If you’ve read a couple of Heyer’s books, you know what to expect. You recognise the character types as they appear — the charmingly innocent heroine, the dishonourable but charming villain, the various prototypes for her heroes… Friday’s Child is of the “marriage of convenience” school, in which Lord Sheringham marries a childhood friend, Hero, more or less on a whim to spite his family. She’s loved him all along, of course, while he is monumentally unaware of having any feelings towards any woman, and certainly doesn’t expect to love his wife (though being a noble Heyer male, he will of course do his duty toward her).
As ever, it’s the detail and Heyer’s wit that carry a story that could be formulaic. I both laughed and cried at Friday’s Child, I’ll confess, sometimes at more or less the same scene. Sherry’s friends and their loyalty to him and to Hero are both funny and endearing, pretty much all the time; there’s something very pathetic about Hero’s adoration of Sherry, and the way he treats her (being angry with her for behaving exactly as he’s told her is right), which is funny in some scenes and just terribly sad in others. I forget which friend of mine has noted that Heyer is one of the few writers who can make a rather silly character one you sympathise with and root for, when you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to stand them at all. This is definitely true with pretty much all the characters here.
Ultimately, it’s not a deep novel of great philosophical worth, and it’s not the best of Heyer’s work in terms of originality or flair either. But it’s fun and it made me happy.