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Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

A Civil Contract Copyright: July 2005
Pages: 320

I enjoyed this book because it was just that little bit different but I can't say I was bowled over by my first Georgette Heyer.

Adam Deveril returns from the Napoleonic Wars to find his father has died, the family fortune has been lost & Fontley, the ancestral home is at risk. Adam must sell the family estate or marry an heiress, so forsaking his sweetheart Julia he marries Jenny Chawleigh, the plain, stout daughter of a wealthy but vulgar merchant.

This is a believable tale, rich in detail but slightly melancholy & far from the usual romance. Heyer takes a very realistic approach to an arranged marriage and saves it from dreariness by interjecting humour and delightful insights into the story. The characters are well developed; practical, kind hearted and patient Jenny, shallow, flighty Julia, spirited Lydia & Jonathan Chawleigh, essentially good-hearted but loud, crude & tasteless.

Adam & Jenny's marriage of convenience; Adam's title for Jenny's fortune culminates in love declared but comes across as comfort, affection and respect... ‘After all life was not made up of moments of exaltation, but of ordinary, everyday things’.

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