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A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

A Civil Contract (original 1961; edition 2009)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,014348,402 (3.99)66
Title:A Civil Contract
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:HQN Books (2009), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 20th century, english, novel, regency, georgette heyer

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A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer (1961)


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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Lambert Says! A portrait of a marriage in the late Regency era. I love this book, but I have always thought this should be titled The Convenient Marriage and the Convenient Marriage called Civil Contract.
  CarriePalmer | May 2, 2014 |
I started this one on audio, but wasn't getting a lot of time to listen and was impatient to know what would happen next in the story of Jenny and Adam so I bought the Kindle version to finish the last 150 pages or so. It is not as overtly comical as many of Heyer's Regency works, but there is still humor, mostly provided by the impossibly vulgar but lovable Jonathan Chawleigh. At heart, this is a story of growing up and growing out of youthful passion and into respectful and sensible adulthood. And that was my one problem with it. I spent a few hundred pages watching the story develop and waiting for Adam to realize just how wonderful Jenny was, and while he did come to appreciate her, there was no great "AHA!" moment, and, being a romantic at heart, I kind of wished there had been. It would have made up for a lot of annoyance I felt at Adam through much of the book. As it was, I felt let down by the ending and what could have been a really wonderful 4.5 star read for me lost a bit at the end. Still, worth a look if you like Heyer and her type. ( )
  katiekrug | Oct 15, 2013 |
A masterful job by Georgette Heyer that deserves to be liberated from the "Regency romance" ghetto and considered as serious fiction. It's not really even a romance, given that the main characters marry for money and nothing else. We watch them grow, however, into a sort of love based upon their strong commitment and sense of honor. Very touching, with a dose of humor delivered by the bride's impressively vulgar father. ( )
  LadyWesley | Sep 25, 2013 |
2.5 stars. Meh.

I like Jenny, I like Jenny a lot. But I don't like Adam, and I don't like the plot. I was far more interested in Lydia and Brough, and Julia and Rockhill. This started as a marriage of convenience, and ended as one. Bore! ( )
  lovelylime | Sep 21, 2013 |
I had this book recommended to me by a number of people as a different sort of romance. And it is certainly, refreshingly that. It is unstintingly true to its premise—the marriage of convenience—and, may I say what an awesome change of pace it is to read about a heroine who is goodhearted and clever, but also hopelessly awkward and rather plain, mousy and plump? Jenny is one of the realist romance heroines out there—and the ending of the story is also very real.

But a quick warning to anyone who gets the Harlequin mass market paperback: Jo Beverly’s introduction spoils you for the ending but good! Once you’ve safely finished the story, it’s worth going back to the intro for some background on the arranged marriage in romantic fiction and on A Civil Contract’s position in Heyer’s body of work. Apparently Heyer wrote this book during a difficult period of her life, which may be why it’s more subdued than many similar stories. For all that, it has great charm if not searing passion.

A Civil Contract felt very convincing as a historical. People’s feelings about the arranged marriage—practical, if wistful for missed opportunities—seemed like what you’d expect in a place and time where marriages of convenience were usual. This does make the drama much more low key, but there were still plenty of sources of tension: the hero, Adam, is a Viscount who finds himself dependent on his fiance’s father’s money, raising a host of class issues, and then there’s his former love Julia who doesn’t take the marriage quite as calmly as everyone else. The characters were sympathetic and I genuinely cared for their happiness by the end.

While no expert on the Regency period myself I think the story was well-researched. I did have my doubts about the hero’s younger sister wanting to join the theater early on in the story—obviously she’s being impractical with this idea, but I thought it would be much more of a scandal to become an actress than her family treats it with (in effect, I wouldn’t expect people to respond so calmly to an announcement their little sister wants to become the next thing to a prostitute, even if she obviously can’t and won’t go through with it). I’ve also since heard that Heyer made up many of the characters’ colloquialisms. Those colloquialisms spouted in profusion, especially from the nouveau riche bride Jenny Chawleigh and her father (everything from “sure as a gun” to “Humdudgeon…and fiddle-faddling nonsense!”), making some of the minor figures especially seem cartoonish, yet also breathing life into the story. The prose itself follows Austen’s, perhaps too well for readers who prefer shorter sentences.

Speaking of historical background, I should note that knowing the denouement of the battle of Waterloo did not keep me from rapidly devouring, with great anticipation, the climax of the story in which it played a decisive role. Although quiet, the stakes in this story are still high—the livelihoods and happiness of two people who only want the best for themselves, their families, and their friends.

Less a historical romance than “historical fiction about a marriage,” I can see how this one may disappoint readers after the more typical love story. Even I found it a touch bittersweet. But by subverting the standard romantic tropes, it encourages readers to reexamine them, and emerge with a new appreciation for all sorts of happy endings.

This review is cross-posted from Love Changes Everything . ( )
1 vote T.Arkenberg | Sep 16, 2013 |
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The library at Fontley Priory, like most of the principal apartments in the sprawling building, looked to the south-east, commanding a prospect of informal gardens and a plantation of poplars, which acted as a wind-break and screened from view the monotony of the fen beyond.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099474441, Paperback)

Adam Deveril, a hero of Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:58 -0400)

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Adam Deveril, the Viscount Lynton, returns from the Peninsular War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged. He soon realises that the drastic measure of marriage is the only answer.

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