VIOLET FIRE by Brenda Joyce

PUB. INFO: Avon, 1989
SETTING: Mississippi, USA, 1875
HEROINE: Grace O’Rourke
HERO: Rathe Bragg

Impassioned suffragette Grace O’Rourke made a startling first impression on golden-boy Rathe Bragg when she crashed a society party wielding a six-shooter and spouting feminist slogans from atop the grand piano. And from that moment the sparks between them never stopped flying.

Soon, the irrepressible Grace had outraged the entire town of Natchez with her radical ideas — infuriating Rathe most of all. Yet he was obsessed with taming the vibrant, stubborn, passionate lass … and making her his mistress. But despite her shocking attraction to the virile rogue, Grace firmly rejected his scandalous proposition. And for Rathe, of course, “no” was the ultimate challenge!

MY SUMMARY: This book is part of her ‘Bragg’ series. This book is about one of Derek and Miranda Bragg’s son, Rathe and takes place in 1875. He’s about 30 with blue eyes and golden hair. He’s from Texas but lives in Mississippi. The heroine is 27 year old Grace O’Rourke. She has red hair and violet eyes. She’s tall and thin. She’s from New York but has travelled to Nachez, Mississippi because she’s gotten a job as a governess to Louisa Barclay’s two little daughters.

To sum this up quickly, Grace is a school teacher and a women’s rights activist. She meets Rathe briefly in the prologue, which takes place in New York. She meets him again two years later, in chapter one, because he’s Louisa’s lover, and he’s there visiting her at her plantation home when Grace arrives to begin her job.

Rathe is attracted to Grace right away and soon recognizes her as the woman from New York two years before. Rathe and Grace don’t get along at all. He gives Grace a ride home one night and Louisa gets very jealous and fires Grace. Grace is on her way to visit her friend Allen Kennedy and runs into Rathe again. He overhears Grace telling Allen that she’s almost out of money. Rathe then decides to make her his paid mistress.

The rest of the book is just plain boring. Grace is desperate for money and finally gives in and becomes his mistress. They love each other, he wants to marry her but she’d rather be his mistress because that way, she’s still her own woman and can do as she pleases without having to answer to a husband. She wants to continue trying to teach school to young black children even though some people, including the sheriff, are trying to run her out of town. She leaves Rathe, with the help of his ex mistress Louisa. The sheriff rips her necklace off of her when he see’s her at Louisa’s. Later, the new church is burned down and there is a burned body there wearing her necklace. Rathe assumes that the dead body is Grace and is upset, obviously. He travels home to Texas to visit his parents and sister Storm and her family. While they’re all out somewhere, he see’s Grace. He rushes over to her and they decide right there to get married.

In the epilogue, it’s over four years later and they have a four year old daughter named Lucy. She has her own book, one of my top favorites, The Fires of Paradise.

MY THOUGHTS: I’ve read this book at least three times since I first bought it in 1995. I didn’t like it too much the first time and I still don’t like it at all. It had been eleven years since I last read. I feel guilty about not liking it since I like some of the others in this series. I didn’t remember too much about it and I probably won’t ever read it again. At least, not for another eleven years. I’d have to grade it a C-/D+.

The Bragg series is to be read in this order:

Innocent Fire- This is the story of Nick’s parents.
Firestorm- The story of Nick’s sister Storm.
Violet Fire- Story of Nick’s brother Rathe.
Dark Fires- Nicholas Bragg.
The Darkest Heart- The story of Shoz’s (from The Fires of Paradise) parents.
The Fires of Paradise- Nick’s brother Rathe’s daughter Lucy’s story.
Scandalous Love- Nick’s oldest daughter Nicole’s story.
Secrets- Nick’s youngest daugher Regina’s story. Her husbands name is Slade Delanza.
After Innocence- The story of Slade’s youngest brother Edward and his wife Sophie.



  1. Kathy said,

    July 16, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Just finished this one, and Violet Fire will never be a favorite of mine. One thing that bothered me was the fake “Southern ” accent that only seemed to affect the word “heah” (aka here). Yes, some people do say it that way, but they also say “theyah” for “there”, etc. And I didn’t see “theyah” anywheyah-lol.

    The other bothersome aspect was the abundant use of the racial epithet. While I recognize Ms. Joyce was historically accurate in using it, and I know it is still used today, it made me cringe every time I read it, and it seemed to be used a lot.

    The story itself was OK, but Grace was just a little too preachy for me and surprisingly unsympathetic about some things I would have expected her to be passionate about. For instance, she was fervently supportive of and active in women’s rights, but she didn’t try to help the prostitutes recognize that they had rights as well as any of the poor downtrodden married women.

    Rathe was just a little bumblebee going from flower to flower, at least at first. Although he did pursue Grace like a dog hunting for his favorite bone, and there was nothing terrible about him, he just wasn’t dark and brooding enough for me.

    I am not sure I can read this again, but I will probably hold onto it while it rolls around in my head.

    • ♣ Terri said,

      July 16, 2011 at 8:04 PM

      Hey Kathy!

      Violet Fire has always been a least favorite of mine. From the ‘Bragg’ series, I don’t like this one, Innocent Fire and The Darkest Heart. Ha, you made me laugh out loud with, ‘And I didn’t see “theyah” anywheyah-lol.’

      I just found the story to be boring as hell. I liked both main characters but the storyline wasn’t good. Their daughter, Lucy, has her own book, The Fires of Paradise. I LOVE it. The hero, Shoz, is half white, half American Indian. Though he wasn’t in the book, Rathe and Grace have a son, Rick, who’s the star of a new series that takes place in New York in 1902, the ‘Deadly’ series. He’s also got a half brother, Calder, who’s in the series too and there part of a love triangle. In one of the books, Lucy, Shoz, Rathe and Grace make an appearance.

  2. Kathy said,

    July 17, 2011 at 6:57 AM

    Yes, exactly! The story just kind of plodded along like Mary the mule (you know, the one Grace rode to “attack” Rawlins).

    The prologue promised a story that wasn’t delivered. I thought I had a winner because it set up Rathe against Grace perfectly. One of the funniest scenes was Grace standing on the piano shouting “Ladies liberate!” and then Rathe’s pursuit of her across the piano and the table. I just wish the rest of the book had been that good!

    Both Grace and Rathe were very likable; they just didn’t have the right backdrop to let them shine as they did in the Prologue.

    Glad you got a laugh from lil ole me down heah. lol.

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