Thursday, 24 April 2014

'Friday's Child' by Georgette Heyer (1944)

Synopsis: Anthony Verelst, Viscount Sherringham ("Sherry") is the heir to a considerable fortune that he won't be able to access until he marries or turns 25. Because Sherry has got himself deeply into debt he decides that he needs to get married as soon as possible. He proposes to his beautiful friend Isabella Milborne. Isabella doesn't love Sherry and disapproves of his gambling, spendthrift ways so she naturally rejects him. Sherry is furious. On his way back to London he impulsively vows to marry the first woman he sees. This woman turns out to be none other than Sherry's childhood friend Hero Wantage, a sweet young orphan who has adored Sherry for years. Hero is delighted by Sherry's proposal and the pair soon elope to London to be married. Hero is then introduced to Sherry's three best friends: his two cousins, the dependable Gilbert (Gil) Ringwood and the foppish Ferdinand (Ferdy) Fakenham, and his fiery friend George, Lord Wrotham. These three men soon find themselves having to help Sherry and Hero work out their marriage difficulties. Sherry is completely ignorant about his new responsibilities as a married man and has no intention of changing his reckless ways. Hero has spent all of her life in the countryside and has no idea of how to behave in London high society so she models her behaviour on her husband's. She makes all kinds of indiscretions which threaten her reputation and exasperate Sherry. Sherry's three best friends know that the only way of saving Sherry and Hero's marriage is to intervene.

Apparently Friday's Child was Georgette Heyer's own personal favourite out of her novels. I can't say I agree with her. Friday's Child has some funny moments and some likeable secondary characters but for the most part I found Hero and Sherry's antics annoying and frustrating instead of being amusing and entertaining. I suppose Hero is sweet and kind but she's also passive, silly and dim. Sherry was so immature, insensitive and selfish that I couldn't stand him. He even hits Hero on a few occasions! Sherry and Hero are sooo not my kind of hero and heroine!

If Friday's Child had only been about Sherry and Hero then I think I would have probably hated it. But thankfully Sherry's three best friends were so funny and engaging that they partly redeemed the book for me. I really liked that George got his own romantic subplot with Isabella too. It was was so much more interesting and entertaining than the romance between Sherry and Hero. Because of these secondary characters I do think that Friday's Child is worth a read if you're already a Heyer fan but I wouldn't call it a good introduction to her works.

Rating: 3/5

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