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Publisher's Summary

Set in the Regency period, this is a classic tale of misunderstood love and an arranged marriage.
©1999 Georgette Heyer; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    409
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Excellent Narration

G. Heyer's novels are always fun but a great deal of their humor and character insight lies in the wording and implications of the text. Ms. Nash's narration hits this spot on and made me enjoy the audio book even more than the text version. She handles voices (both male and female), tone, characterization and interpretation with a fine sense of the author's intent.

Heyer is true to the period and transports us there. This immersion in time is a hallmark of Heyer, contrasting to many contemporary authors who insert 21st century views/mannerisms in historical settings. Ms. Nash delivers this perfectly.

If you enjoy a quiet, believable romance of ordinary problems against a background of extraordinary difficulties, try this book.

32 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

very very good

This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer novels. The author, as usual, creates a host of vivid characters: Lord Linton is a man of integity and duty, his father-in-law is bigger than life (you can love and dislike him at the same time), and Jenny is a wonderfully complex heroine. The romance is entrancing (there is more than one involvement going on); however, the main love story is different from most Heyer novels. Heyer took the time writing this to let a relly good story unfold. I was engrossed throughout the presentatin and did not want to stop even to eat (which means it was REALLY interesting) or to sleep. The reader was perfect for the book. I thought she did a partcularly good job with the Jenny character - her chuckle/laugh was delightful. This is a solid 5 in my opinion.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Brilliantly Acted with a Melodious Voice

I love all Georgette Heyer novels because her heroines are so sassy, smart and inspirational. But this novel went against all form for me with a heroine who was plain, and just wanted to be a good home maker. In spite of that Phylidda Nash is such a brilliant reader, drawing distinct characters with her voice that i just loved listening to the story, and grew to really appreciate the sentiment of a woman who knows her worth and is loved for being herself.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

One of Her Best

This is the story, not of a fairy tale, but of life when perfect love doesn't prevail, but we make do anyway - sometimes quite happily!
Georgette Heyer is a master; her characters especially shine. In "A Civil Contract" she gives us one of her most relatable-to heroines. She also gives us a lot of her customary humor and heart.
It's a great story, and one of the most heart-tugging of Heyer's efforts. As always, there is great historical detail and accuracy. Her works are real Regencies, with adherence to the sensibilities and morals of that society. So, no steamy sex, no modern outrage at the lot of women. Enjoy them for what they are: cracking good historical romances with memorable, funny characters and a great dose of wit.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not your average boy meets girl

This is a great story with a heroine who despite her obscene wealth, is someone Average Jane can relate to. Take your typical love story with beautiful people and true romance, REMOVE the "beautiful" and the "romance", and what you get is surprisingly good stuff. I applaud Georgette Heyer's mix of talented writing and historic facts, and her little nods to Jane Austen are just sweet. The narration is a treat, Ms. Nash's voices are varied, consistent, and especially in the case of the character who was the Ultimate Stage Dad long before Hollywood even existed, hilarious!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M
  • 06-01-08

A Civil Contract

Georgette Heyer's books are wonderful with accurate details of the Regency period and rich with quirky characters. This book is a delightful read and yet not a "silly" book. It is light-hearted and yet just as good literature as a Jane Austen. The herione is not the usual beauty, rather she is dumpy and plain - but you will love her just the same. Not my favorite Georgette Heyer, but enjoyable and very well read - a pleasure to listen.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Great Read

This was my first Georgette Heyer book and I loved it. The narrator caught the characters exceptionally well and the book was entertaining. If you like romantic novels with substance, this book is for you.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

An anti-romance


This book is actually an anti-romance. The main character is in love with a woman other than the one he marries for money. And his wife is well aware of that fact. Nevertheless they form a close and strong relationship that grows to the point that at the end the hero realizes he is with the wife best suited for him. I can't say he grows to love her and ceases to love the woman he did not marry. It is more that he accepts his lot in life and realizes it is actually a very pleasant lot.

I found it a little depressing and sad, although I don't think that was the intent. Marriages such as this were commonplace at the time among this class of individuals and we are told many were very successful. But I had a great deal of sympathy for the wife in this one. The narration was very good.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fabulous Georgette

The heroine is plain but the story is a wonderful concoction of some Georgette's very best: a hero who is - truly - a gentleman, his delightful sister, an ironically hilarious mother, and a 'cit' we grow to love -- all with a little history and a lot of humour and wisdom thrown in. Mix that with one of the best readers ever and you have a book you can listen to again and again. Enjoy. Then enjoy it again. Five HUGE stars.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sad

I love Georgette Heyer's Romances. I'm working my through them all. This one made me sad. It's as well written and narrated as the rest, but more cynical.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Stephanie
  • 02-28-09

This one grows on you

Like the other reviewers, this used not to be one of my favorite Heyers. Its main theme, that comfort and friendship rather than passion is what lasts in a relationship, sits oddly amongst Heyer's more traditional swashbuckling romances. However I find that as I get older I warm to A Civil Contract and have become rather fond of the prosiac heroine. Definitely worth a go.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MaDr8y
  • 01-06-09

Beautifully read

The story is, admittedly, not one of the most sparkling from Georgette Heyer, but the reading could not be bettered. I have loved Georgette Heyer's books since I was a schoolgirl, but found this one a bit hard to 'plough through' - listening to Phyllida Law, I had no difficulty at all in enjoying what is quite a long listen. Oh, for her to also do 'The Grand Sophy', 'The Spanish Bride' or 'These Old Shades' which have remained my favourites for decades - and for Audible to make them available, please.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Maggie
  • 05-17-14

A bit out of the common way...

Any additional comments?

No Heyer aficionado can deny there's often a common theme to her books, but this one is different. It's more thoughtful. The comedy element is always there somewhere, this time supplied by the wonderful Jonathan Chawleigh, with his escaping turtles, useless peacocks and helpful plans to carpet a medieval staircase. Phyllida Nash nails the lot, from Adam himself to Mr Chawleigh. I think my favourite characters are Lydia and Brough, but it doesn't matter because they are all there, faithfully brought to life. Nash is fast becoming one of my favourite Heyer narrators

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • AReader
  • 08-11-12

Delightful

Beautifully read by Phyllida Nash. Other reviewers find the story insufficiently romantic, and I can see what they mean, but it is a wonderful listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mrs. REP
  • 07-10-10

A wonderful listen.

This is a bit different to most of Georgette Heyer's other books, but it's still a lovely story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Reginald pelle
  • 05-16-15

Excellent!

Issues of property, assets and titles; as well as finding true love and romance, all wrapped up in this amazing drama. Worth a listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 07-14-14

One of my favourite "comfortable" reads

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you have a liking for Regency romance then I would certainly recommend this. Georgette Heyer creates a good story along with accurate details of life at the time. I have read the book several times and it is a pleasure to have it read to me - especially by Phyllida Nash who creates the right atmosphere and uses just the right intonations to make all the characters believable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jenny Chawleigh is my favourite character if one has to be chosen. She bears a lot of indignity and disappointment with stoicism and common sense where some would have had tears and tantrums.

Have you listened to any of Phyllida Nash’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have listened to several performances by Phyliida Nash and she never disappoints me.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is one of my favourite reads (or "listens") when I am looking for an easygoing story which does not require too much reaction from me except just real pleasure in a gentle plot that nevertheless has several twists of fate and fortune before the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lucy
  • 04-08-13

Not the most romantic of romances but...

This is an unusual book in that it really isn't particularly romantic but is still an excellent romance in a more prosaic manner than many of Georgette Heyer's other books. The narration is excellent - plenty of variety and each character is easily and instantly recognisable, Phyllida Nash does a great job. It helped me travel many miles on the bus as well as wash up!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fiona
  • 12-06-07

Not one of her best I feel

I remember reading this book ages ago, and while I enjoyed the audio version I am still of the opinion that the main female character is too annoyingly mild (doormat springs to mind) for the story to be in anyway endearing. I want 'romance' in my romances. Not 'oh she'll do 'cause she's comfy'. While it may be true in real life, it makes for limp listening.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-12-17

Beautiful predictable hokum!

Loved it! This was beautifully read and just what is needed to lift you out of the trials and tribulations of modern life. It is written well and evokes the period and surroundings with clarity.

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  • Ros H.
  • 05-03-17

Different to most of the Usual Heyerdahl books

I quite liked the fact that this is not just a young beauty falling in love and marrying an earl book. The main female character is actually plain and straight foreword lady. And the chap is a Lord whose father has spent the family fortune.
This book does drag a bit, but still a great story.
I'm not a huge Phylllida Nash fan, I find her voice for different characters is not great.
But overall a good listen

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  • Jane
  • 02-03-17

A Lucky Escape

Our sympathies are with the new Lord Linton forced by imminent financial disaster to renounce the love of his life and enter a marriage of convenience to the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Georgette Heyer explores the differences between the classes through this engaging story of two people who find themselves navigating the difficulties which beset them as they try to find a way to make their marriage a success. Set against a background of Bonaparte's escape from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo this is a story with tremendous reading pleasure and a delight to listen to.