Sometime after Friday’s Child was first published, Georgette Heyer received a letter from a woman in Romania who had been held as a political prisoner for more than twelve years. The woman wrote how she had been able to save her own sanity, and that of her fellow inmates, by telling and re-telling the story of Friday’s Child though the course of those twelve long years of imprisonment. From the day she read that letter, Friday’s Child became Heyer’s favorite among all of her novels. Though she was able to support herself and her family with her writing, Heyer never thought her romance novels were particularly important in the scheme of things, until she learned how much her story had meant to those women imprisoned in Romania.
Today, romance author, Vonnie Hughes, shares her views on the delightful tale of a young couple who marry for all the wrong reasons, but grow up and learn to love and respect one another over the course of the story. This is not a typical Regency romance, which may explain why it was so popular with those women in that Romanian prison.
Of course, visitors are encouraged to share their thoughts on this Heyer Regency romance in comments to the article.
* * *
Friday’s Child is said to be Georgette Heyer’s favorite of all the Regency era novels she wrote. Lord Sheringham, known as Sherry, has been rejected by the beautiful Isabella and vows to marry the first woman he sees. This turns out to be Hero Wantage, a socially inept orphan, whom he has known since childhood. Sherry regards her as someone to be molded to his way of life, a blank slate on which he can write. She knows nothing of the social world he lives in but sees him as a paragon, and does her best to behave as she thinks Sherry expects her to, often with hilarious results.
Needless to say, some of Sherry’s behaviour is hardly a good model for an impressionable, inexperienced young woman, barely out of the nursery. Sherry discovers that it’s hard work, being an example, and Hero finds out that her beau ideal has feet of clay. Both of them struggle to come to terms with the shibboleths of marriage, especially when a villain named Sir Montagu Revesby enters the stage. But by the end of the book, Sherry comes to understand just how selfish he is and how important his new wife is to him.
Sherry is one of Heyer’s beta heroes. He is not aggressive and his morals are all over the place, but he does have a core set of values that the reader can admire. It is a satisfactory novel in that the protagonists are well suited and their unconventional love is sincere. And Sherry finally comprehends that although Hero might not be as up-to-snuff as the sought-after Isabella, and although she keeps him on his toes, she is far more precious to him than the conflicted, demanding beauty could ever be.