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Literature / Friday's Child

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Friday's Child is a 1944 historical romance novel by Georgette Heyer. It's considered one of her best works, and was reportedly her own favourite book.

Viscount Sheringham is running out of money, and can only touch most of his inheritance if he marries. After his proposal is rejected by the woman he loves, he decides to propose to the first woman he meets. This turns out to be Hero Wantage, who has been in love with him for years.

Contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: George is a clear parody of the Byronic Hero archetype, and his relationship with Isabella a clear parody of the dramatic Slap-Slap-Kiss romance that is not uncommonly paired with said archetype. Both of those have been lovingly written by Georgette Heyer herself.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Isabella rejects Sherry—a rake with a bad gambling habit—because he's not bad enough for her tastes. In fact, she's thinking of George, a parody of a brooding Byronic Hero with the same bad habits as Sherry but with a quick temper on top, when she does so, and has a rather tempestuous relationship with him.
  • Beta Couple: George and Isabella.
  • The Bro Code: Essentially the reason why Sherry throws a fit at the idea of George and Hero having an affair - that, and he's in love with Hero, of course.
  • Byronic Hero: Invoked and parodied - George would love to be this, acts like a stereotypical one, and the narrative and his friends both poke fun at him for being so wildly dramatic.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Victorious Hero.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hero, Ferdy.
  • Coming of Age Story: Sherry, Hero to an extent.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Isabella.
  • Duel to the Death: George is constantly spoiling for one. He gets his wish when Sherry catches him giving Hero a brotherly kiss, but neither of them dies.
  • Friendless Background: Hero seems to have only had two friends in her life prior to marrying Sherry, one of whom was him, the other being Isabella, and neither of them seem to have paid her much attention.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sherry's mother, affronted when her son orders her to deliver an heirloom emerald necklace to Hero, sarcastically asks if he wants her to give her the pearl set and diamond stud as well. Sherry says that yes, in fact, he would, leaving his stupefied mother with the realization that she played herself.
  • The Ingenue: Hero.
  • Kick the Dog: Revesby, first when he rejects his discarded mistress and illegitimate infant daughter and second when he arranges for Hero to get into debt.
  • Lovable Coward: Ferdy, whom Sherry can't even stay angry with when he finds out Ferdy hid his wife from him for weeks because Ferdy is so shamelessly trying to placate him.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Isabella. While she is rich, haughty, and runs hot-and-cold, most of her unpleasant moments are also her most sympathetic, and she can be a genuinely good friend to Sherry and Hero when not spurred by pique.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Both Sherry and George court Isabella Milborne (along with many other men). Sherry marries Hero, who is in love with him. Hero and George find comfort in each other because they think (wrongly) that their loves are unrequited. This makes Isabella think that George is in love with Hero, and fall into a scrape with Sir Montagu Revesby. Meanwhile, Hero is courted by Mr Tarleton, which makes Sherry fall into another jealous rage.
  • Love Epiphany:
    • When Hero runs away, Sherry has this. In fact, the whole thing was staged so he could have this.
    • Isabella has hers when visiting Severn, the man her mother wants her to marry, realizing that while George might be a poor political match she would go crazy without him.
  • Marry for Love: Isabella eventually cracks and admits that this is what she wants.
  • Masquerade Ball: Hero gets into trouble at one of these as a result of Sherry ditching her.
  • Meet Cute: While it is not their first-ever meeting, the first time Sherry and Hero meet in the book is when Sherry accidentally comes across Hero crying on a wall and proposes marriage.
  • No Sympathy: Played for Laughs. This is Sherry's usual reaction to George's passionate dramatics regarding Isabella. Of special note is when George declares he would grind Isabella's rose under his heel if he believed she gave it to him to spite another suitor, and Sherry just tells him not to ruin his new carpet.
  • Reformed Rakes: Part of Sherry's Character Development.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Sherry elopes with Hero in the first few chapters.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Hero, who is often remarked upon as being 'taking', once she comes out in town. This may have more to do with being happily in love with her husband, though.
  • Shrinking Violet: Hero.
  • Tsundere: Isabella.
  • The Un-Favourite: Hero is this to her family, which is why she wants to run away with Sherry.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Tarleton believes that Hero is a runaway orphan seeking to elope with a rich, loving man to escape the fate of being a governess. He's actually completely right about that, except for the small detail that she's already in love and married, so while he thinks he's going to be the one to sweep her off her feet Cinderella-style, Sherry already has. He also comes to the incorrect conclusion that Sherry is a Stalker with a Crush who Hero wants to be protected from.