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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Georgette Heyer
This is a beautiful story; every bit of it rings true. One feels nothing but empathy and concern for Lord and Lady Lynton as they find their quietly anguished way to love and contentment. Ms. Heyer has given us a realistic set of characters; not one of them is truly repulsive (so as to make the others more likable). One even feels empathy for the beautiful and shallow...
Published on November 5, 2011 by Kathy B

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic story
This is not the traditional Regency romance; although, by the end of the book, Adam states that he loves his wife, that seems to be a sop to the reader. Adam, facing ruin because of an improvident father, is persuaded to make a marriage of convenience with a young woman who is rather homely and clearly very much in love with him. Her father is an outrageous character whom...
Published 23 months ago by NewDiane


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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Georgette Heyer, November 5, 2011
By 
Kathy B (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
This is a beautiful story; every bit of it rings true. One feels nothing but empathy and concern for Lord and Lady Lynton as they find their quietly anguished way to love and contentment. Ms. Heyer has given us a realistic set of characters; not one of them is truly repulsive (so as to make the others more likable). One even feels empathy for the beautiful and shallow Julia and the overbearing and vulgar Mr. Chawleigh. The characters' weaknesses make them human and their strengths make them honorable.

This is not a Georgette Heyer Regency RomCom (and I've read all of them), but don't leave it off your Georgette Heyer reading list.

I want to read this book again and again.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heyer's Hidden Gem, November 11, 2011
By 
L. Stone (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Civil Contract (Kindle Edition)
I've read and reread every Georgette Heyer novel again and again since I was a child, and after all the years, this is by far my favorite. It's not the sparkling romance of so many of her other books, handsome lord and very pretty ingenue, but it has a ring of truth that is something much greater. There's something so satisfying about this novel. Reading it makes me feel content, every time.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her best, November 2, 2011
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This review is from: Civil Contract (Kindle Edition)
If I had to select one Georgette Heyer Regency from her entire list, this would be it. She takes the well-worn idea of an arranged marriage for wealth (hers) and title (his) and turns it into something funny and heart-breaking and ultimately, hugely satisfying. I have read it five times over the years and am happy to finally have it on my Kindle. Don't pass this one up because it doesn't fit the mold of Regency romance.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mature Heyer, for mature readers, April 6, 2012
This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
One of Georgette Heyer's later works, "A Civil Contract" turns its back on many of the conventions that people look for in regency novels. The protagonist is worthy but not dashing, the heroine is neither pretty nor sparkling, and their arranged marriage ends with affection rather than a suddenly-realized passion.

In short, it's a regency with realism. And I devoured it.

Fantasy and froth are fine, but I read Heyer because she had a brain. Her imitators would have butchered this story (and they have, many times) with a hundred facile missteps: the plain bride would have somehow morphed into a beautiful swan; the hard, grudging lessons would have been miraculously condensed into a single page near the end; and our couple would have exploded into flaming passion. But what emerges here is something a good deal more true and insightful, with real characters instead of cardboard parodies. I much prefer it to stuff like "April Lady," and I suspect she did too.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely story, March 15, 2012
This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
I've only read a few of Georgette Heyer's books, but that is enough for me to know that A Civil Contract is not her typical story; nor is it typical of a Regency romance by any writer, for that matter. This is not a glittering, comedic tale of love between a gallant fop and a ravishing, aristocratic miss set among the English ton. Instead, it is a story of something much more realistic and far, far less romantic: a marriage of convenience.

Adam Deveril, an officer in Wellington's army, is suddenly called back to England on the death of his father. There he learns that his father has completely squandered the family fortune through gambling and high living (including buying fabulous jewelry for his mistress). Literally everything is gone; Adam is faced with the unhappy prospect of having to sell even the family's beloved, historic country estate and is not sure if, when all of the creditors have been satisfied, there will be even be enough left to provide a living for his mother and sister. His financial agent assures him that his only hope for raising money quickly is to marry a wealthy heiress.

Naturally Adam is repulsed by such an idea. However, within a couple of days just such an opportunity presents itself and ultimately, realizing it is the only way to keep his beloved estate (he is already resigned to selling the London townhouse and everything else) he agrees to marry Jenny, only child of a filthy-rich, self-made man who desperately wants to gain a foothold in the aristocracy for his daughter. He was hoping for her marriage to an Earl, but he likes Adam and so settles for a Viscount.

Although many if not most such arranged marriages no doubt ended up as shams, with one or both spouses having affairs and staying married to each other only for the sake of appearances, the children, and the finances, in A Civil Contract Georgette Heyer tells a lovely story of a couple who tries to make their marriage of convenience work. Nearly all of the effort is on Jenny's part, who agreed to marry Adam (her father didn't force her) because she loved him. She is plain of face, short and stout, and, despite the best schooling money could buy, shy and sadly lacking in grace of speech or movement. Nevertheless she is a noble character, with understanding, keen insight and good sense, amazing generosity of spirit and a totally selfless desire to please her husband and his family and to not offend their aristocratic sensibilities.

Unlike most Regencies, this one doesn't center on glitter and glitz; although there are parties and routs and crushes they are relegated firmly to the background. Instead, Heyer focuses on the mundane day-to-day experiences of Adam and Jenny as they attempt to navigate the minefield of emotions and strained relationships inherent in such arranged marriages (especially, as in this case, when the young man really isn't money hungry but is a painfully proud aristocrat who feels the bitterness of having "sold himself"). Although there are touches of Heyer's trademark whimsy and humor, namely in the characters of Jenny's bombastic father and Adam's flighty sister, A Civil Contract is markedly quieter and more somber in tone than Heyer's typical stories. It is a gentle story, handled with deftness and nuance, that manages to never be dull from the first page to the last, and with a suspenseful scene near the end that provides a wonderful climax and resolution to the story.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite of all Heyer's novels, July 19, 2012
This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
When I first read this book many years ago, as a teen, I was disappointed that this was not a light-hearted frilly romance. As I have aged, and have now been married over 40 years, I have come to appreciate this novel. These characters are real and their adjustment to marriage is closer to real than for example, the marriage in A Marriage of Convenience.

While I admire Heyer's works, and have read most of them many times, there is no depth to them, and perhaps that is what I -- and most other fans -- like so much. A Civil Contract shows Heyer's ability to create people and situations closer to real life. If she had written more in this vein her novels might have a higher appreciation in the literary world. However, it is significant of her talent and appeal that her books are still in print - and one can read The Talisman Ring with as much pleasure the tenth time as the first. How many other books published in 1936 (Talisman Ring) are still in demand and still fresh and lively?

No, Jenny and Adam do not have a romantic beginning to their marriage. But they have a loving, secure, comfortable and durable relationship by the end of the book. Would that ALL marriages be this way!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable arranged-marriage story, November 17, 2011
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This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
Lord Lynton marries not the woman he is in love with, but another that he feels compelled to marry. This is not a typical romance. However, you will admire the two principal characters in the book and enjoy ALL the other characters. Each character is so very well-sketched!!! I found myself liking the characters so much that I enjoyed the journey all the way, even though it is not the sort of romance I prefer to read. A definite five stars! Georgette Heyer is just amazing!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahhhh....Georgette Heyer....no one does it better., June 8, 2012
This review is from: Civil Contract (Kindle Edition)
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyers....probably more down to earth and true of Regency England than most of her works....but nevertheless a wonderful read. The characters are well fleshed out....to the point that you feel you really know them. I could only wish there had been a sequel to this one....I would love to have seen Jenny and Adam ten years later.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Regency, May 24, 2012
This review is from: Civil Contract (Kindle Edition)
I put off reading `A Civil Contract' for a long time, because I was afraid I would hate it, but I didn't. If all you want is your traditional Georgette Heyer romantic regency, this may not be the book for you. However, if you're up for a change, or a challenge, read it!

After reading so many escapist romances, it was so nice to read a Heyer that was more realistic. There were many things in this book which Heyer did masterfully. `A Civil Contract' deals well with the common regency notion of a marriage of convenience, and of the feelings it inspires in its `victims' if one can call them that. The couple did not feel passionate about each other, but their relationship grew over the book and came to be a sweet relationship. It deals well with Adam's revulsions at being somewhat dependent on his poorly bred father-in-law, and at ending up with a plain wife he does not love when he is infatuated with a beautiful and lively young woman. It deals well with Adam's gradual realisation that he did not truly know Julia, and that he was better off with Jenny. My one issue was that Julia, the high-spirited object of Adam's love did not feel quite realistic. I found it increasingly difficult to like her or feel sorry for her at all as the book went on. *Possible spoiler warning* I was glad that Heyer did not end the book with a passionate confession of love by either of the characters. It is clear that they love each other in their way and that they have a good life together. Perhaps it's just me, but I felt that passionate romance would be dishonest to the feelings of the characters, and the tough, earthy nature of the book. I thought it ended perfectly. `A Civil Contract' isn't a romantic regency, but it is a refreshing regency.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPOILERS - For those doubting..., November 19, 2012
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This review is from: A Civil Contract (Paperback)
*SPOILERS* Please do not read this review unless you want to be vaguely spoiled *SPOILERS*

I am three books away from finishing reading all of Georgette Heyer's historical novels. I put off A Civil Contract for a very long time, because I was hesitant to read a novel about a true marriage of convenience. I wanted romance, and passion, and deep love. I worried I wouldn't get my satisfying happy ending, and only be depressed and sad by the fate of Jenny and Adam.

The reviews for this book certainly turned me off to the realistic approach Heyer went for. To those who are avoiding this book for that same reason, please let this review reassure you.

I found their relationship to be incredibly sweet and caring. Is there passion? No. But what they have is long-lasting, and incredibly sincere. I cared about both of them, and loved their relationship founded on friendship far more than any romance.

I personally played the role of Jenny (in a more modern way) right before reading this book. Maybe that perspective helped me identify with the story. At first, I was terrified it would hit too close to home. But in truth, the story was so sweet and rang true in such a universal way, that I rooted for Jenny and Adam to be happy on their terms, rather than the grand scheme of romance as we know it.

And what they have together is as perfect as any grand passion, and one I'm more inclined to believe.

It's now one of my favorite romances I have ever read.
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A Civil Contract
A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer (Paperback - November 1, 2011)
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