A VERY untypical Heyer romance. More of an unromance that turns back on itself at the end. Adam Deveril has just succeeded to his title only to find that that’s about all he’ll be able to retain. His father had intended to restore the family fortunes but seemed to go completely the wrong way about it. Now, everything must be sold including the family seat and he must break it off with his love, Julia, as it would be wrong to hold her to their understanding when he has nothing but himself to offer her.
Luckily, for the family anyway, Julia’s father has a plan to rescue the Deverils but it requires a grand sacrifice on Adam’s part.
A fascinating look at Regency values of both the nobility and the Cits along with a peek inside at the modern conveniences of the day. It’s also an absorbing look at “modern” farming practice for the time.
You’ll love the characters and their interactions. The gentle and unwillingly grateful Adam finds his accommodation with his vulgar, bragging father-in-law who has the soul for beauty while his sister, Lydia, is my favorite with her willingness to enjoy every situation. Adam is lucky in his friend, Brough, as well for his easy acceptance and willing support while Lady Lynton’s character will leave you with your head shaking in amazement. Jenny. Jenny is both loser and winner in this bit of business as she walks the tightrope between her father and Adam. Heyer, as ever, writes realistic dialog while providing an accurate view on the times.
The 1961 cover for this hardcover feels all too accurate with its dreamy depiction of Fontley Priory in a foggy fens; I much prefer it to the version depicted here. As accurate as the title, Civil Contract as Adam has made a contract with Chawleigh for his daughter in a civil effort to save his family background.