This Heyer novel was published in 1944 and as it’s a particularly lively and humorous one, I expect it provided her wartime readers with some welcome escapism. It’s still an entertaining read in the twenty-first century too and although it hasn’t become a favourite, I did enjoy it.
“Friday’s child is loving and giving” says the famous rhyme and that is how the heroine of the novel, seventeen-year-old Hero Wantage, is described by her friends. As an orphan treated as a poor relation in her cousin’s household, Hero’s marriage prospects are not good and she is facing a future as a governess when she receives a surprise proposal from her childhood friend, Lord Sheringham. Hero is under no illusions that Sheringham – or Sherry, as he is known – is actually in love with her; she knows that he needs to marry in order to receive his inheritance and that he has already been rejected by the beautiful Isabella Milborne. It will be a marriage of convenience only, but even this is so much more than Hero could ever have hoped for that she has no hesitation in accepting.
Hero may be young and naïve, but Sherry is only a few years older and no more mature. He has no intention of changing his lifestyle just because he now has a wife, so he continues his reckless spending, gambling and womanising without considering the bad example he is setting for Hero. I don’t think it’s spoiling too much to say that Sherry does gradually come to love and appreciate his wife, but not without a lot of misunderstandings and ‘getting into scrapes’ along the way! And when he does eventually admit to himself how he really feels about Hero, will he have left it so late that he risks losing her to another man?
Although the relationship between Hero and Sherry is at the heart of the novel, with both characters slowly developing and maturing as time goes by, there is also a secondary romance which involves Isabella Milborne (known as the Incomparable) and George, Lord Wrotham, a passionate, hot-headed young man who is always ready to fight a duel. George, along with Gil Ringwood and Ferdy Fakenham, forms Sherry’s little circle of friends – and they become Hero’s friends too, providing most of the humour in the book as they give her some dubious guidance in the social etiquette of Regency London and try to help her out of the disastrous situations she finds herself in.
Friday’s Child has just about everything you would expect from a Heyer novel: duels, card games, gambling, balls and parties, elopements and attempted elopements. It reminded me of two of her other books, The Convenient Marriage and April Lady, which also have storylines revolving around a newly married couple learning to love each other. Although I enjoyed this book much more than April Lady, The Convenient Marriage is my favourite of the three, mainly because I preferred the hero in that one, the Earl of Rule. I do tend to prefer her older, wiser heroes rather than the young, irresponsible ones like Sherry. I also thought this book felt slightly longer than it really needed to be and the constant misunderstandings became a bit repetitive towards the end.
There are other Heyer novels that I’ve liked better than this one, then, but her books are always a lot of fun to read and this is no exception. There are plenty of funny moments, usually involving Sherry’s three friends (I particularly loved the hilarious Ferdy). I have The Corinthian, An Infamous Army and Faro’s Daughter to choose from for my next Heyer. If you have read them, which one would you recommend I read first?
21 thoughts on “Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer”
Hooray for Heyer! I’d go for The Corinthian next.
I’m definitely leaning towards The Corinthian at the moment.
I have a bit of a soft spot for Friday’s Child since it is the first Heyer I ever read. I agree with Liz in the previous comment and would read The Corinthian next. An Infamous Army is fascinating but very different. It has a ton of information about the battle of Waterloo. Heyer researched it to an incredible degree. I read that it was so accurate that it was used as a set text at Sandhurst. So it is not a light and fluffy read but it is good and reintroduces some characters from previous books.
I think the first book we read by an author does often hold a special place in our heart. My first Heyer was The Talisman Ring. I think I probably will read The Corinthian next – An Infamous Army does sound interesting, but I’ll save it until I’m in the right mood for it.
Of the three you have mentioned, definitely read Faro’s Daughter next. An Infamous Army is historical fiction, emphasis on historical, as is The Spanish Bride; I am sure you will want to read it some time, but it isn’t like her pleasant fictionals. The Corinthian isn’t bad, but I found it harder to like than some of Heyer’s, and the beginning is definitely slow, even for Heyer, whose gentle pace precedes a great many of the things that make our present world so fast-moving. Faro’s Daughter had a heroine whom I liked quite a lot, and with whom I was able to identify emotionally, despite our life circumstances being entirely different.
An Infamous Army sounds intriguing and I do want to read it, but I struggled to get into The Spanish Bride so if it’s similar I think I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind for it. I’m torn between Faro’s Daughter and The Corinthian, so I think I’ll just have to read both! I’m looking forward to meeting the heroine of Faro’s Daughter.
You make me want to read this again. I found it quite endearing, and could use some comfort reading right now!
Hm, which of those three – if you’re in the mood for Waterloo and historical accuracy, An Infamous Army; I don’t have strong memories of the other two, but know I enjoyed them as good entries in the Regency category. Take your pick at whim, I’d say.
Heyer’s books are always perfect when you need a comfort read. 🙂 I’m drawn more to The Corinthian and Faro’s Daughter than An Infamous Army at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll read all three eventually.
I’m pretty sure The Corinthian is the only one I’ve read of those three and to be honest all her books tend to mprph into one delightful marshmallow cushion for me, with only a couple of exceptions standing out. The Corinthian clearly isn’t one of the exceptions, but I’m sure I enjoyed it…
Yes, most of them are quite similar really, aren’t they? I have almost decided on The Corinthian for my next Heyer so at least it doesn’t stand out to you as a particularly bad one!
The Convenient Marriage is the Heyer book I really want to read next, but this is a close second. I’m putting them both on my summer reading list! 😀
I really enjoyed The Convenient Marriage…it’s such a funny book! This one is good too, so you have a great summer of reading ahead of you. 🙂
I enjoyed Friday’s Child a while ago and also Faro’s Daughter. I also have An Infamous Army to read, this one seems to be a favourite with lots of readers. I’ll get around to it soon I hope.
I’m glad you enjoyed Faro’s Daughter as I should be reading that one soon. An Infamous Army sounds interesting, but not quite as appealing to me as some of her others.
Friday’s Child was one of the few Heyer novels that I did not fully enjoy; primary because I had no patience with Sherry but A Convenient Marriage is one of my all time favorites, I think you may enjoy The Corinthian!
I didn’t have much patience for Sherry either…he’s definitely not one of my favourite Heyer heroes! I’m glad you think I’ll enjoy The Corinthian. I think that will probably be the one I read next.
I like The Convenient Marriage, too, but Friday’s Child is one of my favorites because everyone is so silly. I liked both The Corinthian and Faro’s Daughter much better than An Infamous Army.
It is a silly book, though in a good way! I think I’m going to read both The Corinthian and Faro’s Daughter before I read An Infamous Army.
When I was younger, I liked her more romantic books, like The Devil’s Cub, best, but now that I’m older, I like the silly ones best.
I have read “Fridays Child” at least once a year for the past + 40 years.
Its innocence, naivety and humour is the very very best that one could read.
I have read and collected every one of Georgette Heyers books but Fridays Child surpasses the lot!
I have requested that I be buried with this book just incase there is an afterlife.
I did really enjoy this one, although there are some of Heyer’s other books that I loved more. I still have some of her books left to read for the first time before I start re-reading!