on March 9, 2004
I read my first "regency romance" from Ms. Heyer at the age of 13, and a few decades later still go back to my favourites. This story is definately one of them.
For anyone who isn't already a fan of Georgette Heyer's largest group of books, this wonderful lady, writing in early and mid 20th-century England, produced a glorious collection of romances set in Regency England,(while all the time despising these best-selling books that took her away from the straight historical books she really wanted to write, but wrote more slowly.) (Oh yes, she also wrote some pretty good murder mysteries too, but this isn't one of them.)
Her many fans are really pleased she did have these economic needs, because we find her romantic novels enjoyable again and again, and don't care about a few (paltry) flaws.
Georgette Heyer's romances stand out from all others, to me anyway, because of the great sense of humour and wit that makes all of the books great fun, the easy to read style that never becomes banal, and plots which, although always happy-ending and sometimes rather similar, are never, ever, boring. If you like romances that are well-written, without taking themselves too seriously, and you're happy to know the right guy will always get the (sometimes wrong, but always feisty, and never insipid) heroine, try her books. You'll likely get hooked, and then be delighted to find there's plenty more (though not always in print).
I probably call this book 'gentle' because the hero isn't apparently hateful, or offensive or caustic, just very likeable and somewhat thoughtless. There is one truly bad guy, whose inner wickedness is revealed gradually, and that anyone familiar with Heyer's books will pleasantly anticipate eventually getting his due, and there's an unpleasant (and very silly) mother-in-law, but this book has much less black/white stereotyping than some of Ms.Heyer's other books.
What keeps me enjoying "Friday's Child" again and again is the broad range of characters included in the tale. With the hero's three friends, all very clearly different, playing their own parts in the twists and turns of the plot and general misunderstandings, plus various relatives contributing their own little cameos, there's plenty of variety in the story. After reading this book I always feel that I've met (or meet again) a nice assortment of different characters, none of them perfect, but most very likeable, with a few wonderfully unlikeable for contrast.
Like all of Georgette Heyer's Regency stories you get a great (and well-researched) trip back into Society life during the Regency period, but this typically-Heyer gem gives you more. There's the wonderful range of characters you are shown, plus more enjoyment of the of the secondary personalities . In this picture of Regency England you learn more than the all-important niceties of "good ton" and "NOT good ton", you are introduced to some varied aspects of society. The nobility you meet include the honest and the phony, the noble-but-nasty and the basically-decent, the thoughtful and impulsive, sensible and silly, and you also glimpse characters from the rest of society, living in a version of England that's very different from that of the main protagonists.
All in all, this is another glorious read from the much loved Georgette Heyer. If you've read her other books, be prepared for some delightful hours, and if this is a more mellow read than some, with a bit less life-and-death drama, the pleasure is no less, with lots of fun and variety, and if you roughly guess the ending (pure Heyer) there's a load of very believable ups-and-downs before you get there. If you are new to this author, (and you don't despise happy endings), you're in for much fun.