ONLY FOR LOVE by Elaine Barbieri

PUBLISHER: Zebra, 8/1994
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: Jamaica, 1772
BODICE RIPPER? Yes, mild
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B-

FROM PUBLISHER: When Gillian Haige’s father dies, his only legacy is a mountain of debts. But never does the eighteen-year-old English beauty dream she’ll end up in the dank hold of a ship bound for the Colonies…as an indentured servant! And now her gentle twin lies desperately ill, and will surely perish unless Gillian takes one daring, irrevocable step.

It is a wild scheme, yet from the moment she meets Captain Derek Andrews and feels desire ignite between them, Gillian sees the bargain she can strike: her innocence in exchange for her sister’s life. But on a journey that carries Gillian from the shores of America to a new life on a storm-swept island, she will be forced to choose once again…to fight for her freedom or to surrender to the man who has possessed her-body and soul-with his liberating passion…

MY THOUGHTS: Gillian, the heroine, is twenty, as stated on page 48, not eighteen, as the synopsis states. This story begins in England, then in Jamaica. Saying that they’re headed for the Colonies made me assume they were talking about the British Colonies in the United States but that’s not what they meant.

We got zero background on Derek and weren’t even told his age or where he’s from. He must have been in his late twenties, at least, since he’d spent some time in prison and is captain of his own ship, Colonial Dawn. He’s rude and possessive of Gillian but not verbally, physically, or sexually abusive towards her. He doesn’t seem too friendly either.

Gillian is feisty and stands up for herself, which I really like in a heroine. I didn’t see the need for her to have a sister since the sister was a pretty weak character and served no purpose to the storyline, as far as I could tell.

I really liked the two main villains: Derek’s ex-lover, red-haired and green-eyed Emmaline Dorcett. She was obsessed with having him though she was married to an older man. She was peppered throughout the story but I wanted more of her. I found her to be very interesting and wanted to see what damage she could have done. I really wanted some background on her but we got none, including her age. Her husband Robert said she was very young to his 50+ so I’m guessing she’s in her twenties.

John Barrett, who’s an agent for the London Transport Company, was in charge of all the indentured servants aboard Derek’s ship. He became obsessed with Gillian and hatched a plan to have her. Gillian hated him with a passion and that ate at him and intensified his obsession with having her. John once called Gillian Madame Uppity Bitch!

Another villain early on was an older prostitute named Maggie, who was always called a ‘vicious whore’ by Jon Barrett. The verbal sparring between them was great! She too became obsessed with Gillian on the ship but I don’t understand why she hated her so much. I thought she was going to do harm to her but that didn’t happen.

This was published in 1994 but it felt like one older. The heroine had a backbone, the hero was rude, there were terrible villains. Though there’s no abuse towards the heroine, I consider this a mild bodice ripper.

The negatives- I wish over half this story didn’t take place on a ship. I wish Maggie’s character had lasted longer and I wish Emmaline and John had teamed up to do some harm. You wouldn’t know by the cover that this is historical and the hero/heroine’s hair color isn’t quite right.

 

MIDNIGHT FIRES by Andrea Layton

PUBLISHER: Playboy Paperbacks, 1/1979
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: New York & Massachusetts, USA 1770’s
BODICE RIPPER: Yes
RAPE? Multiple
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Ravished by a cruel, merciless stranger…loved by the passionate man she might never see again…Carolyn Salford flees the brutal wilderness for aristocratic Boston and the arms of her fiancé.

Stalked by danger, vulnerable to the turbulent desires tormenting her, she is haunted by the memory of a man she dare not love but cannot forget.


SPOILER SUMMARY: Carolyn is eighteen years old. She and her family are traveling from New York to Boston, but they’re travelling separately. Along the way she runs into George Nelson, a man two years older than her, who’s in love with her. He rapes her once then it turns consentual. She goes on her merry way and is kidnapped and raped several times by some random Frenchman named Jean Lemelle. He gets what he’s had coming to him and she’s once again on her way. Not much else happens until the last fifty pages, when she meets up with her fiancé, William. William only wants to marry her because of the fortune she’s to inherit soon from her British mothers family. He rapes her several times, including once anally, and holds her prisoner in his home and verbally abuses her constantly. He’s keeping her drugged with laudanum and they set sail on a ship bound for London. She thinks he plans to killer her once they’re married. She escapes, meets back up with George, who she’s now in love with, and they get married.

MY THOUGHTS: This is truly one of the most boring books I’ve ever read. Luckily it was barely over 300 pages. The first 150 pages or so was Carolyn traveling, mostly by herself via horseback, to Boston. The plot was mostly talk of war and I got so sick of it. The only interesting part was the last fifty-some pages or so, when William came on the scene. William’s a character I’d have liked to have known more about. Not even his age was given. Him coming into the story is what kept this from getting an F rating from me.

THE COUNTERFEIT BRIDE by Joan Wolf

PUBLISHER: Signet, 2/1980
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1800’s
SERIES: Signet Regency Romance #16
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Enchantingly beautiful Catherine Renwick had good cause to despise darkly handsome, insufferably arrogant James Pembroke, Earl of Allandale.

It was this deplorable man who on a night of wild debauchery caused Catherine to be abducted and brought to him at a country inn. It was he who took her virtue by force, and left her threatened with disgrace.

True, he now was willing to make amends by giving her his name in marriage. And equally true, she had no choice but to accept. But Catherine was sure that nothing in the world could erase her hatred for him or her horror of his embrace.

Catherine was an innocent no longer–yet she had so much to learn about love and the maddening deceptions of the heart….

MY THOUGHTS: I had high hopes for this but the majority of the story was boring. The beginning and end were good but that’s all. Once the incident at the beginning was over with, James and Catherine got along great for the duration of the story. No conflict, no disagreements, no nothing.

James is twenty-six and Catherine is seventeen. The story spans just over a year but I don’t know what year it begins or ends. When James was sober we were told he was remorseful for what he’d done the night before but I didn’t feel it. He’s a rather bland character.

Catherine was put in a bad situation and dealt with it very well and seemed quite mature for just barely seventeen. We’re told they’re both in love with each other but I’m not feeling that either. I don’t think they were around each other much.

Her cousin Ian, I did like, especially towards the end when his craziness came out to play. He seems to be around her age. He became really angry when he found out why James and Catherine married and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t asked to marry her instead when that was their plan in the first place. He hatched a plan that didn’t work out in the end. That situation wasn’t handled in a believable way by James.

 

A DUKE TO REMEMBER by Kelly Bowen

PUBLISHER: Forever, 7/2016
GRNRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1819
SERIES: Season for Scandal, #2
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.

Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He’s managed to avoid any complications or entanglements—that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there’s more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity—and her true feelings for him—the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.


MY THOUGHTS/SPOILERS: This story was interesting enough and was more romantic suspense than romance. The plot was pretty simple and easy to follow along with. No complicated subplots to distract from the main one. I liked both lead characters alright.

The synopsis isn’t completely accurate and it’s the publishers fault. It states that ‘Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country’ but that’s false. At the age of ten he was forced into an insane asylum for absolutely no reason, then escaped a few years later. He had no choice but to go into hiding. He didn’t chose to leave ‘the glamour of the London aristocracy’. He was forced to live a secret life for fear of being caught and sent back against his will.

Some things I didn’t like. I find it very hard to believe that Elise found Noah right away without even looking for him. I find it hard to believe too that Noah’s friend Joshua, the one he escaped with when he was fifteen and hasn’t seen since, was also involved in finding him. I don’t find it plausible at all that Elise could be masquerading as a man sometimes without anyone suspecting she’s female. I’d have liked for Noah’s evil cousin Francis Ellery to have been in the story a lot more instead of just being at the beginning and end. His involvement in this story was far more interesting to me than that of Elise and Noah and far more interesting than the sex scenes.

I’m disappointed that Noah didn’t converse with his mother about being sent away all those years ago. I was hoping she hadn’t been involved in the plot, in fact I was assuming we’d find out she hadn’t been, but they never even spoke to one another.

I think Noah’s thirty-five years old but I’m not sure and I have no idea how old Elise is. We got no backstory at all on her. I don’t think I’d read this author again.

Lastly, there’s a line in the story (page 137 of the ARC) where Noah said, “I.Don’t.Want.The.Title”. Please keep that awful modern-day way of typing out of historicals.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

BOUND BY THE HEART by Marsha Canham

PUBLISHER: Avon, 10/1984
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: Caribbean & Barbados, 1811/12
BODICE RIPPER? Yes
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Rescued from the stormy waters of the Caribbean, Summer Cambridge, daughter of the British governor of Barbados faced a new threat aboard the American ship Chimera. Captain Morgan Wade, the notorious buccaneer, brazenly ordered the young beauty to his cabin to be held for his own pleasure!

Summer fought him with the ferocity of a wildcat, but held by his insistent passion, she was swept by waves of desire she had never known, and was powerless to resist him.

Even as she returned to Barbados and the marriage that had been arranged for her, she still trembled with memories of those days and nights of forbidden passions, and of the man whose love would forever hold her heart captive.

MY THOUGHTS: I’m reviewing the out of print paperback from 1984, not the rewritten e-book, which has the rape scene removed.

Summer is blond with gray-green eyes. Her age was never given so I’ll assume she’s in her early twenties. She’s a typical, slightly boring heroine. Not very feisty like I prefer, especially in these older books.

The American hero, Morgan, is thirty-four years old and has long black hair and blue eyes. He buys cargo and guns legally then sells them to the French, then transports them to America. In typical bodice ripper fashion, he rapes Summer aboard his ship once or twice (page 35 of print book) and makes no apologies for it. That’s pretty much where his abuse of her ends.

I liked her terrible husband Bennett Winfield. He lost interest in her right after they married. He suspected her of harboring feelings for Morgan and a secret, and forbade her ever seeing him again and threatened to ruin her and her family if she did. He’s shown violence towards her too. I like him much more than I do Morgan.

The story spans about a little over a year, beginning in June 1811. This just wasn’t a good story at all. It fits my criteria of a mild bodice ripper; it had the typical arrogant hero, rape, a decent amount of time apart from each other (over a year), and evil secondary characters and lots of action involving ships.

Morgan’s slightly younger half brother, Stuart Roarke was just pointless in this story.

I liked the first 119 pages when Summer and her ten year old brother Michael were on Morgan’s ship then island, Bounty Key, but once she returned home about a third of the way into the story, boring throughout the rest of the novel. The last fifty pages or so was nothing but one ship fighting against another and I truly forced myself to finish the book. It majority was so uninteresting to me. I really feel like this historical romance turned into purely historical fiction. The only good thing I can say about this is that I love the cover.

Same review here.

 

LOVERS FOREVER by Shirlee Busbee

loversPUBLISHER: Warner Vision, 5/1996
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1811
SERIES? No
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Under the cloak of darkness, Lady Tess escapes, a lone rider fleeing from her diabolical cousin-only to fall into the hands of ruffians who rob her of her jewels…and her memory. Then in the shelter of a wayside inn, she meets the man the centuries and the fates have prepared her for. From the moment the coldly handsome Nicolas Talmage, Earl of Shelbourne, lifts his dark eyes to hers, they are drawn together, spellbound, into each other’s arms, and into a night of passion that claims her innocence and melts his heart. But Tess refuses to become his mistress. Enraged and yet unable to let her go, Nicolas takes her to an old cottage on the outskirts of his estate. Here, in a place haunted by whispers from the past, they will discover Tess’s true identity, a tangled web of family secrets, and a magical love that can transcend the boundaries of time and space…

MY THOUGHTS: I really liked this and it reminds me of books published in the 80’s. Tess is twenty-one, with red hair and violet eyes. She was raised by her aunt, Hester. Her uncle Sidney died recently and his distant cousin, Avery, has inherited everything. He’s out to make Tess his but she’s having none of it. He holds her aunts and her prisoner but she escapes and looses her memory after she’s attacked. She makes her way into an inn and is mistaken by the owners as someone they’re expecting. They also think she’s a prostitute, as does Nick.

Nick is thirty-two, with black curly hair and dark brown eyes. He doesn’t believe she’s lost her memory. He thinks she’s poor and along with her family is trying trap a wealthy man into sleeping with her so he’ll have to marry her. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but he doesn’t know it. There’s not much backstory on him.

I like the way they bicker a lot. I can’t stand when hero and heroine get along great from the start and there’s never any conflict. Boring! They’ve got chemistry from the start. Though Avery’s a villain, I like him and think there should have been more of him physically in the story, not just in the beginning, and not just in conversations.

The time span is only about two weeks which is ridiculous, really. They’re in love and married in that short time. I don’t know why the story couldn’t have spanned several months, at least. Nick’s older sister, Athena, is deranged and hateful but we don’t really find that out until the end. She was nasty from the start but I liked her.

The only thing I didn’t like about this story is the plot about Nick’s grandfather and his old diary from seventy years ago. I found all that stuff to be absolutely boring. I found the Avery’s-out-to-get-Tess storyline interesting as well as the whole Tess/Nick meeting at the inn to be interesting…and Nick trying to catch smugglers too was interesting to me.

A RECKLESS ENCOUNTER by Rosemary Rogers

recklessPUBLISHING INFO: Mira, 12/2001
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1819
TIMESPAN: about 4-5 months
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Celia St. Remy Sinclair has harbored a dark obsession since the tender age of twelve: to bring about the downfall of Lord Northington, the man responsible for her mother’s death. Now an elegant and self-possessed beauty of twenty-two, she leaves America for London, determined to avenge the act of violence that shattered her life.

Celia is stunned when she comes face-to-face with her nemesis — for this rakishly charming gentleman called Colter is not what she expected. When she discovers he is the new Lord Northington, son of the man she’s vowed to destroy, she embarks upon a daring plot to take revenge on the father through the son. But even the best-laid plans can be thwarted by the powerful forces of the human heart…

MY THOUGHTS: This reminded me a lot of an older historical romance for a few reasons. Celia hated Colter because of what his father did to her mother. Colter knew nothing about his father’s past sins and didn’t know or care why she was so hostel towards him. She was kidnapped towards the end by the villain, which happens a whole lot in older historicals. For a lot of the book Celia hated Colter but he wasn’t deterred by it and he never let it stop him from trying to bed her. So there was a love/hate relationship between them for awhile, which is very common amongst older historicals. There was a nine year age gap between them and I liked that too. I hate when the hero is just a couple of years older than the heroine, which is very common with newer romances.

I liked Celia. She’s a green-eyed blond. She’s a bit of a spitfire when it comes to Colter and I really like heroines to be like that. I rarely find one like that in newer historicals, which is a shame. She was born in Virginia to a French-born mother and was living in Georgetown, D.C. when she left for England to get revenge on Colter’s father, who is a rapist and murderer. She stayed with her aunt Jacqueline, who is also her Godmother.

I liked Colter a whole lot too. He’s thirty-one, has dark hair and blue eyes though the stepback (the page directly behind the front cover of a book showing hero and heroine) has him with blond hair. His dialogue towards her when she’s being bitchy to him made me smile constantly.  Unfortunately there wasn’t any background information given on him.

There was also some drama involving something Celia unknowingly had in her possession, stuffed inside a directory that a ship passenger, James Carlisle, let her borrow, that she was unaware people were after. I got confused along the way with that whole mess. It’s still unclear to me about what happened with the item and who has it now.

I enjoyed the friction between Celia and Colter and I did feel their attraction for each other. They make a good pair.

BEYOND SCANDAL by Brenda Joyce

beyondddPUBLISHING INFO: Avon, 10/1995
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1856
SERIES: St. Georges, #1
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Adoring and innocent, Anne Stewart was seduced by Dominick Saint Georges, Viscount Lyons, then brazenly abandoned on their wedding night. Now four years have passed, and England’s most mysterious lord has returned to Waverly Hall.

Anne can never forgive Dominick for the shame he caused her. She is determined to resist his advances and ignore the gossip and speculations surrounding them, but shocking revelations and deadly intrigues are drawing her ever closer to her enigmatic husband, to whom she dares not surrender again – his secretive stranger who holds the key to her survival and her heart.

MY THOUGHTS: What an emotional rollercoaster Anne and Dom are on. The story seemed like it spanned just a few months. Anne is from America and is twenty-one. She went to live with relatives in England when she was eleven. She has blue eyes and black hair. She’s loved Dom since she first met him when she was an adolescent and is very hurt that he’s abandoned her for four years, the entire length of their marriage. I have no idea why he did that to her. Dom is twenty-eight, has golden hair and golden eyes. I got a little tired of them not getting along and the misunderstandings. That alone was a bit boring. What was very interesting was the mysterious things that were happening to Anne. Several people had a grudge against her and they were leaving cryptic clues for her alone to let her know they were behind the scary incidents.

Anne is too passive. Dom is alright except for the fact that he has two illegitimate children by his mistress of five years. It’s unclear if he had that mistress, or any others, while married to Anne. I’m assuming he did. Adding those kids to the story was unappealing to me and didn’t really serve a purpose.

The cousins Anne’s lived with since she was eleven, Felicity and her brother Patrick, were a disturbed pair and I enjoyed them in the story. I didn’t really like Dom’s mother, Clarisse, too much. She’s a bitter, jealous woman, same as Felicity.

Things got a bit convoluted toward the end when Dom found out about his paternity and who’s behind the shenanigans.

 

NEVER CALL IT LOVE by Veronica Jason

never call it lovePUBLISHING INFO: Signet, 12/1978
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England/Ireland/W. Indies/America, 1778
TIME SPAN: 5-6 years
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: When beautiful young Elizabeth Montlow lost her innocence it was not on a night of romantic dreams. It was in an act of savage violence by a man seeking vengeance.

Yet from this brutal beginning came an all-consuming passion that would take Elizabeth from the sheltered eighteenth-century English countryside to a lonely manor in Ireland, where she was forced to share her man with his ravishing and ruthless mistress… to a nightmare exile on a lush and licentious Caribbean island, where lust and murder went hand in hand… to the depths of the lawless American wilderness, where two men played a monstrous game of heart-wrenching deception with her as the stake… 

MY THOUGHTS/SPOILERS: This didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I learned of it at least five years ago on-line from someone who said it reminded her a bit of Stormfire. There were just a couple similarities, like hero and heroine’s nationality, rape, hero being a smuggler, ect., but the plot lines/core of the story were dissimilar.

Elizabeth is twenty-three, dark brown hair, gray eyes, and is from England. I found Elizabeth to be very bland and passive. Patrick is from Ireland but lives in England, is tall and thin, has a ‘dark’ complexion, brown hair, brown eyes, and is thirty-two. He’s been smuggling arms, cannons, and muskets for ten years. The story begins and ends in England, 1778-1783.

The first 100 pages of the story were the best of all and were mostly about Elizabeth’s eighteen-year old disturbed brother, Christopher, the blond Golden Child. Christopher and his friends were wearing masks when they kidnapped and raped Anne Reardon, Patrick’s seventeen-year old ward, in Christopher’s unoccupied family home. They fooled her into thinking they’d let her go. They let her run away from them, they chased her, and she jumped out the window and died later from her injuries. He fooled Elizabeth and their mother into believing he was innocent but Elizabeth always had doubts. I find Christopher to be one interesting character, the most interesting of the entire story.

Patrick, who’d met Anne briefly at a ball or something the previous year, was very angry at her for covering for her brother, whom he believed responsible for Anne’s death. He broke into her bedroom one night, demanding to know where her brother fled after the trial. She wouldn’t give him any information so he raped her (p. 89), after slapping her for struggling. That’s his only violence toward her in the story.

For me, the story went downhill from there and became very boring. They got married because she was in a desperate situation. Patrick had been considering marrying Miora Ashley, a wealthy twenty-seven year old widow back in Ireland. I’m not sure why he wanted to marry Elizabeth. He didn’t really feel any affection toward her and though she brought a dowry to the marriage, he had much more to gain by marring Miora. Miora became his mistress only after realizing she could no longer marry him, since he was married to Elizabeth. She disappeared from the story for awhile and was brought back to give the readers a suspect for an event that caused Patrick, Elizabeth, and Colin to flee to the West Indies.

The most boring part of all was when Patrick, Elizabeth, and his half-brother Colin were forced to flee the West Indies (after already having to flee England because Patrick was caught planning an uprising against England) and settled in America (Pennsylvania). There they had to live off the land and it made for dull reading. Not much happened the entire few years they lived there until Elizabeth got bad news about Patrick that lead me to believe they wouldn’t have a happy ending.

Something eventful, a few confessions, happened near the end involving a secondary character that I didn’t see coming. This person had lied about several important things and were involved in murder because they were angry and jealous of another person. I felt a little sad for them at the end.

It was mentioned very early on that Patrick and Colin were responsible for Anne’s father Tim’s death in a boating accident but the reason for that was never given. We weren’t told if the death was intentional or not.

I don’t think Patrick ever told Elizabeth that he loved her though she did overhear him once talking out loud about loving her. He never showed affection toward her or gave the impression that he was interested in her at all.

Overall, this wasn’t an interesting love story and damnit, I’m disappointed.

INTO PASSION’S DAWN by Michele DuBarry

into passion's dawn StarPUBLISHING INFO: Star, 1981
ISBN: 035230913X
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, Scotland, 1802-1806
SERIES: The Loves of Angela Carlyle, #1
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: An unselfish motive led lovely fifteen-year-old Angela Carlyle to consummate a brazen bargain in Lord Harrington’s bedchamber. But the wedding night unleashed anothers conniving lust, planting the seeds of passion in Angela’s breast. And thus her new life began, a tumultuous story of lost innocence and restless desire, sweeping the beautiful Angela into a world of flesh and fear. For the fire, which consumed her, could be quenched by one man alone-the man she both detested and desired.

PARTIAL SPOILER SUMMARY: Brace yourselves. I’ve stumbled upon the most effed up over the top anti-hero ever, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll detail the abusive stuff below.

Black-haired, light blue-eyed Angela meets the seventy-something year old Lord Percival ‘Percy’ Harrington at her parents home when she was ten. He’s a distant cousin by marriage to her mother. Five years later, she realizes her father is running out of money so she doesn’t know what else to do but write to Percy and let him know, in a roundabout way, she needs money. He visits and lets her know that if she wants money, she has to marry him. She’s horrified at the thought, since she’s only fifteen, and lets him know it. He’s described as being tall, fat, with yellow, tobacco-stained broken teeth. She agrees to it and before the wedding, she meets his son, Scott, one day when she’s outside. That’s when his obsession with her begins. He’s ten years her senior and has brown hair and brown eyes.

On their wedding night, she lays in bed and waits for Percy. He arrives drunk and passes out. Out of the darkness appears Scott. He tells her he drugged his father and that he’s going to rape her right in the bed with him passed out. He rips her gown off, she claws his face and bites his lip. He flings her off of him, hitting her in the face in the process. He throws her on the bed, she claws his back, he calls her a bitch and ties her hands to the headboard, then rapes her. She bleeds heavily for a hour. The next morning Percy wakes up thinking they’d had sex.

Soon after that incident she finds a diary in the house that belonged to Scott’s aunt Blanche. It talks about how Scott was unwanted, neglected, ignored, and she begins to feel sympathy for him but hates him with a passion at the same time. We never learn exactly what went on in his childhood. We just know that he and his father hate each other. She took the diary to him and he had the nerve to proposition her- have sex with him willingly or he’d continue to rape her. She doesn’t agree to it.

His abuse towards her is off the charts from then on out. He continues to drug (more likely have a servant do it) his father every night, her too sometimes, and sneak into her bedroom through a secret underground tunnel that leads to his own house on the property and rape her.

She shot him once when she realized she’d been drugged by him. He smacked her twice, put her over his knee and whipped her until his arm hurt, then raped her. Another time Angela insults him and he calls her a bitch and slut, carries her into the ocean and drops her in, right as she was telling him she was pregnant. He rescues her then and they get in bed and have sex, her supposedly not remembering the near drowning. She’s as mentally screwed up as him for saying that him doing that was partially her fault for ‘goading’ him into anger. Another time, Scott sneaks into her room and finds her in bed with her friend, Keith. He beats the heck out of him and smacks Angela. Now for the worst of his abuse- right after beating Keith up, he tied Angela to the bed, with Keith passed out on the floor, and began biting her all over- lips, breast, neck, nipples, everywhere! He turned her over and alternated between beating her with her quirt (short riding crop) and raping her. He heated his signet ring in the fire and branded her butt cheek with it. If ever a hero needed a bullet to the brain, it’s him. At some point in the book Keith smacks and rapes Angela once too.

He kidnaps her at her wedding to Keith and takes her to Scotland. At this point, she’s nineteen. She becomes pregnant again. He’s trying hard to get her to marry him but she refuses. He tells her that he’ll take her home to England but the children have to stay with him. She says and they begin a consentual sexual relationship with each other. She finds happiness with him and agrees to marry him and that’s how the book ends.

MY THOUGHTS: Nothing shocks me in old historicals anymore but there were several moments in this book that made my jaw drop and eyes pop. Scott is beyond disturbed. Unfortunately for the reader, we never learned what happened to him in his childhood that helped turn him into the jealous, possessive monster he became. He’s really arrogant too.

Poor Angela sees herself as an ‘unwilling captive of desire and revenge’. She’s very spirited and feisty, not passive at all. She hates yet loves him and he won’t let her break free. There are periods of consentual sex between them throughout the story. She has a sexual relationship with three men and never has sex with her elderly husband, who’s not in the story much.

There was a part in here where she’s kidnapped by a highwayman named Jack Newton, who’s forty years old. She’s about seventeen. He’s not abusive while he’s holding her for ransom for six weeks. They become lovers, even though they’re both married. He eventually hangs for his crime. This part became boring to me once he was captured and went to trial.

I like warped romances and this one fit the bill. I’m calling it an extreme bodice ripper. Same review here and here.

 

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