After being turned down by the Incomparable Isabella, the young Lord Sherington needs to take action. It isn't so much that he's heartbroken (because he isn't, despite the fact that the Incomparable is, well, Incomparable and every eligible young man of means (and some without) have been throwing themselves at her feet all season) -- it's that if he doesn't marry, he can't take control of his fortune until his twenty-fifth birthday. And he needs to deal with his gambling debts now.
So, when he finds his childhood friend Hero crying on a rock wall, trying to decide between two unbearable futures (becoming a governess or marrying the local curate), he quickly decides on a plan of action: and before either of them stops to think -- Hero because she's loved Sherry forever though he's never seen her as anything but the little girl next door, or Sherry, just because he's an ass -- they've run off to London and got married.
Sherry had planned to go on living his life as he had been -- this is, after all, a marriage of convenience. But due to Hero's lack of experience in society and Sherry's neglect, his young wife gets into one difficult situation after another. Sherry begins to understand that life may never be the same -- but will he realize that he doesn't want it to be?
I had to look up that old Monday's Child rhyme to find the meaning of Friday's Child. (All I could remember previously was that Saturday was something about work.) The title is, of course, totally fitting -- the line is "Friday's child is loving and giving".
I loved this one. My poor co-workers can attest to the fact that it made me laugh out loud, because they not only had to put up with my giggling self during multiple lunch breaks, but they had to put up with me reading passages aloud. Whether they wanted to hear them or not. Like this one:
'Look at it which way you like, it don't make sense. For one thing, a hero ain't a female, and for another it ain't a name. At least,' he added cautiously, 'it ain't one I've ever heard of. Ten to one you've made one of your muffs, Sherry!'
'Oh no, I truly am called Hero!' the lady assured him. 'It's out of Shakespeare.'
'Oh, out of Shakespeare, is it?' said Ferdy. 'That accounts for my not having heard it before!'
'You're out of Shakespeare too,' said Hero, helping herself liberally from a dish of green peas.
'I am?' Ferdy exclaimed, much struck.
'Yes, in the Tempest, I think.'
'Well, if that don't beat all!' Ferdy said, looking around at his friends. 'She says I'm out of Shakespeare! Must tell my father that. Shouldn't think he knows.'
'Yes, and now I come to think of it, Sherry's out of Shakespeare too,' said Hero, smiling warmly upon her spouse.
'No, I'm not,' replied the Viscount, refusing to be dragged into these deep waters. 'Named after my grandfather.'
Like I said, I loved this one. Seeing Sherry grow from a selfish (if likable) ass into a worried mother hen into a loving husband would have been pleasure enough, but Hero herself was also a joy -- she's an innocent, and she's certainly starry-eyed when it comes to Sherry, but she's never insipid. She does have a temper. And she does have an inner strength. She's someone who the others can't help but love and feel protective of, and I felt the same way about her. While a lot of the book made me laugh out loud, there were other bits that had me so enraged with Sherry that I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
I do tend to get a bit involved.
Along with the writing, the storyline, the pacing (except for the situation that wrapped everything up -- that all seemed a bit too over-the-top and rushed considering the rest of the book), the secondary characters -- especially Sherry's stable of friends -- are also wonderful. I wish Heyer had written books about them as well.
The Alastair Trilogy
1. These Old Shades
2. The Devil's Cub
3. An Infamous Army -- The characters in Regency Buck are major players in this one, but Regency Buck comes first. I read them out of order, sadly.
Connected to The Alastair Trilogy: