3 stars and a half

Historical Romance Review: Emmie’s Love by Janette Seymour

Emmie’s Love, Janette Seymour, Pocket Books, 1980, Harry Bennett cover art

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Janette Seymour’s Emmie’s Love is Purity’s Passion, redux. Just as in Purity’s Passion and Purity’s Ecstasy, the heroine is separated from her true love and must “find” her way back to him. “Find” being a euphemism for another four-letter word that starts with “f.”

The Plot

Again, the same terms and motifs are used: a violent opening involving near-rape and an alluded castration; frequent mentions of “handy-dandy”; dampened sheer muslin gowns; blond studs performing for an audience; a one night stand with a doomed soldier; a blue-eyed, scar-faced hero that is rarely seen; and a heroine with no personality save for being a busty, lusty wench.

Emmie Dashwood–granddaughter to an aged Marquess who pats her rump in a most loving fashion–lives in a moldy, decaying manor with her large, moochy family. After grandpa’s death, she is sold in marriage to an older man living another continent away. On her trip across the ocean, she falls in love with Captain Nathan Grant, the very married ship’s captain.

But love does not come easily to our dear Emmie. Many travails lie ahead. There is a family sex romp in an orangery; church sermons brimming with hellfire and damnation; a satanic sex orgy in said church led by goat-headed stud; a beheaded dog followed by a shocking use for the dismembered head; a blackmailing Peeping Tom; an erotic massage given to Emmie by a robust Irish maid; a seduction of a teenaged soldier; and much, much more.

Except for a doomed French hunter and his sad tale, there’s not much depth, as one salacious encounter is followed by another–not that I’m complaining.

The hero, Nathan, is really not a factor in this book. He’s a prize that Emmie earns at the end for completing her bodice ripper adventures. There’s no epic love story here.

Final Analysis of Emmie’s Love

A few gripes: the book blurb gets some minor plot points wrong, typos such as “$a1shouted” are annoying, and worst of all, while the hero on the cover is blond, alas, in the book, he’s black-haired with a white streak running through it.

The heroine is a bit of a twit. No, not the other word, this is no pornographic book, after all! If you are searching for explicitness and gratuity, look elsewhere (and tell me about it when you find it)! Everything is alluded to, with water metaphors galore: waves crashing, crests swelling, waters breaking, dams bursting. It is a saucy tale, replete with ribaldry.

And yes, bodices were ripped.

Titillating though it is, Emmie’s Love is not quite a bodice ripper masterpiece. Still, it’s a satisfying journey, even if the final destination holds little interest.

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