Friday, April 23, 2010

A Civil Contract

I had no clue about ‘A Civil Contract’ when I took it from the library. I was shocked to find a completely different treat awaiting me. It was not the customary elopements or falling in love matters but the convenient marriage axiom where the relationship follows the fulfillment of a bargain on both the sides. Heyer spins the tale with the parody of Adam on the brink of financial ruin with only a handsome face to recommend be paired opposite the unsightly but moneyed Jennifer. Adam who is head over ears in love with Julia marries jenny in anticipation of straightening out his pitiful circumstances.
The convenience marriage discomfits Adam in the early days where his father-in-law persists on showering them with extravagant gifts. But a few days time suffices to explicate the aptness of his decision and soon learns to enjoy jenny’s company. Jenny is levelheaded and sympathizes with her situation being only too palpable to give her any anticipation for a love match. The way Julia faints at the house party would have unnerved any woman, but she deals the situation with tact. She dons the role of a caring mother, an ideal wife and a pleasing daughter. She doesn’t cringe away from the thought that Adam would never love her the way he does Julia, but she secures his affection and confidence. Adam may hold his heart for Julia, but those little pleasures, he would share only with his wife. She beguiles in proffering happiness around her family as if there is no tomorrow. A Civil Contract is more of a divergence from smooth sailing lifestyles. It brings to our notice some of life’s practicalities and how we should look at it. Contract is a tranquil and matured novel that teaches values like love and sacrifice and every minute of your read benefits you.
I first thought this book was a mistake. But when I began composing this review, I realized the specialty of it and I decided not to resist multiplicity. Heyer continues to give a variety in the story she weaves.
 A marriage of convenience can at times be the best suited during hardships despite the melancholy it could possibly create.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Penhallow Cover
Cross-posted from BookLust.

Penhallow, by Georgette Heyer, was my choice for this month's Classics Circuit.  When I heard that Heyer was this month's choice, I literally squealed with excitement as she is one of my favorite authors.  I love to read her for when I am in the mood for a light, happy and fun story.

Penhallow is not light, happy or fun.  It was a very difficult book for me to read and, much as it pains me to say it... I did not enjoy it.  I think it was well written, but the story was hard for me to connect to.  (On a side note, this is one of the reasons I no longer give ratings to books on my blog- how do you rate a well-written book with a storyline you disliked?)

Penhallow takes place in the English countryside, like all Heyer's mysteries.  Adam Penhallow is a horrible autocratic man who keeps his many children (legitimate and illegitimate) close to him, ruling every aspect of their lives with an iron will.  They are all terrified of him, and they all hate each other.  Their lives revolve around horses, getting into massive arguments with one another (and their spouses, significant others, the maids, etc.), sponging off their father, and generally hating their lives.

The murder mystery is a little different than the usual fare because the murder doesn't occur until 2/3rds of the way through the book, and the readers know who did it and why.  The remainder of the story is the fallout from this murder and how it affects everyone's future.