A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer – A Review

A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer (2011)Guest review by Laura A. Wallace

A Civil Contract is an atypical Georgette Heyer novel.  While the setting is firmly Regency, beginning at the time of the Battle of Orthez (February 1814) and ending with that of Waterloo (June 1815), it is neither lively nor witty.  It is a quiet book, with a love story that grows gradually, without any sparkle or adventure.  The eponymous contract is a marriage contract between an impoverished, newly-acceded peer and a wealthy “Cit” (Citizen of the City of London)’s daughter.  It is an inauspicious beginning:  the aristocrat is in love with someone else, the bride is homely, and the Cit is vulgar.

However, what follows is a sensitive, nuanced exploration of human relationships that from today’s perspective may seem almost quaint:  commitment, respect, duty, honor, fidelity, civility, resentment, and generosity.  I say “quaint” because the most cursory glance at current divorce and familial Continue reading “A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”

A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer – A Review

Guest review by Elaine Simpson-Long of Random Jottings

I was 15 when I first read A Civil Contract and I remember being slightly disappointed at the lack of a dashing alpha male hero with matching heroine, but now that I am older and wiser, I find this Georgette Heyer to be a deeply and quietly satisfying book.  It is the story of a marriage of convenience in which Adam Deveril will marry a rich heiress, save his family from ruin and in so doing, discover a satisfaction and happiness in his married life which he did not expect to find.

Adam is home from the Peninsular Wars and in love with the beautiful Julia Oversely, but when he learns of the state of his family’s finances he withdraws his suit.  It is Julia’s father, honouring Adam’s action, who suggests an arranged marriage.  He knows Jonathan Chawleigh, a hugely wealthy man in the city, who is eager to ally his daughter with a member of the ton and is willing to pay handsomely to gain a position in society for his daughter.  Initially revolted and repulsed by the scheme, Adam realises he has no choice but to agree in order to save Fontley and provide for his family.

Jenny has always loved Adam, as a friend of Julia she had accepted her position as the satellite in Julia’s starry wake, and knows that Adam is unaware of her existence and does not love her.  She also knows that his family dislike the match and deem her an unworthy wife for a Deveril, but she makes her position clear to Adam’s sister, Lydia: “You love him don’t you? This isn’t what you wished.  I only want to tell you that he’ll be comfortable. I’ll see to that. You don’t think it signifies but it does. Men like to be comfortable. Well he will be – that’s all” Continue reading “A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: