Friday's Child: Georgette Heyer Book Club Part 13

(100 Posts)
DilysPrice Wed 21-Nov-12 16:54:37

I have just finished rereading Friday's Child and I have a confession to make.

My name is Dilys Price and I have a horrible crush on George Wrotham. Like Isabella, his tousled locks and dark stormy beauty have troubled my dreams.

How can this be? I'm a good modern liberal feminist. I've never read Twilight or Shades of Grey. I have scoffed at those of you who have inexplicable feelings for Avon (red high heels? really?). I have recovered from slight wobbliness over Vidal. I can take or leave pretty much any of Heyer's heroes, but George and Isabella reduce me to a gibbering 'shippy wreck rarely seen since my teen Duranny days. If I were Hero then Sherry could whistle for my return - I'd be exploiting George's sensitive and protective nature something rotten (ignoring the unfortunate fact that since neither of them have any money it would be a disastrous match).

In my defence I'm pretty sure that Heyer has given herself licence to go full fledged romantic with George in a way that she never permits herself with her leading men. She originally planned to write a sequel featuring George - which was clearly a stupid idea, since his story has reached an entirely satisfactory conclusion at the end of FC - so I can only conclude that she also felt his rather cliched allure. And, like Darcy, he has the irresistible charm of being horribly, uncontrollably, unashamedly in love with his heroine.

Which brings me to Isabella, who is just brilliant. She's appealingly flawed (but if I were surrounded by men behaving like children, a mother insistent that I marry for rank, and my best mate snogging the man I loved I'd be pretty damn flawed as well) but so brave. Heyer heroines tend to be rebels by nature or just plain crushed. I like the novelty of Isabella, who (like me) is a conformist at heart, but who, when push comes to shove, finds the strength to break decades of training and say "No I don't care if he's a perfect match. I'm just not doing it! I'm going to marry the man I love even if he is broke." It's a Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway moment.

I also love the other minor characters in this one. Ferdy, Gil and Duke are exactly the sort of characters I read Heyer for, and here they are allowed to breathe in the way that the supporting characters in The Corinthian aren't - Friday's Child is a good 50% longer than The Corinthian or Faro's Daughter and the supporting cast really shows the benefit. Jasper Tarleton is possibly my favourite example of Heyer Type 3B - the nice, sensible, competent chap who gets caught up in the madness of a Heyer end-game, and spends his time with hmm grin confused grin shock grin expressions.

Have I forgotten anyone? Ah yes, Sherry <sigh>. He's all very well, but I think Heyer kills him for me with a scene right at the beginning, just after Sherry has had his wizard wheeze.

"...oh Sherry, it wasn't k-kind in you to put it into my mind if you d-didn't really mean it!"
The Viscount patted her shoulder in a perfunctory way, a slightly rueful grin quivering on his lips. Shatter-brained he might be, but the full implication of this artless speech was not lost on him. "Oh, lord!" he said.

It's a great scene, but the implication is that throughout the rest of the book, when Sherry is behaving like a bit of a bastard to Hero and all his friends are trying tactfully to let him know that this is cruel because she is actually in love with him, Sherry is perfectly well aware how much she loves him, and is doing it anyway. Not attractive.

What do you think? Do you also see George's Crush of Shame potential, or should I get a grip? Can you forgive Sherry, or should Hero have lived happily ever after with George/Jasper? Should they have let George kill Revesby at the end? And is this the Best Heyer Ever?

Yes, finish it whilst doing something else like MN so it doesn't annoy you and you can just enjoy it.

I love Reluctant Widow! We are getting into the good ones now.

LeonieDeSainteVire Tue 27-Nov-12 22:22:54

Ok, I finished the play - quite enjoyed it in the end but you can tell the writer doesn't really know GH, when the actors used her words it was fine but then he'd put phrases in their mouths that she hadn't used and it was wrong.

Right at the end, Mr Tarleton says the bit about his knees knocking together (which is a joke) and in the book Hero smiles a bit then goes on with 'It doesn't signify. What must he think when he finds no one in Camden Place . . .' and she's referring to whether they can hide what has happened from Sherry. In the play Tarleton says the knees knocking together bit and Hero bursts in with 'It don't signify' which implies that she doesnt care about Tarleton's feelings which both misses the joke and the meaning of the original and GH doesn't usually have the ladies using the deliberately wrong grammar - don't instead of doesn't- that's a young man's style. seriously over thinking this

I did like Ferdy though, he was brilliant; diffident, mumbling, funny. The only one though.

I really hope the BBC is reading this!

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 27-Nov-12 23:00:10

Julian Rhind-Tutt does loads of radio drama and is always brilliant also v fanciable. I'd happily cast him in pretty much any Heyer - I think he'd be a good Freddy in Cotillion.

LeonieDeSainteVire Wed 28-Nov-12 12:50:57

Oh yes he'd be a perfect Freddy. So do we know if they are doing any more GH plays?

I was just thinking that RA is a very good age for playing Justin now, Leonie ...

LeonieDeSainteVire Wed 28-Nov-12 14:01:05

The right age Horry, but not the right actor IMO, Justin is fairer I think, less obvious, more hidden steel. I see him as Damian Lewis but MrA can play any other of the older GH heroes.

Ah yes, ok. I think DL too bluff though. Justin is just so ... Justinish that nobody is him.

That nice chap Tom someone who was Hal/Henry in the recent Shakespeare history series and is also in War Horse would be a good screen Sherry.

LadyDamerel Wed 28-Nov-12 17:54:48

I thought Justin was dark, he has very black brows in my head, I think because 'Satanas' evokes someone dark and forbidding. Damien Lewis is too much of a pretty boy to be Justin, imho.

I thought Leonie was the one with dark brows? distinctive de S. Vire trait?

That said, 90% of GH's heroines have grey eyes and strong brows. Wonder if GH possessed tweezers...?!

LadyDamerel Wed 28-Nov-12 18:51:17

Duh, just been to check and he does, of course, wear a wig most of the time. Maybe it is Leonie's eyebrows i am thinking of. It's her red hair and dark eyebrows that mark her out as DSV's daughter, isn't it?

Right, a quick peruse says his eyes are hazel, rather unusually for a GH hero.

thewhistler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:23:54

GH and tweezers, surely a reaction to the very plucked eyebrows of the 20s?

How I love this thread..

I love that this book club will discuss historicism and misogynist hegemony and eyebrows and sexy heroes in the same sentence post thread.

LeonieDeSainteVire Wed 28-Nov-12 20:06:26

Eyebrows feature quite often in GH, I've just checked her own out and they appear quite distinctive although I think she was indeed familiar with a pair of tweezers.

In my head Justin is fair but since we know Vidal is very dark maybe I'm dreaming. But as he was heavily powdered the effect would have been pale (and rouged).

He is wearing a powdered wig on the cover of my copy ok the library's, mine is a leather Kindle .

sarahtigh Thu 29-Nov-12 10:11:18

Sherry must be 23 because his inheritance is tied up until he is 25 unless he marries ( he says he can't wait 2 years so he must be roughly 23 ) Hero is 17 so if sherry played with Isabella and hero I would think Isabella is a maximum of 20-21, more likely 19

I totally agree.

LeonieDeSainteVire Tue 04-Dec-12 18:07:16

Yes and I also think that age gap is a little unrealistic. They were meant to be childhood friends but a 14yr old (say) playing with an 8yr old?? confused

LeonieDeSainteVire Tue 04-Dec-12 18:08:45

Sorry I should be clearer, I agree he is 23 and I think GH should have made him younger.

MooncupGoddess Tue 04-Dec-12 18:10:05

To be fair I got the impression that Hero ran around after him offering to pick up his cricket balls, etc, which is realistic enough.

LeonieDeSainteVire Tue 04-Dec-12 22:36:38

Yes I suppose so but the way Sherry refers to the time they glued the pew and going birds nesting together makes them sound more the same age. But I suppose then childhood was a longer less defined period? I mean lasting all the way from leaving the nursery (at what 7, 8?) until entering society at 17+ (richer children only obvs) so maybe all ages mixed more freely. (and thinking about it I watched a group of children on scout camp recently all playing forts happily together ranging from 15 to 9 or so!)

Ok I withdraw my objection. I wish I didn't get hung up on these little details. I've got one bugging me now from April Lady and it's ages till we get there.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Wed 05-Dec-12 12:11:23

These annoyances do spoil things, I agree.

New thread here.

OhMerGerd Sat 08-Dec-12 23:36:01

Just casually flicking thru MN looking for any advice, reading, respite from today's teenage angst and found the GH threads! So excited at the discussion and opinion about my favourite characters ( outside Austen ) I don't know where to start. Since this is a FC thread ( my first GH ) and I am slightly inebriated having sought solace in the bottle after a day dealing with DD's first heartbreak (mothers of DS's today I cursed u all. I am sorry and I know IABU) my contribution for now shall be short on intellectual refinement .
'The Incomparable'........ I will probably go to my grave wishing to hear some non pareil (sp) describe me as such.
Oh I don't care for gorgeous, stunning or sexy.... To be Incomparable beats being a Kitten any day!
Back when I'm sober and found my ormolu clock and canary ....

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Mon 10-Dec-12 13:53:13

OhMer we do love a drunken comment...

Brush off your Reluctant Widow and join us on 14.

Frawli Wed 19-Dec-12 21:18:03

Well I just love FC, it's in my top 3 Heyers (with The Grand Sophy and Frederica). Hero is such a sweet heroine, and there is some wonderful dialogue, mostly featuring Ferdy. I love that drunken note that he leaves when he decides to accompany Sherry to Bath.

I quite like the Incomparable too, love a girl who follows her heart.

It had never occurred to me that Sherry hit Hero, I thought the 'that' that he was referring to was the comment he had just made rather than a wallop :-(

HumphreyCobbler Wed 19-Dec-12 22:11:01

I have just spent a very agreeable hour reading all of your threads. Thank you so much!

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