Romantic fiction can be heart fluttering, exhilarating, and sublime. And for me, nothing works better than a clean romance- no steamy sex & no dirty talk- just good old romance, a.k.a. Regency Romance.
Admittedly, prior to reading Friday’s Child I had no idea that the genre Regency Romance was created by Georgette Heyer. Ms. Heyer made the Regency period her own, writing her first Regency Romance novel, The Black Moth, at the tender age of fifteen. Published in 1921, The Black Moth was followed by over fifty novels, which comprised mostly of Regency Romances and a few Thrillers. Being an avid Jane Austen fan, an admirer of Regency literature, and a digger for clean romances, I was delighted to stumble upon Ms. Heyer’s collection of Regency Romances. Deciding which novel of hers to read first was quite a task with Heyer fans recommending Frederica, Venetia, and The Grand Sophy. But I, ignoring suggestions from ardent Heyer fans, decided to make Friday’s Child my first Georgette Heyer novel- the novel that she herself considered as her favourite. Yes, I chose to read Friday’s Child as it was Georgette Heyer’s personal favourite. And I am very happy to say that Ms. Heyer’s favourite has now become my favourite as well.
Title: Friday’s Child
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Arrow Books
Publishing Date: July 2004, First published in 1944
Genre: Regency Romance
Friday’s Child begins with a young, handsome Lord Sheringham (Sherry), Anthony Verelst, down upon one knee attempting to propose his most beautiful childhood friend, Miss Isabella Milborne, a.k.a. the Incomparable. But, Miss Milborne rejects Lord Sheringham because of two reasons, one, she knows Sherry doesn’t love her (doesn’t care a button!), and two, for his unsteadiness of character as Lord Sheringham is known to be a libertine and a gamester. Moreover, Bella comes to know straight from Sherry that he is great debt and to claim his inheritance he either will have to wait till he turns 25 (he is 23 at present) or he will have to marry. This revelation acts as fuel to a fire making the Incomparable detest Sherry. Thus, spurned by Miss Milborne and in devilish need of money, Anthony vows to marry the first female that comes across his way. And who should he meet, but, his childhood friend, the naïve, kind, and unsophisticated Hero Wantage, who has loved him all his life.
Sherry marries Hero (nicknaming her Kitten), but, tells her that after their wedding they will never interfere in each other’s matters. The naïve Hero agrees to this and is more than happy to be married to the man she always had a partiality for. Sherry is also happy thinking that marriage will not cause him to change his lifestyle. But, little does he know, that his naïve wife who has no worldly knowledge would be soon getting into one scrape after other and Sherry would be compelled to school her, scold her, and rescue her. When finally, Sherry feels that he can’t handle his wife anymore, he decides to send her to his mother, who he believes can help her become a mature woman. But, before that could happen, Hero leaves Sherry without telling him where she is going. It is then that Lord Sheringham realizes a startling truth- He has fallen in love with his wife and would leave no stone unturned to get her back.
From its very first page Friday’s Child showed great promise. Before I had even turned to page 2, I was hooked to the novel by Ms. Heyer’s splendid, witty, and amusing writing style. Prior to reading the book, I had some inkling that the story was amusing and contained several humorous occasions. I am glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. The book is filled with lots of amusing and witty dialogue, amusing happenstance, amusing incidents, and amusing paragraphs. And Ms. Heyer’s writing is awesome to say the least. What great writing! While reading the book, I had actually stopped every now and then just to re-read a bit of dialogue or some paragraph to admire the author’s excellent writing.
The plot is interesting comprising of many interesting and amusing incidents. But, what makes this novel really striking is the cast of characters. Never have I grown so fond of so defected a cast of characters. Sherry starts out as immature and wild, but also, kind-hearted and generous. Although, after he is married, he continues with his gaming activities, he does stop being a libertine. It is wonderful to see that by the end of the book, Sherry grows into a sensible man and a loving husband who accepts all his faults and strives to establish a proper married life. Hero Wantage begins as a really naïve and unsophisticated woman. She is the ‘Friday’s Child’ meaning ‘loving and giving’. However, we see that she has potential to become as strong woman in future as though, she obeys Sherry and bears his tantrums, she doesn’t cower when she knows she is right. Throughout the book we see her trying to become better and try to do what is right according to her husband. By the end of the book, she grows into a strong woman. Adding great flavour to our main protagonists are our supporting cast- Sherry’s group of three friends- Lord George Wrotham (who is madly in love with Miss Milborne), Honourable Ferdy Fakenham (Sherry’s cousin), and Mr. Gilbert Ringwood- and Miss Milborne and Mr Tarleton (who is quickly falling in love with Hero). I liked the Incomparable and Mr.Tarleton, but, I exceedingly loved Sherry’s group of friends, who are amusing, kind, helpful, and go out of way to assist Hero in her plight and make Sherry realize his love for his wife.
Friday’s Child is one of the most romantic novels I have ever read. At first, readers wouldn’t find any romance in the story, as Sherry is unaware of his love for his wife and both, husband and wife, treat and live together only as great friends. But, as the story progresses, love blossoms in Sherry’s heart, though, he doesn’t realize it. I can’t explain how much I loved the last 100 pages, where we see how deeply Sherry has fallen in love with his wife and the great lengths he is willing to go to find her (when she leaves) and start afresh with her. I also love the fact how the story emphasizes the importance of inner beauty, rather than, outer beauty as Sherry says: “Why, God save the mark, she (Bella) may be a beauty, but give me my Kitten!”……”What’s more, no man who had lived with Kitten would look twice at the Beauty!”
Friday’s Child has become one of my favourite novels of all time. It is a delightful read that is sure to enthral any Regency Romance fans.