A Civil Contract (Heyer novel)

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First edition cover, with art by Arthur Barbosa[1], depicting a nobleman's country estate.

A Civil Contract is a novel by Georgette Heyer about a nobleman who becomes guardian to three younger siblings and inherits a bankrupt estate. Forced by debt to break his long-standing betrothal to a beautiful noblewoman, he allows the lady's father to introduce him to a wealthy merchant who aspires to a noble husband for his quietly practical daughter. With full awareness by all parties, the arranged marriage is quickly accomplished. How will the new couple fare when their lives continue to intersect with that of the husband's erstwhile fiancée?

The nobleman is named Adam Deveril, Viscount Lynton. His former fiancée is Julia Oversley, and Jennifer Chawleigh is the well-educated but non-noble woman he marries. First published in 1961, A Civil Contract is estimated to take place in 1814-1815[2]. An ebook of this novel can be borrowed via OverDrive[3][4].


  1. Read about the cover artist in the Arthur Barbosa article on Wikipedia.
  2. Heyer Novel Chronology on georgette-heyer.com, a website which grew out of an earlier Heyer list-serv. This page attempts to use clues from within the novels to determine the year in which the fictional events are set.
  3. OverDrive is a service that makes ebooks available to public libraries and to individuals; to use it, a logon account is needed (available through many libraries), or you can make a (free) account there for yourself.
  4. A Civil Contract borrowable ebook at OverDrive.