Georgette Heyer Fans discussion

141 views
The Books > A civil Contract

Comments Showing 1-50 of 138 (138 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Denman Hi, i`ve just found you so I`m unaware of what other discussions you`ve had. I have loved and read and reread Georgette heyer for years and my favourite book has changed. To be honest I do not believe I could give a single favourite I would have to give half a dozen. Having said that A civil contract always gives me a lot of satisfaction when I read it, as I feel a lot of the book is more honest and like real life than many of her other books. I like the success of the ugly duckling over Miss spoilt and beautiful, althought I do sympathise with Julia`s position.
I am not saying I prefer a work of fiction to be like real life, because we often read for the pleasure of a break from life, but i do like some of the "reality" in a Civil Contract.


message 2: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments A Civil Contract is one of my favorites; I agree that it is one of the most realistic and honest of her novels, and although I love the frothy and frilly ones, too, there is something about this one that just touches my heart!


message 3: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Denman Thats the same as me. I think for me its because 9 out of 10 of us are not stunning like Julia, so the under dog/ woman appeals.


message 4: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments That's it! I don't identify with Julia at all, and she's not someone I want to emulate. I sympathise with her somewhat, especially when she tells her husband that she must be loved, but I would find her very wearing as a friend! Now, Jenny, on the other hand, is the friend we all want to be and want to have!


message 5: by Caragh (new)

Caragh | 3 comments There's so much about Jenny's boring dad to skim, though. I find him very tiresome. I wish Jenny had a sense of humor, too. I wonder where this book falls in the order of how she wrote them. It feels sort of experimental to me, like she wanted to try something new and different.
Caragh


message 6: by Karlyne (last edited Jan 20, 2011 01:24PM) (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Oh, you're right, Caragh, her dad was very tiresome; that's partly what makes Jenny so admirable. The fact that not only did she not smother him one night in his sleep, but instead actually loved and respected him while still seeing him exactly as he was in all of his annoying glory is something that I find truly sweet.
Jenny's lack of humor is something that can be hard to take, but then I remember how much fun I have at my humor-challenged, naive friends' expense. They're not always sure why I'm laughing at them, but they're agreeable just as Jenny is. It is true, though, that my very best friend and I spend just about all of our time together laughing; a shared sense of humor is important.
I think Heyer did indeed try to invent heroines that were different from each other. Not all of them are beautiful or intelligent (although I think that intelligence is one of her favorite characteristics in a heroine) or even sympathetic. She even varied the beautiful ones in their beauty; some were tall, some short, some dark, some fair. I suppose when you've written so many books, it has to get very difficult to make them stand out as individuals. I think she did a pretty good job, though. The fact that I can remember Jenny's name is a good indication!


message 7: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments This is one of my favourites - it's so realistic. I love Mr Chawleigh, who stops just short of caricature, and the growing respect between him and Adam; and I love to watch Adam's increasing realisation that actually, Jenny suits him much better than Julia would have.


message 8: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 480 comments I liked Mr. Chawleigh, too--and evidently Adam's family also did, since Adam's sister even called him "Papa Chawleigh." She and her mother were properly impressed when he fixed a doorknob for them.


message 9: by Barbara (last edited Feb 17, 2014 09:15PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Yes I was kind of surprised to read a comment above calling Papa Chawleigh boring and even calling ACC experimental. I find him and the book, the opposite of this. I think Mr C's character is extremely well realised , as Jenny ( Jenny group member , not Jenny character that is!) says, just short of parody so as to keep him real but funny. And his changing relationship to Jenny and Adam is very nicely wrought. As is the one with Lydia; she is to 'Papa Chawleigh',as Jenny rather wistfully says "the kind of daughter he would have liked". Though she is sensible enough to recognise that nevertheless, her father truly loves her both for her own sake and her dead mother's.


message 10: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments I think having to stand up to Mr. Chawleigh would definitely get tiresome, but Lydia didn't have to, Adam gave him the respect he deserved as his father-in-law, and Jenny did indeed love him. He reminds me of Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility. A lovely woman but she could make you tired!


message 11: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenma) | 29 comments I like Mr. Chawleigh also. I really liked the scene with Mr. Chawleigh after Adam wins money from betting that Wellington will win at Waterloo. Adam immediately goes to pay the money back but has come to know Mr. Chawleigh and realises it will hurt his feelings and proposes instead to invest the money somehow (I do not remember the details). I found it very touching.


message 12: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 480 comments Barbara and Jenny, "just short of parody so as to keep him real but funny"? Sounds Dickensian! And, Karlyne, yes, definitely reminiscent of Mrs. Jennings--but Mrs. Floore (Bath Tangle?) is even more so!


message 13: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Helen wrote: "I like Mr. Chawleigh also. I really liked the scene with Mr. Chawleigh after Adam wins money from betting that Wellington will win at Waterloo. Adam immediately goes to pay the money back but has..."

Adam really does grow up, doesn't he? For the first time, he thinks about Mr. Chawleigh's feelings instead of his own. It is sweet!


message 14: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Mary wrote: "Barbara and Jenny, "just short of parody so as to keep him real but funny"? Sounds Dickensian! And, Karlyne, yes, definitely reminiscent of Mrs. Jennings--but Mrs. Floore (Bath Tangle?) is even m..."

I forgot about Mrs. Floore!


message 15: by Barbara (last edited Mar 03, 2014 09:36PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments I adore Mrs Floore - and I want to see her and Mr Chawleigh and Mrs Scorrier (from Venetia) meet .


message 16: by HJ (new)

HJ | 948 comments Mrs Scorrier is just aawful! I bet GH enjoyed writing about someone so over the top.


message 17: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Mrs. Scorrier just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I'm shivering.


message 18: by Jenny (last edited Mar 29, 2014 05:50PM) (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments I love to see the relationship between Lydia and Mr Chawleigh - she brings out the best in him, doesn't she? As a young dependent female she can accept his generosity without being humiliated by it and he has an outlet for his impulses that he needn't restrain (other than through what is due to propriety, eg Lydia not being able to attend balls because of not being out).
It's like watching a dog in the park being let off its lead!


message 19: by Barbara (last edited Mar 04, 2014 07:23PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Yes he is a loving father and Jenny is his beloved daughter , who will forever put him in mind of his even more beloved dead wife. But Lydia is fun! I think her character makes a nice link for Jenny and Adam's stuffy family to come closer.
He is an instrument in Adam's maturing too, don't you think? When all the anxiety about the baby surfaces, angry though Adam gets at his interference, he comes to understand what an utter loss his widowhood has been to him and perhaps for the first time, begins to think he could lose Jenny and what that might mean. Theoretically, if Jenny dies, Adam would not only get all her money wouldn't he, but be free to marry some highborn narcissist like whatshername, Julia. But there is no hint that he is thinking like that.


message 20: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments Adam certainly isn't thinking like that - by this time he's beginning to realise how much Jenny means to him, too. But Mr C thinks of it, doesn't he - when he's in a rage he threatens Adam with what he'll do if Jenny dies, to make sure he doesn't benefit from Jenny's money.


message 21: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments And the fact that Adam doesn't hold Mr. Chawleigh's anger against him shows how very much Adam has grown up and become epathetic!


message 22: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments And, thinking about Adam's stuffy family, about 90% of their snobbiness comes from his mother, doesn't it?


message 23: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 480 comments I don't remember how Mr. Chawleigh is described physically, but I envision him as someone who could be played by Victor McLaglen or the actor who plays Inspector Wexford on Mystery. What do you think?


message 24: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments I see him as rather a John Bull type!


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Don't laugh, but I just pictured John Goodman as Mr. Chawleigh. It could work!


message 26: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 541 comments I think this is the best suggestion yet. Looks like Goodman has the right build.


message 27: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Yes, John Goodman! Now a young Helena Bonham Carter would have been good for Lydia don't you think?


message 28: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments She would have made a great Lydia! Let's see, Jenny ... It's way harder to find a not-beautiful, normal, shortish girl in Hollywood... Still thinking.


message 29: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 541 comments I think you'd do better to look outside of Hollywood for that. Since you want an English actress anyway, flip through the casts of the British period dramas.


message 30: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Karlyne wrote: "She would have made a great Lydia! Let's see, Jenny ... It's way harder to find a not-beautiful, normal, shortish girl in Hollywood... Still thinking."

How about Jennifer Jason Leigh? She was very good as a similar character in Washington Square (the unattractive daughter courted for her money)...


message 31: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Karlyne wrote: "Mary wrote: "Barbara and Jenny, "just short of parody so as to keep him real but funny"? Sounds Dickensian! And, Karlyne, yes, definitely reminiscent of Mrs. Jennings--but Mrs. Floore (Bath Tangl..."

That made me really LOL! What an epic battle that would be!!


message 32: by Barbara (last edited Jun 20, 2014 09:01PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Margaret wrote: "I think this is the best suggestion yet. Looks like Goodman has the right build."

I have just been thinking , how about Ray Winstone for Mr Chawleigh ? Certainly not a parodic figure, and he could do the anger and fear well , and is a such a good actor, could easily do the rest I think .


message 33: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments I had to look him up, Barbara, and I'm afraid that I've never seen him act! But from his filmography, it looks like he could do the anger and fear.


message 34: by Barbara (last edited Jun 20, 2014 09:17PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments He's very British Karlyne - Cockney really , but well able to do other accents and while Mr Chawleigh was a Londoner , I don't see him with an actual Cockney accent do you? I think the late Mrs C would have eliminated that, firmly but gently .
Watch him in anything , probably the Australian made and wonderful The Proposition is his best to my mind , but not - I repeat not - his Henry 8th. Very misguided.


message 35: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments No, I never hear Mr. Chawleigh as Cockney. I think he's too careful, for all his roughness, to sound intelligent, if not book-educated certainly shrewd and financially knowledgeable. And Mrs. C would have sanded off the rough edges, most certainly!


message 36: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Karlyne wrote: "No, I never hear Mr. Chawleigh as Cockney. I think he's too careful, for all his roughness, to sound intelligent, if not book-educated certainly shrewd and financially knowledgeable. And Mrs. C wou..."
Mr. Chawleigh's origins are never given but his wife was a farmer's daughter and Jenny had a lady's education. I like his china collection about which he knows little but likes instinctively. He is not really as simple a character as it first appears -- and to be s prospective alderman in London is not a small accomplishment,


message 37: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Jacquie wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "No, I never hear Mr. Chawleigh as Cockney. I think he's too careful, for all his roughness, to sound intelligent, if not book-educated certainly shrewd and financially knowledgeable..."

I'm with Lydia; I think I'd like him, too!


message 38: by Barbara (last edited Jun 21, 2014 08:59PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments I just want to say here that Cockney is basically an accent , a working class London accent yes, (within the sound of Bow Bells and all that) Not, as seems to have been maybe inferred, stupid or thuggish or totally uneducated or really rough. I only was referring to the accent really when I started this little sub-thread .


message 39: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments Yes, Mr Chawleigh would definitely have had a London accent, though not necessarily 'Cockney', which as Barbara points out, refers to a particular part of London.

Although the English upper classes - probably through the influence of the public schools - are likely to have had a regionless upper-class accent for quite some time, it's only in the last generation that local accents have begun to disappear from the middle classes. My father was the first of his family to speak Received Pronunciation, though I think he probably spoke Norwich as a child; his uncle was a lawyer, much in demand as a speaker at family functions and he spoke beautiful Norwich.

There's no question that in the C19th both Mr and Mrs Chawleigh would have spoken with their local accent, London in his case (wasn't she from somewhere else? I forget)and no-one would think the worse of them for it. Jenny, at her school for young ladies, though, would have been taught to speak an upper-class accent.

I have to say, though, that Mr Chawleigh's speech as written comes across as more Northern to me! I always hear him speaking Yorkshire in my head and I suspect he did in GH's too.


message 40: by Barbara (last edited Jun 29, 2014 12:03AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Yes Jenny , I imagine Northern too, for some reason , though I think it's said he is a Londoner .

I have this little fantasy backstory that Mrs C, as young maiden from the country was sent by her prosperous farming parents to a genteel school in the city/suburbs . (Not as select a school as Jenny was later to go to of course!) During her holidays she used to visit an aunt , or maybe a second cousin , who had among their acquaintance a young man, with no immediate family left of his own, doing rather well in a bank/shipping agent , having shown great promise with figures even as a boy. Young Mr C became quickly enamoured and , well, the rest is history ..


message 41: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments I've just been re-reading ACC to see if I can see why Mr C sounds Northern - and it's because he says 'Nay' and 'Aye' and 'lass'!
I'm not sure that in grammar (apart from double negatives) and vocabulary, London speech is very easy to convey in writing, especially to a modern readership who would think Mr C was a barrow-boy.
The only way would be to make him drop his aitches, say 'f' for 'th' and, as used to be the case but isn't now, 'w' for 'v' and vice versa, eg "I fink 'e's werry vell".
But that would be terribly tedious to read in a major character who has a lot to say for himself, so you can see why GH didn't bother!


message 42: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Mr. Chawleigh's origin isn't given but his wife came from Shropshire (Jenny's meeting with Adam's aunt) -- northwest on the Welsh border. It would make sense that he came from the same area and wound up in London as an India merchant dealing in tea to begin with (his first meeting with Adam).


message 43: by Jenny (last edited Jun 28, 2014 02:55PM) (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments I'm sure Jenny says her mother was of rural origin even though her father was urban, though. I'll have to check. But come to think of it, her maid was from Shropshire, wasn't she - it was a bond she had with the Fontley housekeeper.


message 44: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments chJenny's maid and the housekeeper did come from the same ares but the county was not named. Mr.Chawleigh was town bred but the town was not named. It could well have been London. One wonders though how he became acquainted with his Mary!
I wonder if we should have some prequels as well as sequels


message 45: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments Jacquie wrote: "chJenny's maid and the housekeeper did come from the same ares but the county was not named. Mr.Chawleigh was town bred but the town was not named. It could well have been London. One wonders th..."

Well, I fancy I know how, see my message 40 above ..


message 46: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments Yes, I've checked, both servants are from Shropshire - Martha was born near Church Stretton and in front of the rest of the staff the two of them put up 'a solid Salopian front'.

So far, though, looking out for clues about Mr C I've only seen that he was 'born in a back slum' (which could have been any large town) and can't understand why anyone would want to live anywhere but London, which may or may not mean he was a native.


message 47: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Another way ACC is different from GH's other Regency novels is that not only do the main characters marry but obviously have sex-- though not in the detail of many more recent books! Also there is quite a lot about Jenny's pregnancy and the birth of her son.
I love the way the book ends on such a companionable domestic note too.


message 48: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 730 comments Yes, I love the way that's handled so delicately between the couple in the coach after the wedding. He says "Don't be afraid - I won't do anything you don't like" and she says, after a decent pause so it's not too obvious, "I should like to have children and the sooner the better. But that's for you to say". They obviously both know exactly what's on the other's mind and are trying to clear the air without actually saying it (I wonder how motherless, town-bred Jenny knew the facts of life? I bet Martha told her, or maybe even Lady Oversley had a quiet word).

Julia, on the other hand, just as obviously cherished quite other ideas, didn't she! When her mother tells her Jenny is 'increasing' and that was 'only to be expected', she is gobsmacked: "I think I must be very stupid". She was obviously supposing Adam was somehow still being faithful to her.


message 49: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 435 comments So true, a perfect picture of Julia's naiveté and narcissism, that she thought Adam would marry and yet actually remain celibate for her sake. Indeed very stupid. And in complete contrast to Jenny and her sensible, yet delicate - just the word, Jenny (our Jenny that is) managing of the of the marital relations discussion.

Adam too, though it has just occurred to me - you don't think he had some notion of romantic celibacy for idiot Julia's sake do you ? I always assumed he was just being delicate too.....


message 50: by HJ (new)

HJ | 948 comments Barbara wrote: "Adam too, though it has just occurred to me - you don't think he had some notion of romantic celibacy for idiot Julia's sake do you ? I always assumed he was just being delicate too..... ..."

I suspect that it was more that he was still feeling so wounded and upset, and really didn't find Jenny attractive, that he'd have been happy to wait a while before consummating the marriage. So, more of a disinclination rather than a positive notion or intention.


« previous 1 3
back to top