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Group Reads > A Civil Contract Group Read September 2019 Chapters 1-13

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message 1: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Our September read!

I will probably be reading the copy pictured this time. I've read it countless times.

Will this be anyone's first time?

What format are you using?

& please - no open spoilers. Use spoiler tags or the spoiler thread. We don't want to spoil a first time read for anyone!


message 2: by Moloch (last edited Aug 31, 2019 03:18AM) (new)

Moloch | 201 comments I won't re-read this time but I enjoyed this book, it's certainly interesting.

Enjoy!


message 3: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) I won't be re-reading, relistening, but that won't deter me from following and possibly joining in the discussion! I have read it countless times. I own a second hand hardback (without the cover) and also have an audio book, read by Phyllida Nash.


message 4: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1368 comments I have one of the silly Harlequin paperbacks with a generic cover that has absolutely nothing to do with the story. I bought this copy in the 1990s but have obviously never read it because I am finding tons of typos.

I'm going to give it another shot, but this is another one that violates all the rules of romance fiction for me.


message 5: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3537 comments I have a few other books first in line, but like Rosina, I’ve read this one countless times, have an ebook through Scribd, and will follow the discussions with interest. This is one of my favorites!


Barb in Maryland | 681 comments I'm waiting, waiting for the local library to come through with the copy I put on hold several weeks ago. It has been a while since I've read this and I hope to be able to join in.
(I recall from my first read that I loved Jenny and that I wanted to kick Adam's butt for being so blind).


message 7: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2642 comments Mod
This is my third read, I believe, and I have liked it better each time. This is the cover of my kindle version, which I will be using this read.
A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer


message 8: by Sheila (in LA) (new)

Sheila (in LA) (sheila_in_la) | 356 comments I've read this one once but don't remember it well. In the discussion of Pistols for Two last month, Carol suggested that Heyer developed the story (view spoiler) into this novel, which made me want to reread it, since that story was one of my favorites.

I'm reading an old hardbound copy from the library (no dust jacket).


message 9: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments I'm reading one of my Arrow Books collection. I think I've only read this once. I certainly can't remember it. I'm going away for a few days next week. My daughter is moving away to college. I'm taking her up there on Monday and staying for a few days with my brother and his family who live nearby. I hope to get it read while I'm there as I'm planning on some relaxation time.


message 10: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1368 comments What a milestone, Teresa! A lot of mixed feelings I imagine. You're wise to choose some comfort reading during such a stressful time.


message 11: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments Thanks Abigail. It's going to be hard to not have her at home. She's 31 now and I know she would have been gone long ago had she not been so ill. Being her carer for the last ten years too makes it difficult to let go even though I'm delighted to see her finally getting on with her life and to see her well enough to go. Fingers crossed all will go well. She deserves it.


message 12: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 1275 comments this is another one that violates all the rules of romance fiction for me.

this is why I didn't like it when I first read it, decades ago. but it's become one of my favorites.

I have read it many times and will again as soon as it gets to my library. it's been "in transit" for a week, not sure where it is coming from.


message 13: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne | 27 comments I’m listening to the audio version read by Philida Nash, her usual very fine reading, just up to the bit where the heroine (I presume) is making her first appearance. So far I’m enjoying it very much, attractive hero, good cast of secondary characters, very well written. It seems to be from the reviews I’ve read one of her more divisive books, A very few books seem more generally disliked, April Lady, so stressy. This one seems more in the middle. I’ll have to see how I feel when I’ve finished it. I’m concerned that Abigail didn’t like it as she and I felt much the same way about Venetia.


message 14: by Sheila (in LA) (new)

Sheila (in LA) (sheila_in_la) | 356 comments Teresa wrote: "Thanks Abigail. It's going to be hard to not have her at home. She's 31 now and I know she would have been gone long ago had she not been so ill. Being her carer for the last ten years too makes it..."

Wonderful news about your daughter, Teresa. Hope all goes well for you both in adjusting to the changes!

I look forward to reading your thoughts (and everyone else's) about this book. I've made it to about the halfway point--so far quite absorbing.


message 15: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Im under the weather, but hoping to start today


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments I probably won't get started until tomorrow night (Labor Day weekend here, so kids abounding), but this is my number one favorite Heyer, because of the character growth. I love it.


message 17: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1348 comments I read it once and don't plan to read it again. I did like it but it was too different to really please me.


message 18: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 31, 2019 05:17PM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3537 comments Teresa wrote: "I'm reading one of my Arrow Books collection. I think I've only read this once. I certainly can't remember it. I'm going away for a few days next week. My daughter is moving away to college. I'm ta..."

Yay, this is a very exciting time, best of luck, Teresa! And have a lovely, relaxing visit with your family.


message 19: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3537 comments Teresa wrote: "Thanks Abigail. It's going to be hard to not have her at home. She's 31 now and I know she would have been gone long ago had she not been so ill. Being her carer for the last ten years too makes it..."

I’m happy for all of you - these transitions are tough, but so glad she’s well enough to go - well done, mum!


message 20: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3537 comments Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ wrote: "Im under the weather, but hoping to start today"

Take care, I hope you feel better soon, Carol!


message 21: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1368 comments So glad to hear she's well enough to go off to college, Teresa! Adds to both your joy and your worry on the occasion. And a very new phase of your life, too. I'm a recovering carer myself and know how hard it is to make the transition.


message 22: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 1275 comments Karlyne wrote: "I probably won't get started until tomorrow night (Labor Day weekend here, so kids abounding), but this is my number one favorite Heyer, because of the character growth. I love it."

it's interesting so many of use love it and some really don't care for it at all - I think the discussion will be excellent.

I wish I had my copy but it might be another week or two.


message 23: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Good luck to you and your daughter, Teresa and feel better soon, Carol! I'm starting today with a paperback copy that has the same cover as Criterbee's--lovely image.


message 24: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments. I realised when I went to my book shelves that I don't have it in Arrow (which I'm definitely sure I had) but have an old Pan copy with a picture on the front that doesn't fit the regency. It also has small print so it will be a challenge.


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments The copy I'm reading is an Ace STAR edition. The cover is very late 1960s style...

(Keep us posted, Teresa!)


message 26: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments Thanks Karlyne. Will do.


message 27: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Critterbee❇ wrote: "This is my third read, I believe, and I have liked it better each time. This is the cover of my kindle version, which I will be using this read.
A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer"


I am reading the same one in ebook. I am sure I read this 40 years or so ago but have no memory. Once I start it we will see how much I remember.

I think this cover is just beautiful.


message 28: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Theresa wrote: "Critterbee❇ wrote: "This is my third read, I believe, and I have liked it better each time. This is the cover of my kindle version, which I will be using this read.
[bookcover:A Civil Contract|1122..."


That cover is beautiful! I'm not sure who it's supposed to be, but it's lovely.


message 29: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
My cover also beautiful (it's the one pictured at the top of the thread) but definitely not Jenny! Lydia maybe? Not really vivacious enough.

Good luck with everything Teresa!


message 30: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments As I'm reading this time, I'm paying particular attention to Adam's character and personality traits, because I know he's not appealing to everyone. 😁

As I finished Chaper 2, I just plain feel sorry for the poor guy. An improvident drama queen for a mother, an autocratic, improvident father, and a quasi-fiance who is also given to drama give me the shivers. And having to sell Fontley (which has "only" been in the family since 1540) and then being accused of being unfeeling for doing his duty makes me pity him. He's not railing at fate or ripping up his father, but is trying to man up and do what's right for his family, all without a shred of understanding from anyone but Lord Oversley and Wimmering. So far, I think Heyer is painting his situation and his character in a sympathetic light.


message 31: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
The character I really dislike this time is Adam's father. Another fine job by GH of depicting a character who (view spoiler)


message 32: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Sep 01, 2019 04:47PM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments Teresa wrote: "I'm reading one of my Arrow Books collection. I think I've only read this once. I certainly can't remember it. I'm going away for a few days next week. My daughter is moving away to college. I'm ta..."

Teresa,
Despite your mixed feelings, this is a milestone and celebration that she’s well enough not just to enter college, but to take the challenges of going away to school!

Many congrats, and I wish your daughter success!


message 33: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Sep 01, 2019 04:49PM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments I own A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer this Sourcebooks in hard copy as well as the kindle edition.

I’ve only read it 1x and enjoyed it.

Yes, I’ll concede that some of the romance rules were not adhered to, but really appreciated the realism element as a departure from fairy-tale.

This time, I think I’ll use one of my audible.com credits and listen to Phyllis’s Nash’s narration. I’ve heard she’s really good, but this will be my first-time listening to her.

Since this is a month-long read, I think I’ll make this my work lunch-break and commute audio book.


message 34: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2642 comments Mod
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ wrote: "The character I really dislike this time is Adam's father. Another fine job by GH of depicting a character who [spoilers removed]"

She does do that well, doesn't she?


message 35: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Just finished Ch. 13 and while enjoying this, it is not wracking up to be a favorite -yet. I appreciate how Adam is being portrayed by Heyer...his clinging to his youthful love for Julia, with whom I have been convinced from the beginning he would have been miserable within a year, is actually quite understandable. Adam has been forced to leave behind the loves of his youth, most especially the army, and assume a load of responsibilities for which he was not trained from birth, even though he was the first born son. Is it any surprise that he keeps that alive, albeit secretly? Plus if Heyer had made him get over Julia too easily, he would have been insufferable. Adam is not your usual bored indulged Heyer aristocrat. He also suffers badly in comparison to Hugo from last month's read. Not a good juxtaposition!

I find Julia of the same ilk as 'her la'ship' - as referred the by Chawleigh - a drama queen. But whereas I. find her ladyship is quite amusing, I find Julia immature, spoiled, and irritating beyond belief.

Chawleigh is a delight, as is Lydia, both bringing a welcome liveliness to the story.

Jenny garners your sympathy immediately, even before you meet her...her true story seems obvious to me,(view spoiler) They seem perfectly suited to me, though of course Adam does not see it.

I am also at this point musing on the wordplay of the title...'A Civil Contract'. Civil has different meanings. There is the social one of politeness...here coupled with contract to perhaps describe the marriage between Adam and Jenny as an agreement of extreme amiableness and manners. Civil also refers to laws or matters relating to the ordinary person, the 'common man' as it were, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical laws and matters. Here you have a marriage between a military man and a common civilian - hence a civil contract, exactly what this story is as well. Heyer infuses such layers of meaning in some of her titles!


message 36: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2642 comments Mod
Theresa wrote: "Adam is not your usual bored indulged Heyer aristocrat. He also suffers badly in comparison to Hugo from last month's read. Not a good juxtaposition! ..."

Adam does suffer more than Hugo, but I think that is rather because Hugo refuses to suffer, and plods along not feeling sorry for himself for all of the changes coming his way, and always sees humor, a positive outcome, or the way to improve every situation. Adam is in a bit of a sulk, and even though he has had some difficult things in his life such as (view spoiler)


message 37: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Hugo is one of my all-time favorite GH heroes so of course Adam suffers by comparison. But I really like and admire Adam. He's in a terrible spot and in rather a state of shock as well. He had no idea how badly his father left the estates and, after years of war and life in the military, he suddenly finds himself thrust into an unfamiliar role in which he's leading, not a regiment, but a family and an estate with all the attendant responsibilities.

It's clear from the meetings with his men of business that Adam is far superior to his father and is ready to shoulder his new burdens no matter the cost to himself.


message 38: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Julia is an appalling girl. I detest her even more on this re-reading. She is incredibly selfish and thoughtless--the way she enacts a drama over Adam's plan to sell Fontley is so inconsiderate, everything she says in Chapter Two seems calculated to make Adam feel even worse than he already does. Horrible creature! GH very skillfully lets us readers see what Adam is too blindly infatuated to understand. As Lord Oversley says about his own foolish daughter, "Julia's not the wife for you, you know."


message 39: by Carolm (new)

Carolm | 62 comments I have only read this once before and won't be rereading it this time. I didn't like any of the characters the first time and found little to no humour. I have too many other books I want to read to suffer through this one again.


message 40: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Understandable, Carolm. It's certainly a very atypical Georgette Heyer and rather darker than her usual comic romps.


message 41: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Adam and Jenny seem to almost immediately develop a cordial relationship, mostly because of Adam's good manners and Jenny's desire to not only please him but also to not look foolish in the eyes his world. I like that although she does want to defer to his better judgment she's not a doormat. The passage where she cooly explains to him that she won't be continuing her acquaintance with Mrs. Quarley-Bix, and then responds to his "grave look" with an explanation rather than just going along with him shows she's a person in her own right. I like that she's self-confident in what she knows and humble enough to ask for advice when she needs it.

Julia is, of course, a spoiled little girl with the emotional maturity of a very immature thirteen year old (apologies to the thirteen year olds I know). I have a feeling Adam's mother in her younger days was very like Julia! I simply cannot like Lady Lynton or Julia, but I do think Charlotte is rather sweet and Lydia is worth knowing.


message 42: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments There are some very funny scenes, particularly those involving Mr. Chawleigh. I particularly loved Jenny's discovery of the upgrade to her bathroom in Grosvenor Square (view spoiler)


message 43: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Karlyne wrote: "I have a feeling Adam's mother in her younger days was very like Julia! ..." I hadn't thought of that but you are probably right. Silly creature! Also it's clear Julia takes after her own mother, Lady Oversley rather than her sensible father.


message 44: by Critterbee❇ (last edited Sep 02, 2019 01:40PM) (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2642 comments Mod
I have often thought that Julia and Adam's Mom were very similar - don't men often seek out a woman similar to their mother to marry?

Hana wrote: "Julia is an appalling girl. I detest her even more on this re-reading. She is incredibly selfish and thoughtless--the way she enacts a drama over Adam's plan to sell Fontley is so inconsiderate, everything she says in Chapter Two seems calculated to make Adam feel even worse than he already does. Horrible creature! GH very skillfully lets us readers see what Adam is too blindly infatuated to understand. As Lord Oversley says about his own foolish daughter, "Julia's not the wife for you, you know."

It does seem calculated to manipulate Adam's feelings strongly, but I don't know that Julia is doing that on purpose (she seems too dense). Rather just from a selfish, thoughtless enjoyment of the drama of despair.


message 45: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Critterbee❇ wrote: "I have often thought that Julia and Adam's Mom were very similar - don't men often seek out a woman similar to there mother to marry?
..."


That has been my exact thought! I find Lady Lynton the mature version of Julia, and Adam absolutely falling for the same type of woman. Even though Lady Oversley is cut from similar cloth, she is still more sensible than either Julia or Lady Lynton.

Charlotte is a tad wimpy, but Lydia is a delight.


message 46: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Hana wrote: "There are some very funny scenes, particularly those involving Mr. Chawleigh. I particularly loved Jenny's discovery of the upgrade to her bathroom in Grosvenor Square "

OMG! That was the absolute pinnacle of that entire reveal of the redecorated Grosvenor House - from lights to stripes to chair legs! Heyer brilliantly captures the slave-to-fashion orientalism of the times.


message 47: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Theresa wrote: OMG! That was the absolute pinnacle of that entire reveal of the redecorated Grosvenor House - from lights to stripes to chair legs! Heyer brilliantly captures the slave-to-fashion orientalism of the times. ..."

It's the very beginning of Orientalism and GH's imagery is so marvelous. Napoleon was part of it with his pseudo conversion to Islam in Egypt. Here's a good link with the history of the trend: https://www.metmuseum.org/TOAH/hd/euo...

The full flower of British Orientalism would not arrive until the Victorian Era. Any one who has a chance to visit London should not miss a trip to Leighton House https://www.timeout.com/london/museum...

I have this feeling that Mr Chawleigh would have admired it tremendously and might have had a hand in the design :)


message 48: by Barb in Maryland (new)

Barb in Maryland | 681 comments I always felt so sorry for Jenny in that her father controlled her wardrobe. She knew she looked awful in the styles and fabric he chose, bur could never convince him of that. The dear man never learned that the cost of something was no indication of its suitability or quality.


message 49: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Teresa wrote: "I'm reading one of my Arrow Books collection. I think I've only read this once. I certainly can't remember it. I'm going away for a few days next week. My daughter is moving away to ..."

Thank you so much for your kind words. I dropped her off today. She seems so happy. I do hope it works out for her. Staying nearby for a few days. Hoping to catch up on some reading.


message 50: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Jenny not only doesn't look like a heroine, but she doesn't act like one, either. No matter how shy she feels she won't let it get in the way of her honesty and determination to do what's right in her own eyes. The little speech she makes to Adam at the end of Chapter 7 cost her a lot of embarrassment, but she felt she had to make it. There won't be any silly misunderstandings in her life if she has anything to say about it - I love her forthrightness.


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