Historical Romance: Passion’s Proud Captive by Melissa Hepburne

historical romance review
Passion's Proud Captive by Melissa Hepburne
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: TBD
Book Series: Van der Lin #1
Published by: Pinnacle
Genres: Georgian Era Romance, Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 506
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance: Passion’s Proud Captive by Melissa Hepburne

Spoiler Alert & Content Warning ⚠

The Book

Passion’s Proud Captive by Melissa Hepburne is not a book for modern readers, but it’s tailor-made to suit my awful tastes.

How does one begin to review such sublimely horrendous art as Passion Proud Captive?

Not for the Easily Offended 😁

As far as “romance novels” go, I am stuck in a time warp.

This 50-year old genre has more variety now than ever. Even so, I find modern romances lacking. I’ll read a keeper on a rare occasion, but they just don’t do it for me for the most part. I know they’re well-written, insightful, witty, with mature sexuality.

It’s simply that many bore me.

I’m a troglodyte, okay! I like cheese!

Spare me your Ivy-league educated authors with doctorates who create such works of literature like Seven Scandalous Secrets to Seduce a Man-Slut Scoundrel or Count Duke, Who?

Eh. Give me those 21-year-old-housewives, those retired grandmothers, those crazy cat ladies! Now they knew how to write the crap I like…

Crap like Passion’s Proud Captive.

Have you ever wondered if a book was so trashy, so poorly written yet so awfully enjoyable that it could be considered to novels what crap like Manos the Hands of Fate or The Room are to movies? Then look no further than Playboy‘s very own: Passion’s Proud Captive!

Or, as I would call it: Miss Jennifer van der Lin’s Ribald Tales of Rapetastic Adventures in White Slavery featuring ugly, greasy men and a few good-looking ones, too.

This book just doesn’t give a f^#@! It knows what it is: utter, sleazy trash.

The Ludicrous Plot

Melissa Hepburne’s first book Passion’s Proud Captive begins in medias res during the war of American Independence on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Our fearless heroine Jennifer is about to be punished by an angry British captain before all the sailors aboard. She is stripped, groped and threatened with rape. Before the baddies can whip her naked flesh, our two heroes save the day!

No, this is not a ménage romance, just a lame love triangle. Lancelot Savage (a moniker derived from the romance novel hero/porn star name generator), henceforth known as Savage, a handsome, swarthy seaman with zero personality, no notable character traits, or charm of any sort, is the main guy.

Our second hero, Darcy Calhoun, a Frenchman, calls the heroine Jenny-fair. And ze way ee tahk laik zeez ahl zroo ze booook, eet eez zo veree, ‘ow yoo zay: F$#!ing irritating.

1 star was taken off just for having to figure out his lame dialogue.

Savage is injured during the rescue, and Jenny-fair nurses him back to health.

And then he rapes her. But since she likes it, and he’s the hero, it’s okay.

Anyway, he’s captured by the British. In order to save him from the hangman’s noose, Jenny-fair arranges with the booby-hating gay villain to be the fat governor’s mistress for a year.

Sex scenes are described in titillating detail. No matter how obese, ugly, or nasty the rapist is, it’s somehow bawdy and thrilling. Jenny-fair is taken by man after man, and her body betrays her every time.

Oh, No, It Gets Worse

Savage escapes from prison to be with his true love but is shocked to find her shagging the old, decrepit magistrate.

Never fear, dear readers. Our plucky heroine will get her man back.

Jenny-fair has the brilliant idea of travelling by ship to far-off England, somehow arranging for Savage–a pirate wanted dead by the British–to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and somehow she will arrange for the booby-hating villain to admit all his wrongdoings and for Savage to overhear it.

Jenny-fair signs up for indenture and boards a ship bound for London. She’s signed on to be a prostitute.

No reason to worry, she just knows she’ll be able to escape.

I felt bad for Jenny-fair, who was obviously mildly retarded with an IQ south of 70. She should never have been allowed out of the house without proper supervision.

When she is sold to a whore house, her first customer is a 15-year-old boy with a big schlong who schtups her silly. And man, does she like it!

Later there is some voyeuristic, girl-on-girl action with an ostrich feather. Of course, there is the requisite sold to some sheik where Arabs/Indians/Turks (according to the author, it’s all the same thing) live on an island in the Mediterranean.

Finally, there is an evil Jenny-fair look-alike.

Before you know it, our adventures are over…

Wait, It’s Not Over!

Passion’s Proud Captive dares to end in a cliffhanger with no definite conclusion. So the reader is left wondering: huh?

Final Analysis of Passion’s Proud Captive

Don’t despair, anxious readers. There’s a sequel to Pasion’s Proud Captive, so the fate of our protagonists will be fully and satisfyingly revealed… Right?

This so-called romance is a mess. A hot, nasty mess. I read this bodice ripper so quickly because it really doesn’t take much thinking. It starts in action and just keeps going.

  • There is no introspection and proto-feminism of Wicked Loving Lies.
  • Don’t expect an intense, emotional rollercoaster of a ride like Stormfire.
  • There’s not even sumptuous purple-prose and rich attention to detail and history as in Skye O’Malley.

Other books have a witty style, historical research, deep characters, however Passion’s Proud Captive has none of those things.

The heroine is literally too stupid to live. The hero is a non-entity. The villains are clichéd and dumb.

It’s pure fun and cheeseball bodice ripper good times.

For what it was, I enjoyed this book very much. The sequel is another story…

Post Script

The author of this brilliant piece of fiction, Melissa Hepburne, was really a man, Craig Broude. Broude republished his novels on e-format. So you have no reason not to read this!

I recommend reading Passion’s Proud Captive with your butt firmly unclenched to enjoy this silly romp.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
3.5
Writing
4
Chemistry/Heat
4.5
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
3
Overall: 3.9

Synopsis:

At the mercy of a cruel, rapacious captain, beautiful Jennifer van der Lind is about to be assaulted before the leering crew when a sailor springs to the bridge, holds a dagger to the officer’s throat, and orders the girl released.

When she learns that her handsome rescuer is really an American captain — a fugitive pirate — Jennifer escapes with him to the Colonies. But Lancelot Savage is captured, accused of piracy, treason and other crimes, and sentenced to be hanged. Jennifer’s pleas for leniency are heard by the Tory Governor who makes her an offer: he will spare Lancelot’s life on the condition that she live with him as his mistress for a year.

In desperation, Jennifer makes a supreme sacrifice and becomes a prisoner of lust — submitting to the perverse pleasures of a man she secretly despises in order to set free her beloved… the only one who could ever completely possess her — body and soul. 

PASSION’s PROUD CAPTIVE by MELISSA HEPBURNE

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