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3.5 stars, rounding up this is an unusual story that has grown on me A Civil Contract is a marriage of convenience tale, very different from Georgette Heyer s other Regency novels that I ve read There is a romance at the heart of it, as usual, but it s practical minded and a little bit heartbreaking, as well as heartwarming It s muchlike real life than your typical romance novel.Captain Adam Deveril, now Lord Lynton, returns to his ancestral home from the Napoleonic wars when his fathe 3.5 stars, rounding up this is an unusual story that has grown on me A Civil Contract is a marriage of convenience tale, very different from Georgette Heyer s other Regency novels that I ve read There is a romance at the heart of it, as usual, but it s practical minded and a little bit heartbreaking, as well as heartwarming It s muchlike real life than your typical romance novel.Captain Adam Deveril, now Lord Lynton, returns to his ancestral home from the Napoleonic wars when his father unexpectedly dies Unfortunately, he also returns home to a mountain of debt left by his profligate father,than he can ever hope to pay off Initially Adam decides to sell his estate and any valuable assets, but that will still leave him with insufficient funds to take care of his family, a mother and two sisters The only alternative marry an heiress, suggests his money manager Adam finds the idea completely abhorrent, especially since he s just broken up with the lovely girl he loves, Julia Oversley, because he can t afford to marry her.But Julia s father has the same idea as Adam s manager if he can t marry for love, he should save his land and home and marry someone with money Oversley introduces him to an impressively vulgar but good natured middle class businessman or Cit , Mr Chawleigh, whose wish in life is for his shy daughter to be able to marry a man with a title And when Adam s teenage sister starts talking about marrying an old man for his money or pursuing a career as a stage actress, that s the last straw Adam agrees to the marriage of convenience with Jenny Chawleigh, a plump and dowdy girl whom he barely knows Chawleigh buys up Adam s mortgages and debts and gives the couple enough money to take care of their needs Adam is trying his best to be kind to Jenny, but he resents her father s showering them with ostentatious gifts, and he s still in love with Julia, who never misses an opportunity to let him know that she s also still painfully in love with him Jenny who s actually been in love with Adam ever since she met him through Julia is trying to make the best of their marriage as well, but it s difficult when you re rather shy and unattractive and your husband is in love with your beautiful, vivacious best friend who doesn t want him to ever forget that he REALLY loves her A Civil Contract was a group read for the Georgette Heyer group, and we ve had some rousing discussions in the discussion threads about whether Adam made the best choice, whether Jenny was a terrible person for marrying the man her best friend Julia was in love with but forbidden to marry , and whether this is even a good book Opinions vary widely, but I found both Adam and Jenny to be honorable people, trying to make the best of the circumstances they re in The choices for both of them were very limited by their circumstances and the social restrictions of the time Georgette Heyer was a bit of a snob and regularly dealt in stereotypes Jenny s brash, vulgar father, and Jenny s own physical and social shortcomings, seem to support the disdain the gentry had for Cits, the working class But at the same time, both of these became very real characters to me, and the story wouldn t have been the same if Adam s choice of wife had been an easier one to adapt to view spoiler The romantic part of me wished forof a Cinderella moment for Jenny and orof a glorious Happily Ever After for her, but Heyer handled this in arealistic way hide spoiler Julia and Jenny are, personality wise, quite a bit like Elinor and Marianne in Jane Austen s Sense and Sensibility, and Heyer s characters mention that novel several times, just to make sure we don t miss the point Julia, like Marianne, is a bit over the top, but I always did sympathizewith sensible characters in my books.This book won t end up on my favorites list there s a little too much pain and not enough joy and humor for me to really love it as a romance, and there s also a heavy dose of Napoleonic history toward the end that, frankly, I started skimming through But I did find much to appreciate in it, not the least the importance of behaving with kindness and honor despite adverse circumstances My 2016 reviewI don t have muchto add Adam will never be a favourite Heyer hero for me too class conscious and often, too ungrateful But he grows on me as does the view spoiler maturing of his and Jenny s relationship hide spoiler But the character I really loathe is Adam s late father Such is GH s gift with characterisation that the late Viscount never has to appear on screen for us to get the picture of a thoroughly selfish man who doesn t care about the destruction of other My 2016 reviewI don t have muchto add Adam will never be a favourite Heyer hero for me too class conscious and often, too ungrateful But he grows on me as does the view spoiler maturing of his and Jenny s relationship hide spoiler But the character I really loathe is Adam s late father Such is GH s gift with characterisation that the late Viscount never has to appear on screen for us to get the picture of a thoroughly selfish man who doesn t care about the destruction of other people s lives and dreams A wonderful tale recommended for those who want some variation in the romances they read This is the fifth Heyer I ve read, and it s my favorite to date Given that Georgette Heyer wrote dozens of books, I still have a way to go before I can claim it as my favorite of all, but I think I ve sampled enough to get a feel for the type of books she wrote and the character styles she favorited A Civil Contract is a departure from the Heyer romantic plotlines Although marriages of convenience are standard regency romance fare, Heyer takes this and stands it on its head by keeping the hero This is the fifth Heyer I ve read, and it s my favorite to date Given that Georgette Heyer wrote dozens of books, I still have a way to go before I can claim it as my favorite of all, but I think I ve sampled enough to get a feel for the type of books she wrote and the character styles she favorited A Civil Contract is a departure from the Heyer romantic plotlines Although marriages of convenience are standard regency romance fare, Heyer takes this and stands it on its head by keeping the hero and heroine from ever yes, EVER discovering wild, heart stopping lurve There is no conventional HEA No passionate liplock or smoldering declaration of deathly love from our hero and heroine The hero of the story, Adam, is young, vaguely stupid at times, and unintentionally cruel to his lower class wife throughout the book Our heroine, Jenny, is not your typical romantic powerhouse at all She s lower class, dowdy, short necked, and red faced She s also possessed of a meek nature that rarely takes her lordly husband to task for all his slights to her and she seeks only to make him comfortable She s even willing to help him through his unrealistic obssession with the beautiful and vapid Julia who would typically be the poster girl for romantic heroines the Regency world over.Gentle reader, I found it refreshing.I m so sick of perfect Mary Sue Gary Stu characters that look like models, smell like freesia, and fart rainbows and unicorns out their perfectly proportioned buttocks Oh, sure, it s fun for the first 1,000 or so books, but after 1,001, this wish fulfillment perfection becomes as stale and repulsive as your breath after a weekend bender.At least it does to me.ACC isn t for the HEA obsessed, but for those readers who like a littlerealism added to their regency reading romps Perhaps a bit of age or general cynicism is also helpful in enjoying this book both qualities I ve got in spades.If you re thinking of reading Heyer for this first time, don t pick up A Civil Contract, as it really doesn t fit her general mold But if you re tired of the same ole same ole complete with the HEA, give this one a try Having just read a god awful Pride and Prejudice sequel , I wanted to read a bona fide Regency romance, and picked one by no one less than Georgette Heyer, the originator of the genre, and perhaps the only romance novelist who comes with glowing recommendations from A.S Byatt Not being a romance reader, I didn t know what to expect, but I thought that this book is one decidedly odd romance Imagine pitching it as a rom com costume drama script to a Hollywood studio executive Studio Executive Having just read a god awful Pride and Prejudice sequel , I wanted to read a bona fide Regency romance, and picked one by no one less than Georgette Heyer, the originator of the genre, and perhaps the only romance novelist who comes with glowing recommendations from A.S Byatt Not being a romance reader, I didn t know what to expect, but I thought that this book is one decidedly odd romance Imagine pitching it as a rom com costume drama script to a Hollywood studio executive Studio Executive EXEC So what do we have here A Civil Contract Is it a John Grisham thing Scriptwriter SW It s a story about marriage of convenience in Regency England A sort of a period rom com, actually EXEC Oh, Jane Austen Costume drama Pride and Prejudice was pretty good, and that little Anne Hathaway movie did OK Chicks like them SW It s not from any Jane Austen book, but it s from a novel set in the same period Specifically, it s about the people who are involved in this marriage of convenience the mercenary groom, the social climbing father in law, and the plain bride EXEC You mean they marry just for the money SW The hero Adam Lynton has to marry the heroine, Jenny, because otherwise he would go bankrupt You see, the guy s dad, the late Viscount Lynton, left the ancestral estate so deeply in debt that the only way to save it is for Adam to marry rich Enters Mr Chawleigh, a filthy rich, self made man from humble backgrounds, who desperately wants to marry his daughter to the nobs EXEC So this Adam guy he just ran with it SW Uh, no He s kinda of reluctant, actually, being a gentleman and all But as the head of the family, he needs to take care of his old mom, and provide dowries for his sisters There s just no other way out He thinks that he s sacrificing himself for the good of his family EXEC Okay So, how plain is the girl I m thinking Natalie Portman or that Hathaway girl Just put her in some kind of a dowdy getup SW Actually, she s kinda short and plump a little squab figure is the word that s used to describe her in the novel EXEC Eh gotta get someone petite for her, then But she s basically okay looking, right SW Umm, no The novel says that she s certainly not a beauty with her short neck and mouse coloured hair And she dresses funny EXEC grumbles How s that gonna sell the movie SW But she s a sensible girl, and pretty shrewd too She knows that her husband doesn t love her, but gets up early every morning just to make tea for him anyway She personally embroiders his handkerchiefs with super tiny stitches She makes sure that there s hot supper on the table, no matter how late he returns home Men like to be comfortable, and by golly, she s gonna make him very comfortable EXEC Is that all she does No dashing across the moor on a spirited stallion No clever, witty talk No ahead of her time intellectual interests SW Nope She s a born housewife whose sole purpose in life is to make her husband comfortable EXEC Fantastic We re gonna have the movie picketed by every wannabe feminist in town SW But she s feisty in her own way She keeps the ancestral house spick and span She reins in her snobby mother in law like an expert horsewoman She transcends her vulgar background to become a proper lady And she eventually wins herself a handsome nobleman who in normal circumstances is way out of her league EXEC skeptical But where s the drama That can t be all there is SW Before he was compelled to marry Jenny, Adam dated Julia the beautiful daughter of Lord Oversley, another rich nob and Jenny s best friend from school Julia s dad put an end to their budding romance, because he wouldn t have a bankrupt Viscount as son in law But the two still have the hots for each other, even though Adam is now kind of married EXEC So that s what the audience has to sit through the movie Whether plain Jenny will be successful in making her husband so comfortable, that he ll overcome his first love and fall in love with her SW Yep That would be the gist of it It s as if, having written dozens of romances, Heyer decided to throw herself a challenge and deliberately picked the most unpromising premise for a romance The heroine is hopelessly plain, and virtually has nothing to make her distinguished other than her ability to be an uber Martha Stewart The hero, despite being conventionally handsome, married her for mercenary reasons Despite all this, Heyer managed to tell an enjoyable, even occasionally amusing story about the coming together of basically decent people who try to do their best under tawdry circumstances There is no passionate sighs or heaving bosoms here, just the gradual triumph of prosaic sensibility and homemaking ability over impractical youthful passion That s a pretty subversive notion for a romance.The one interesting thing about Jenny for me is her true motivation in accepting the marriage of convenience She knew that Adam was her best friend s beau and yet has little compunction in stealing him when circumstances permitted This seems to be grossly at odds with the rest of her characterization as a modest, sensitive, eminently sensible little homemaker She rationalizes her actions as making the best of a bad situation The choice is not between you, Julia, and me, but between me and ruin , but it doesn t ring true to me Come on Jenny, admit it, you ve got the hots for the guy since like, forever and you snatched him up when there s opportunity I don t blame you, girl I wish that Heyer had explored this further, but perhaps it s too much to ask from this genteel romance view spoiler hide spoiler I ve read quite a few of Heyer s novels and this one struck me as particularly interesting Heyer is a legend among romance readers her characters have depth, the events make sense, and while these are books withtalk than action, that talk is lively and always well written Heyer s novels fall into a few categories silly, young heroine marries worldly hero and the two agree to a French marriage, only to discover they are in love older, independent, s view spoiler hide spoiler I ve read quite a few of Heyer s novels and this one struck me as particularly interesting Heyer is a legend among romance readers her characters have depth, the events make sense, and while these are books withtalk than action, that talk is lively and always well written Heyer s novels fall into a few categories silly, young heroine marries worldly hero and the two agree to a French marriage, only to discover they are in love older, independent, sophisticated woman finally meets a man that s up to scratch and is persuaded to marry independent, free spirited mature lady i.e., in her twenties wreaks havoc among society before finally being convinced to settle down older woman resists a convenient marriage to an even older eligible bachelor, only to find that said bachelor is in fact in love with her A Civil Contract isn t quite like any of those Adam returns from Salamanca only to discover that his newly inherited estates are heavily mortgaged His only choice is to sell the family seat or to marry a wealthy heiress He gives in and weds plain but loaded Jenny Chawleigh, but sacrifices his own happiness in the bargain settling for money means he can never marry Julia, the beautiful young woman he s been in love with for a few years Practical Jenny decides at the outset that she s determined to make him comfortable, and so she sets up his house, makes sure his favorite macaroons are always around, has a son, and generally turns a blind eye to the fact that her husband practically drools every time Julia walks into the room The usual antics ensue in which patient, devoted Jenny martyrs herself on the altar of domesticity and good housekeeping, while Julia turns out to be a selfish flirt The novel is odd however Jenny has a son This is the only Heyer novel to my knowledge in which the heroine has a child Given the awkwardness of many of the scenes between Jenny and her husband, the romantic fantasy is radically disrupted by the idea that within the framework of the romance formula these two practically perfect strangers are breeding as Jenny puts it Heyer even incorporates this break into the story itself Julia, upon learning of Jenny s pregnancy, can only utter Only to be expected How how stupid of me Julia could well be echoing the reader s own thoughts on this topic The pregnancy, instead of drawing the couple closer together, has only heightened their conflicts and brought to the surface both Adam s emotional infidelity and his lack of respect for the excellent qualities in his wife It is, in fact, only to be expected that even a marriage of convenience would result in children, and yet this is the only Heyer novel in which this occurs Such a plot structure hardly bodes well for a satisfactory happy ending To Heyer s credit, she doesn t give in, either It would be so easy to make Adam suddenly do a 180, but this is not a novel that can end happily Adam is selfish and thoughtless Jenny, despite her refreshingly prosaic nature, has determined to devote her entire life to making Adam comfortable and happy The novel ends with Adam admitting that he loves his wife and that he couldn t do without her Julia becomes only a boy s impractical dream, but practical Jenny must admit to herself that Adam still loves his dreamthan he loves his reality Jenny argues to herself they would have many years of quiet content never reaching the heights, but living together in comfort and deepening friendshipI daresay I m better off as things are Once again, the romance reader cannot help but agree with such an assessment, and yet admitting Jenny is right is paramount to admitting the fallacy of romance fiction, in which heights and deepening friendship go hand in hand, just like the simultaneous orgasm Heyer has written a wonderful anti romance romance, and yet it seems very fitting to me that this should be her only one GH s most unromantic romance But does romantic love last anyway or does it change to comfortable companionship GH explores this theme with as usual for her a rich cast of colourful characters she deftly weaves some real life history into the plot She handles several romantic plots with considerable aplomb Like many of her later romances, Adam isn t an idle aristocrat he is originally a soldier, then becomes a gentleman farmer he is called home to England when his recently deceased f GH s most unromantic romance But does romantic love last anyway or does it change to comfortable companionship GH explores this theme with as usual for her a rich cast of colourful characters she deftly weaves some real life history into the plot She handles several romantic plots with considerable aplomb Like many of her later romances, Adam isn t an idle aristocrat he is originally a soldier, then becomes a gentleman farmer he is called home to England when his recently deceased father brings the estate to the point of ruin Rather than lose the estate Fontley Adam gives up the girl he loves marries Jenny daughter of a Cit While Jenny always loved Adam, Adam view spoiler comes to love Jenny and appreciates he is better with a practical wife who will create a comfortable home, than Julia who is in modern terms, a bit of a drama queen hide spoiler |Free Ebook ⚕ Un contratto conveniente ⚑ Alla morte del vecchio Lord Lynton, ucciso in un incidente di caccia, il capitano Adam, figlio dello scomparso, diviene il nuovo Lord Lynton L erede, sapendo che la propriet gravata da ipoteche, affida al suo amministratore il compito di scoprire l ammontare dei debiti Purtroppo, i rovesci finanziari sofferti in Borsa dal vecchio Lord sono stati cos rovinosi che ora il figlio non riesce a placare l ansia dei creditori gi da tempo allarmatiChe fare L erede si guarda intorno in cerca di una donna da sposare importante che sia ricca, anzi ricchissima, perch lui si proprietario di molte terre di grande valore, ma si trova proprio sull orlo della rovina Non facile amare una donna in modo duraturo, se non bella, giovane, spiritosa Il nuovo Lord Lynton costretto a tentare con Jenny Chawleigh, una amabile fanciulla, spontanea, candida e leale chiss , forse questa soluzione si riveler un contratto conveniente I am going to gush I ve read a lot of Georgette Heyer as the originator of the regency romance, she is a hugely influential author She is a talented, careful writer with a flair for comedy, and some of her best books are also some of her funniest A Civil Contract is a departure from her usual formula, and it knocked my socks off It begins with Adam Deveril being forced to return home from his position in the Army, as his spendthrift father has unexpectedly died in a riding accident, and he I am going to gush I ve read a lot of Georgette Heyer as the originator of the regency romance, she is a hugely influential author She is a talented, careful writer with a flair for comedy, and some of her best books are also some of her funniest A Civil Contract is a departure from her usual formula, and it knocked my socks off It begins with Adam Deveril being forced to return home from his position in the Army, as his spendthrift father has unexpectedly died in a riding accident, and he has inherited Fontley, the rapidly deteriorating family seat, and a whole pile of debt incurred by his improvident parent I m sure he intended to remake the family fortunes, if he could step away from the gaming table horse races long enough to stop losing money, but whatevs, dad Way to go Adam is most definitely not cut from same cloth as his father, though they may share a tailor He is a clear eyed realist with some actual scruples, and it becomes apparent that Fontley is going to have to be sold to pay for the debts left behind when dad kicked off the mortal coil His business manager is relieved to note that Adam doesn t seem to have many illusions about winning back the family fortunes on the turn of a card, but isn t thrilled to see the family seat go out of the family, and suggests that Adam look about for an heiress to marry Adam, on the other hand, is deeply infatuated with the sylph like Julia Oversley, this year s most popular and sought after debutante And Julia reciprocates these affections He realizes that he can t marry Julia, given that once Fontley is sold he will quite literally not even have a pot to pee in, but in the interests of love, he is going to sacrifice himself on the altar of bachelorhood.And then he meets Jonathan Chawleigh, a wealthy Cit whose made his fortune in trade Here there be cashflow Chawleigh has no illusions about Adam being likely to fall in love with his daughter, the ordinary Jenny, but that s all right with him He wants Jenny to marry into a social class to which he himself will never gain entry While he was hoping for an Earl, Adam, a mere Viscount, will do He meets Jenny Small, a bit plump, with a short neck, she is no Julia But they get on, a bit, and agree to marry He was obliged to master an impulse to retreat, and to tell himself that her acceptance of the proposed match was nocoldblooded than his own He was quite as pale as she, and he replied, in a strained voice Miss Chawleigh, if you feel that you could bear it I shall count myself fortunate I won t offer you false coin To make the sort of protestations natural to this occasion would be to insult you, but you may believe me sincere when I say that if you do me the honour to marry me I shall try to make you happy She got up I shall be Don t think of that I don t wish you to try to Only to be comfortable I hope I can make you so I ll do my best And you ll tell me what you wish me to do or if I do something you don t like won t you And so it begins They marry, and try to make a life together There are several times in this book where my heart just broke for Jenny She is obviously in love with Adam she had been friendly with Julia and had met him while he danced attendance on her much prettier friend But she is wise beyond her years, and realizes that while she cannot compete with Julia in looks or fairylike appeal, she is married to him, and Julia is not She sets out to make a place for herself the only way she knows how by becoming the mistress of Fontley, by not complaining if he is late, by making sure he has his tea how he likes it If this sounds like Jenny is masquerading as a Golden Retriever, well, I can understand that But that s not how it felt It felt wise And generous And, in the end, Jenny shows herself to be a better person, and a better wife, than the immature and self centered Julia would have been Speaking to Julia as she makes the claim that it is Jenny who has gained the most as a result of the marriage, Adam says He did not answer for a moment, and then he said gently I owe Jenny a great deal, you know She studies all the time to please me, never herself Our marriage isn t always easy, for either of us, but she tries to make it so, and behavesgenerously than I do Given her so much You know better than to say that, my dear I had nothing to give her but a title and I wonder sometimes if she sets anystore by that than you would Finally, charmingly, convincingly, Adam falls in love with his Jenny, not in the infatuated way that a callow youth loves a lovely girl, but with gentle and real commitment Yet, after all, Jenny thought that she had been grantedthan she had hoped for when she had married him He did love her differently, but perhapsenduringly and he had grown to depend on her She thought that they would have many years of quiet content never reaching the heights, but living together in comfort and deepening friendship Well, you can t have it both ways, she thought, and I couldn t live in alt all the time, so I daresay I m better off as things are And so, Heyer convinces me that, in the end, they will be a truly happy couple Adam will fondly remember his brief but passionate love for Julia But he will always come home to Jenny, because she, as it turns out, is the love of his life After all, life was not made up of moments of exaltation, but of quite ordinary, everyday things An old fashioned story with a new fashioned problem, a Victorian era viscount needs money to keep his estate going so he marries the daughter of a merchant, instead of his fiance The new bride knows exactly why she was chosen instead of the beauty. I hate to confess this, but I am really not a GH fan I have read them all, but srsly, I just don t feel the love Probably because the very first GH I ever read was this one, and it damn near ruined my appreciation for historicals for life All I can say is thank goodness I soon ran into Candace Camp and Marion Chesney and most especially Loretta Chase and Elizabeth Neff Walker s The Loving Seasons pretty much saved the entire Regency Genre for me This is an excellently written novel, unfortu I hate to confess this, but I am really not a GH fan I have read them all, but srsly, I just don t feel the love Probably because the very first GH I ever read was this one, and it damn near ruined my appreciation for historicals for life All I can say is thank goodness I soon ran into Candace Camp and Marion Chesney and most especially Loretta Chase and Elizabeth Neff Walker s The Loving Seasons pretty much saved the entire Regency Genre for me This is an excellently written novel, unfortunately it is not very romantic I realize Ms Heyer was trying to convey the realities of an arranged marriage but I read romance novels for the happy ever after and the ending of this novel was anything but.My heart breaks for Jenny who is faced with the prospect of a continuing marriage withlove on her side than on his Adam is carelessly affectionate towards her, and seems content, but you just know a few years down the road he ll have some discreet, pretty mistress and Jenny will be stuck This is one time I wish the heroine could have gotten a fabulous lover who would make her feel as loved and adored as Adam initially felt for Julia.I don t think Adam can ever appreciate just how much Jenny had to adjust to be married to him and he will never appreciate how much she loves him The writing itself is very good, but every time I read this novel I always wish Ms Heyer had put in some illuminating moment for Adam to realize what a great treasure he found in Jenny and would have him tell her how much he adored her All in all a fascinating novel to read but definitely not a romance