Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Civil Contract review

A Civil Contract


On the heels of Devil's Club, this book is different in tone, characterization, and pacing. It is Jane Austen like and actually three of Austen novels are referred in the book. The set up is also akin to an Austen novel where there is a poor family and marriage as a way out of that. There are some really amusing supporting characters as well which is reminiscent of Austen. Unlike Austen, the protagonist is a Viscount in need of a rich wife.

This book is about a subtle romance or rather should I say, it's about two people getting to know each other in a marriage of convenience. It was fascinating to watch two generally good young people enter in a marriage of convenience and grow accustomed to one another. I just can't think of many stories where that happens and of course, it's no as prevalent as today so modern stories don't really feature this kind of theme. Though this kind of contrivance and the novel's love triangle remind me a lot of Korean dramas.

The narration kept referring to how plain, homelely and down right unpretty Jenny the female lead was. She could not have been that bad and honestly, one can overlook that sort of thing readily, but I guess it is a accurate to that society that they cared so much for her looks and mien. Still, she couldn't have been that ugly, I'm surprised Heyer didn't give her some redeeming physical feature other than her smile.

In any case, I don't think people expecting passionate romance like that of Devil's Club will be pleased with this novel. It's more serious, historically rooted (set at the time of Waterloo) and real. The dialogue and the conflict felt very real between the characters at times. A Civil Contract was published in 1961 some thirty years after Devil's Club so the author herself had matured.

I liked this novel. It was more slow paced, but it was still interesting. I grew fond of the characters; they were all realistically flawed, but good people. I also like unconventional romances so this was right up my alley. I was impressed with the range Heyer showed in both these novels and it has made me a fan. I am now going to go through the rest of her novels.

First reviewed Aquatique. I've read a couple of Heyer books since reading A Civil Contract, but it remains one of my favourite Heyer novels so far.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Devil's Club review by Athena

Hi everyone! This is my first post on the blog. I have wanted to read Georgette Heyer for a few years and recently started and really like her style. I post at Aquatique and all my book reviews feature there first.

Now for the book review...

Devil's Club


This is my first Georgette Heyer novel. I have been curious about Heyer for awhile now. Since I started blogging about books a few years ago, her name kept coming up on the blogosphere. It was inevitable especially since I adore Jane Austen's novels. Austen and Heyer are not exactly the same of course. Heyer is detailed and must elucidate on historical details such as fashion and dress.

I don't really read a lot of romance books or whatever is considered typical romantic novels now. I do read some chicklit, but not a lot. The premise of this story is classic good girl 'tames' bad boy. I found the book a bit slow to like. There was a little too much showing how rakish (almost sociopathic) Vidal was at the beginning. The whole premise of him kidnapping Mary makes them both look ridiculous. I found his initial threats to her distasteful; it's not very romantic to me how they began their relationship.

When the leads started bantering, it got better. The book became even more addictive and engaging once they reached Paris (isn't that usually the case?). Heyer is very good at pacing. There were many characters in this book and many misunderstandings. It was a comedy of errors almost. There was a lot of dramatic irony for the reader and made it a page turner.

I only wish we had more of the two protagonists and their time together, but still, it was a good escapist, light read. I have another Heyer after this which I am looking forward to as well.