February 18, 2011

Retro Friday (2) - Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer

Retro Friday
Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time! 

This week I chose Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer, first published in 1944 this is as vintage as it gets.

Hero
At First Sight: Anthony Verelst, Viscount Sheringham - known as Sherry to his friends - needs to get married if he wants to get his hands on his inheritance but after he's spurned by his childhood friend and much hailed beauty Isabella Milborne, and put in a temper by his mother; Sherry vows to marry the next female he sees. As it happens, that female is Hero Wantage, a girl Sherry has known for many years and who practically worships him.

Thinking that he likes Hero more than he likes any other girl of his acquittance, and since Hero is about to be sent to Bath to work as a governess, Sherry decides to marry her, and takes her off to London with him, involving in the process his three best friends: Gil Ringwood, Ferdy Fakenham and George, Lord Wrotham, all of whom take quickly to Hero - or Kitten as Sherry calls her since he thinks Hero is a nonsensical name for a girl - as the four of them try to keep her out of scrapes and guide her into polite society with mixed results.


Second Glance: I can finally say I've read a Geogette Heyer book! Though I listened to it, really, and I'm glad for it. The language is beautiful and old fashioned, and I loved how the narrator made it roll and flow, and all the voices she used. And the writing is so good that even the insults are fabulous.

It is a very old-fashioned book, but is so very charming this story about Sherry and his Kitten and how they try to navigate high society. Sherry is a good hearted but selfish young man who wasn't at all ready for marriage, but Hero is so selfless and giving and loves him so much that slowly - and even with all the scrapes Hero gets herself into - she starts to change Sherry's fondness toward her into love.

Also, interwoven with this main plot is the story of George and Isabella, as he struggles in his attempts to courtship and she struggles to know her own heart. Gil and Ferdy provide a great note of levity and fun to the story.


Bottom Line: And absolutely delightful little book. Surprisingly funny (I was shaking with laughter many times), I loved it from start to finish and it even made me cry at time or two.

Favorite Quote: "Miss Wantage smiled trustfully up at him, and the Viscount made a discovery. “You look just like a kitten!”
She laughed. “No, do I, Sherry?”
“Yes, you do. I think it’s your silly little nose,” said the Viscount, flicking it with a careless forefinger. “That, or the trick you have of staring at a fellow with your eyes wide open. I think I shall call you Kitten. It suits you better than Hero."
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Alex
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