who also has two daughters, eighteen-year-old Phoebe, and younger Matilda. Lavinia is the kind of woman who puts on airs and likes boasting about her daughters. Arabella simply puts up with her because it is the only person she knows in Bath and because Eliza and Phoebe have become good friends.
Good start. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to these characters.