Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friday's Child

Hmmm. So I can't seem to get the name of this book right. I keep calling it Friday's Girl. Even when I'm looking at the cover. And that's the name I submitted to The Classics Circuit apparently. Oops. I'm actually reviewing Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer.

If you're a Heyer fan I would turn away now.

I hate to bash a book I read because of The Classics Circuit, and I don't want to cause others to turn away from the rest of the Circuit, so please view my review as just that - MY review. Others seem to be enjoying her, and you might too.

But I didn't. At all. I actually couldn't even force myself to finish it. I tried again tonight to actually finish it before I wrote the review because I didn't think it was fair to bash it when I haven't even read the whole thing. But I just can't take any more.

I hated everything about this book. Her writing. Her language. Her characters. Her lack of any sort of interesting plot. And the fact that she's constantly promoted as some sort of second coming of Jane Austen. How can anyone who has actually read Jane Austen say that?!?! That's completely asinine. She writes about the same time period, and that's the end of the similarities. Her writing style is dreadful. Dreadful! And her language just seems like she's trying to hard. She's billed as being historically detailed, but I feel like she just tried to cram as many random words from the time into each sentence as possible, to the point of being unreadable. (From dreadfulness, not from lack of understanding of the words) And she also uses a lot of words that I've never seen in any books actually from that time period, such as "ton." You see that in every romance novel set in the Regency period, but I've yet to come across it in an actual authentic book of the times. You do frequently see "Beau Monde" though, which means the same thing, or even the full French phrase "le bon ton" but never just "ton". That just seems odd to me, like they're trying to trick readers into thinking they're using words of time period when maybe they aren't and they're just trying to hard.
On to the characters. I read a 129 pages and still would forget who Sherry was. Sherry was the main character. How is it even possible to forget that, especially more than once?!?! I sometimes forgot twice in one sitting! I kept up with War and Peace in a bad translation, so I know that wasn't just poor reading on my part. All of her characters were entirely forgettable, and were either horribly boring or overdone caricatures. I wished I was reading one of those weird Austen-monster books and zombies were going to pop out and eat everyone. None of the characters were likable. They all seemed completely stupid, like the characters in a dumb slasher flick. Shallow, insipid, and boring. And apparently Heyer's known for her characters? I'm so confused. I kept thinking, since I keep getting the title wrong, maybe I've got the wrong author? No? Hmmm.
And finally the plot. Since I didn't care about any of the characters, the plot had little chance of interesting me, but still. It was awful, and fairly non-existent. Which could be fine, but it was written in a way that made it seem like things were happening constantly, because there was no inner portraits of the characters or anything else, only action, but then there was no actual plot to tie the action bits together. And the book starts by seeming to focus on one character, then abruptly switches gears, then switches gears again, sort of. It's just odd, and very disjointed.
If you want to read Regency-era romances about the Beau Monde, read Julia Quinn. She is a million times better than Georgette Heyer. She's a better writer, will make you laugh, creates actually memorable characters, and spins quite entertaining plots. She still uses the word "ton" a ton though. If you're interested in what others have to say about Heyer, check out The Classics Circuit.


  1. Thank you for posting your honest thoughts! I was feeling badly because I thought I was the only one who was not satisfied with her work. I read Devil's Cub and while I finished it, I was not impressed. My takeaway was that the whole thing was overly exaggerated. I couldn't tell if she was trying to mock other Regency writers, the time period itself, or if she truly was in earnest. If it was a satire, I think it would have worked much better than it did.

    Everyone keeps telling me to try another one of her works, either a mystery or one of her later works. I might give her a try again, but I certainly will not buy another book of hers!

  2. I enjoyed your honest review! I just read one of Heyer's mysteries (review to come out tomorrow) and I completely agree with your thoughts (though the book I read didn't have any time period vocabulary). Her characters were completely forgettable and the writing sounded like a teenager who was trying too hard.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way!

  4. LOL I listened to this on audio, and I was driving across northern Nevada, so that might be why I enjoyed it.

    I get SO angry when people compare her to Jane Austen, because I think it's simply ridiculous. And if I had read my first Heyer expecting something similar to Austen, I'm sure I would hated it.

    I read them as over-the-top spoofs, which is probably why they amuse me. But even though I like her when I need a break, I wouldn't consider her a favourite author by any means. She didn't like her books at all, and I think that comes through, you know?

  5. Thanks for this because I was beginning to feel like I was the only one. I find Heyer edious, boring, and badly in need of editing.

  6. Uh, that would be Tedious, not edious. I think I'm the one in need of editing!

  7. I so thought I'd commented on this. I, um, can totally relate. I didn't dislike the Heyer I read nearly as much, but I felt it was a superficial "fun" read rather than on I really felt engaged in...

  8. haha! I totally agree on some books of heyer being 'superficial fun' you enjoy it solely because the stories take place in the regency era....I've just started reading frederica...and the first hundred pages are a bore!So far nothing much has happened...there is alot of refernce to engines and bla bla bla...quite tedious to read....but i must admit i did enji=oy 'The Corinthian'...eventhough the story is quite nonsensical, it is definitely more amusing