3 1/2 stars
(I have long ago put this book in storage, and it’s too much of a pain to dig out, but before I forget it all, here’s a review):
Anne Carsley’s This Triumphant Fire is an ok bodice ripper with a more interesting villain than hero. The heroine is a beautiful French girl living off the charity of her English guardians. If I recall correctly, the hero is a rakish fellow who is having a romance with one of the daughters in the family. He also has a secret life as a highwayman. After a brutal rape attempt by one of the sons, the heroine kills her attacker and flees into the night. The hero and heroine meet again, and he takes her to his cabin in the woods. They make passionate love and spend an idyllic time together before the hero abandons her. The heroine catches him cheating on her with another woman. She confronts him, and in the typical jerky-hero style he is unrepentant.
They are separated and she finds her the way on a ship to the American south, where she enters in a marriage of convenience with a suave, attractive, older man. Her husband is virile in the bedroom but only needs her for her womb, as he prefers hot voodoo lovemaking sessions with his male lover. The heroine is eventually taken to the harsh jungles of Haiti where she is saved by the hero who shows up out of the blue.
While Carsely’s prose was very poignant and romantic, I remember enjoying this book for everything EXCEPT the love story. The villain was magnetic, and the action-packed pacing combined with the author’s style of writing were strong points, but not enough to make this one a favorite.
One pet-peeve/minor factoid: the cover portrays the heroine with the wrong hair color; she’s got reddish hair not black. Carsley also had the same issue with her lovely cover of This Ravished Rose.