Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (1946)
Huzzah! Found another Heyer romance at the library this week; what luck. So while I watch Mil at Fla (Cubs are in rain delay) I'm gonna share a bit. I think Friday's Child was even funnier than The Grand Sophy BUT I also think you need to have some familiarity with Regency England to really enjoy the book. Anywho, Lord Sheringham, or Sherry, is ready for his inheritance and he won't get it until he's 25 or married. Married can be accomplished more quickly than 25 so he decides to propose to his lifelong friend and acknowledged darling of the season. Unfortunately for him, she's got other plans so he leaves her house in a huff determined to propose to the next woman he sees. This turns out to be Hero (shit you not, Hero!) Wantage, another old friend. I'd like to say he whisked her away to a romantic wedding in London but it's more accurate to say he decided she'd always gone along with his schemes in the past and so he convinced her to snuggle down in his gig and go with him.
I'll admit, I didn't immediately get into this story. At first, I was like, what the hell kind of weirdass romance is this? Then I got it, got into it and, while I still think it's a bit of a weirdass romance, it's great. In addition to the slow start, I think it's too long. (I realize I say this a lot and maybe I'm more in to brevity than most but I think so many books could be improved with the removal of a few pages.) But those are small quibbles and the story is so dang funny I don't even care. It's really a comedy of manners because Hero has no idea how to get on in "good society" when she's in London. But there's a new twist on this in that Sherry, her only mentor in this, is having his own problems sorting out proper behavior and watching these two young people stumble along until they get to the right decisions makes for some hilarious situations.
I think my absolute favorite bit is how Sherry and his friends turn Hero into another one of their bachelor pals. Sherry has two very good friends who immediately befriend Hero as well. Actually, I also quite like the true friendship displayed between everyone. They're not perfect friends, and one of them is extremely presumptuous at times, but they are true friends who care for each other and want the best for each other. Absolutely wonderful examples of friendship. But anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the friends adopt Hero easily and she pretty much spends all of her time hanging out with three single guys. I say three because Sherry, though extremely protective of Hero, has pretty much taken her in as a roommate and for most of the book doesn't seem to understand she's a woman much less his wife.
So here we have four friends with sizable incomes and nothing but time on their hands. I think you can see the innumerable roads to mischief available to them. Couple this with the ridiculous social mores of the time and there is so much funny waiting to happen.
As an example of one of the many funny scenes here are our two hapless protags having a fight after Hero very innocently pointed out Sherry's "fancy-piece" at the opera. (quote condensed)
Sherry: ..."No doubt you asked him if he had an opera-dancer too!"
"Yes, and he said--"
"What?" thundered the Viscount.
"He said he had not," ended Hero simply.
The Viscount appeared to have some difficulty in getting his breath. "Hero!" he uttered at last. "Have you no sense of propriety?"
But in the midst of all the crazy feaux pas and funny moments there's a very sweet love story unfolding that kept me turning pages as much as anything else. And it was so worth it because one of the funniest scenes of all is on the very last page.
rating: 4 of 5 stars