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A Civil Contract

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  5,304 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
Adam Deveril, a hero of Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. He is now Viscount Lynton, with the responsibility of saving the estate, and the only way to do so is to marry an heiress. He is introduced to Mr. Jonathan Chawleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth and no social ...more
Published 1977 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1961)
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Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This review contains some spoilers

I know from reading Jennifer Kloester’s excellent biography of Georgette Heyer* that A Civil Contract was not an easy novel for Heyer to write. Before starting work on it, Heyer wrote to a friend that she wanted to write a new kind of novel that would be “neither farcical nor adventurous”. Heyer wrote that the novel would depend for its success on whether she could make the hero as charming as she believed him to be and also on whether she “could make a quiet st
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grace Tjan
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars, rounding up: this is a 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 a little bit practical-minded and a little bit heartbreaking, as well as heartwarming.

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 t
Carol ☀ Walking in Sunshine
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of more realistic romances
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 de
(view 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 with more talk 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, soph
Moonlight Reader
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
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 h
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Georgette Heyer Regency Romance unlike any other she wrote. It's one of the most hotly debated about Heyer stories because it is hate and loved in equal turns. She, herself, hated it at least in the middle of writing it. Personally, I think it is one of her best and delves deep into the unromantic side of romance, unrequited love, secret love, friendship, class differences, and marriages of convenience all in one.

The characters are still colorful and sparkling. There are the witty dialogues if
Adam Deveril of the Duke of Wellington's 52nd Regiment has only recently returned to active combat duty after being wounded when he learns of the tragic death of his father, Viscount, Lord Lynton of Lincolnshire. He is more shocked to learn that his father died in massive debt and their estate, Fontley Priory is mortgaged to the hilt. Adam has only one choice: sell. How can he sell his family home? Should he? He has a mother and two younger sisters to support. Even if Charlotte accepts her belov ...more
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
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Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...
“They used to say of me that I'd as many lucky escapes as Harry Smith!'
'Shouldn't be at all surprised: I've seen one of 'em myself,' Brough said cryptically.”
“Yet, after all, Jenny thought she had been granted more than she hoped for when she married him. He did love her: differently, but perhaps more enduringly; 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.” 4 likes
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