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Group Reads > A Civil Contract Group Read September 2019 Chapters 14-27

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

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
So how are you finding this book so far?


message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Holmes | 21 comments A Civil Contract is one of my favourite Heyer books. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I think that Jonathan Chawleigh is the best of her comic characters and never fails to make me smile.


message 3: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me of the Chawleighs. I can only hope that Heather grows up as well as Jenny!


message 4: by Rebecca (last edited Aug 31, 2019 08:29PM) (new)

Rebecca (mamanyt) | 124 comments I'm going to be a very few days late getting started. I'm down to the last two of my cozy mystery series that I've been binging on, but at the rate I read, I'll start "A Civil Contract" by Tuesday, and finish it before Dorian knocks my lights out!

LOL, it may be a week or two before I can tell you if I like it!


message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne Atkinson | 3 comments A Civil Contract is also one of my favourite books. The characters are so real to life and so likeable as well . Comic characters as well with Mt Chawleigh and Lydia top of the list and wonderful descriptions of the terrible makeover of the town house and its furnishings. And the nail biting end as Adam risks everything is so well portrayed, truly one of her best books. A very satisfying read.


message 6: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Rebecca wrote: "I'm going to be a very few days late getting started. I'm down to the last two of my cozy mystery series that I've been binging on, but at the rate I read, I'll start "A Civil Contract" by Tuesday,..."

Oh, Rebecca, I am sorry - be safe! I’m in the Piedmont region of N.C. so we usually only get outside bands of wind and rain, but last time it spawned tornadoes, lots of trees down, etc. Take care of yourself! I know Eastern N.C. is still recovering from the last hurricane.


message 7: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Anne wrote: "A Civil Contract is also one of my favourite books. The characters are so real to life and so likeable as well . Comic characters as well with Mt Chawleigh and Lydia top of the list and wonderful d..."

Agree with all your points - that’s why this is a favorite of mine! Of course, The Foundling is another favorite, so I guess I just enjoy the ones where Heyer turns the conventions upside down - since she created many of them, she does it very well!


message 8: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me of the Chawleighs. I can only hope that Heather grows up as well as Jenny!"

She does! I love Sam and Heather- so glad Thirkell eventually (view spoiler) Thanks for reminding me of one of my other favorite authors- I’m finally almost at the end of the Barsetshire books, need to dig out the used one I ordered to complete my set. Lovely way to bid farewell to summer, with a visit to Jenny and her papa and the Barsetshire crowd!


message 9: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "A Civil Contract is also one of my favourite books. The characters are so real to life and so likeable as well . Comic characters as well with Mt Chawleigh and Lydia top of the list and wonderful d..."

I agree! The characters are all imperfect and realistic, and that makes the story very believable. Unusual for a Heyer book, but there are quite a few unusual Heyer books, and they usually tend to be my fav ones.


message 10: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Yes!


message 11: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments Not many Heyer fans love The Foundling, Susan, but I'm with you! I like the lower-class characters, and all the shenanigans are hilarious! Plus I tend to prefer the beta heroes. Glad you called it out.


message 12: by Susan in NC (last edited Sep 01, 2019 07:43AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Well, I’m also very fond of the hero - my son is one of those smart, cute shorter men who often get overlooked, so he pulls at my heartstrings! Plus, (view spoiler)

I don’t know if that’s really spoilers, but don’t want to risk it!


message 13: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
That brings up a good question - what 'type' of hero is Adam, really? In the Heyer Heroes: Types, Similarities and Disparities thread, I put him in

the mature, wise, considerate type
along with
Sir Gareth (Sprig Muslin)
Gervase (The Quiet Gentleman)
Waldo (The Nonesuch)
Ashley (Charity Girl)
Charles (An Infamous Army)
Richard (The Corinthian)

although he does not really fit, does he? Those other heroes were very kind, and had great senses of humour, both of which I don't see very much of in Adam. He is even sometimes thoughtless and uncaring, and his sense of humour is restricted by his pride.


message 14: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments My sense is that by this time in her career, Heyer was taking pleasure in defeating readers' expectations about certain types--sometimes to the detriment of the story. Adam, for me, is a very weak, inconsistent character--selfish or upright, rude or civil, sentimental or down-to-earth, as the scene requires. He doesn't fit into a type, but he doesn't seem like a very real person either.


message 15: by Sheila (in LA) (new)

Sheila (in LA) (sheila_in_la) | 341 comments Abigail wrote: "My sense is that by this time in her career, Heyer was taking pleasure in defeating readers' expectations about certain types--sometimes to the detriment of the story. Adam, for me, is a very weak,..."

Adam is also, to me, a somewhat unsympathetic character. On the positive side, I think he is motivated by a sense of duty to his family, to his lineage--he's not personally greedy. I respect that he's serious about farming! Heyer is presenting the emotional reality of the situation for him--he's not in love with his wife. I'm trying to keep this in mind while I read, and be open to what she's trying to do.


message 16: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments Yes, he's a very unsympathetic character for me, too. My attitudes were a bit like his in my youth and have spent decades running away from those assumptions! I am very unforgiving of characters with my own faults.

Is anyone else hearing little echoes of Sense and Sensibility? Jenny and Julia as Elinor and Marianne types, the humiliations of genteel poverty, the snobbery of the wealthy, the difficulties of reading true character.


message 17: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
I see Elinor as similar to Jenny, but I always thought of Marianne as a sympathetic character - I like her - and I do not like Julia.


message 18: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me of the Chawleighs. I can only hope that Heather grows up..."

Oh, hooray! I need to order the next half dozen Barsetshires... Let's see, it's a bit early for Christmas presents to me, but I know I can think of a good reason/excuse. 😁


message 19: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me of the Chawleighs. I can only hope t..."

Go for it! 🤣


message 20: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
I'm very close to the finish (spent most of the day in bed yesterday) I did find the start a bit slow this time. But when it gets going - for me powerful stuff. I'm enjoying seeing Adam & Jenny's relationship (view spoiler)


message 21: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me of the Chawleighs. I..."

Permission! Yay!😂


message 22: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who both remind me ..."

Lol! Oh, no, am I enabling bad habits?!


message 23: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I just finished Angela Thirkell's 1945 novel, The Headmistress, and there are a father and daughter in it who..."

I don't actually need any encouragement...😁


message 24: by Belinda (new)

Belinda | 220 comments Hello. Just a drop in comment here . Julia’s father accuses her of being very emotional and living ‘in alt’. If you search for the meaning of that phrase it’s very hard to find other than its Latin derivative is high. I notice Georgette uses it in a few of her books. The common meaning of ‘alt’ today is musical or an abbreviation of ‘alternate’.


message 25: by Barb in Maryland (new)

Barb in Maryland | 647 comments Belinda wrote: "Hello. Just a drop in comment here . Julia’s father accuses her of being very emotional and living ‘in alt’. If you search for the meaning of that phrase it’s very hard to find other than its Latin..."

Heyer uses the phrase in several ways. Here, Julia's dad is accusing her of being a 'drama queen'. In other books a young debutante might be described as being 'in alt' over the attentions of a certain suitor; meaning 'walking on air'. I can usually figure out what GH means by the context.


message 26: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments I've seen "in alt" in poetry (but don't ask me where). I always think of it as a derivative of "alt"itude, meaning high, in heaven, sometimes blissful. Until, of course, the crash back down to earth. Ouch.


message 27: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
I always took it to mean 'walking on clouds' - euphoric, but not really long-lasting.


message 28: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Just as Karlyne posted!


message 29: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments I very much enjoyed the evolution of Adam's feelings towards Mr. Chawleigh--especially in Chapter 13 when he pictures his mother confronted by the unstoppable tidal wave of Mr Chawleigh determined to take young Miss Lydia to London for the Peace Celebrations. Adam's laughter is clearly mixed with a growing respect or perhaps awe for the force of nature that is his new father-in-law.


message 30: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments Lydia's description of the encounter had me in stitches: "Adam, he rolled Mama out like pastry! There was never anything like it! Though I must own that the lobsters helped."


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

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
I love Lydia!

Anyone else wince when both Rockhill & The Conquest are described as (view spoiler)


message 32: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments lol! As for me, I think those old folks are looking younger every year ;)


message 33: by Hana (last edited Sep 03, 2019 11:19AM) (new)

Hana | 652 comments Despite the laughs I think Chapter 14 is the point where A Civil Contract takes a very serious turn. With Jenny's (view spoiler)


message 34: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Lydia is wonderful, and especially shines when (view spoiler)


message 35: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Have finished it and while definitely not a favorite, or one I expect to reread often, if at all, it has its moments.

Adam's evolving maturity really pulls the story along, although without much passion. Certainly helps convince the reader that any marriage between Adam and Julia would have been disastrous. I could not help thinking about some of the misalliances in married couples seen in Austen...the sober man and the shallow drama queen wife. Her repeated description of Julia having an excess of sensibility... Austen influence for sure.

But it fails to fire the sympathies of the reader. Both Adam and Jenny are too ordinary. Julia too unsympathetic. The side romances are too perfectly fitting to excite much interest.

Indeed it is all too civil.


message 36: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Abigail wrote: " Is anyone else hearing little echoes of Sense and Sensibility? Jenny and Julia as Elinor and Marianne types, the humiliations of genteel poverty, the snobbery of the wealthy, the difficulties of reading true character.
.."


Absolutely! Also Julia is constantly described as having an excess of sensibility...and Jenny with sense. There are definitely comparisons to be made.


message 37: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
Very good points! & jenny is an Austen fan!


message 38: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Karlyne wrote: "I've seen "in alt" in poetry (but don't ask me where). I always think of it as a derivative of "alt"itude, meaning high, in heaven, sometimes blissful. Until, of course, the crash back down to eart..."

I always read it as some type of 'high'...removed from reality, in a fantasy. Walking on air and oblivious.


message 39: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Hana wrote: "Lydia's description of the encounter had me in stitches: "Adam, he rolled Mama out like pastry! There was never anything like it! Though I must own that the lobsters helped.""

Truly a brilliant visual description!


message 40: by Theresa (last edited Sep 02, 2019 01:52PM) (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Hana wrote: "Despite the laughs I think Chapter 14 is the point where A Civil Contract takes a very serious turn. With Jenny's "

Excellent points. (view spoiler)


message 41: by Hana (last edited Sep 02, 2019 02:18PM) (new)

Hana | 652 comments Critterbee❇ wrote: "Lydia is wonderful, and especially shines when [spoilers removed]" Ah! That is one of my favorite moments!


message 42: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments One of my all-time favorite quotes: "Sacrifice Lydia could appreciate; a smiling sacrifice was much harder to recognize, and much harder indeed to understand."


message 43: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments We start to get an inkling of just how honorable Adam is when he forgot Julia and her way of making everything about herself in his concern for Jenny, "who was his wife and he was responsible for her well-being". He doesn't let feelings get in the way of acting with compassion, and, well, that's certainly a type of love, a very decent type.


message 44: by Hana (last edited Sep 04, 2019 02:08PM) (new)

Hana | 652 comments Karlyne wrote: "We start to get an inkling of just how honorable Adam is when he forgot Julia and her way of making everything about herself in his concern for Jenny, "who was his wife and he was responsible for h..."

Yes! I also think that Julia is starting to fade in his consciousness. It probably helps Adam that he is trained and war-tested as a soldier and officer. Military training tends to teach one to focus on the job of the moment, not to dwell on past errors or tragedy but to act, centered clearly in the present. And for officers, there is always the sense of responsibility that is part of command. Adam is starting to use his "transferable skills" in a whole new context :)


message 45: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 108 comments Hana wrote: "Adam is starting to use his "transferable skills" in a whole new context ."

Look at you using those contemporary buzz words!


message 46: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments LOL Every now and then (as seldom as possible) I tune into the modern world :D


message 47: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Hana wrote: "LOL Every now and then (as seldom as possible) I tune into the modern world :D"

Well, you can be my official interpreter then, Hana. Although I must admit with some pride that I set up both the local channels on our TV via internet the other day, and today I set up my new laptop. Yes, yes, I am taking a bow!


message 48: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments Wow, you're doing a great impersonation of a modern person, Karlyne! ;-)


message 49: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Abigail wrote: "Wow, you're doing a great impersonation of a modern person, Karlyne! ;-)"

And I didn't even have a 12 year old to help me! However, I have to confess I have one on stand-by...


message 50: by Julie (new)

Julie | 174 comments I enjoyed Julia’s conversation with Rockhill, in Ch 17, about the ruined chapel: both funny and revealing, her disappointment that Adam referred to it as somewhere to play hide-and-seek, and her worry that Jenny was altering him to be more like her, more prosaic. She failed to recognise this was a trait they shared! This, and Julia’s dismay at his farming activities, shows again how ill-suited she and Adam would have been.

She didn’t know or understand Adam the way Jenny does. Julia’s a romantic, she loved the idea of being in love more than the man himself. Rockhill knew this, calling it her “fairy story” in discussion with Jenny.


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