Illustrator: Ron Lesser
Published by: Playboy Press
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Andrea Layton‘s So Wild a Rapture is a tawdry rape-romance about a beautiful lady’s misadventures during the French Revolution.
The Characters and the Setup
From the opening pages, we are introduced to the 16-year-old heroine, the noble Juliette de Condillac, and her “won twu wuv,” Francois du Quesnay. He’s a slightly older boy from a neighboring noble family.
They quickly consummate their love and, like high schoolers, vow to be “togetha 4 eva” after Francois finishes his university education.
But life has other plans for Juliette and Francois in So Wild a Rapture. First in the name of Roger du Deffand and then in the name of the French Revolution.
Against her will, Juliette is betrothed to the deceptively foppish and much older Roger.
Francois marches back to school, giving her his ring. He tells Juliette the ring will protect her whenever needed.
Juliette dithers about her future. Maybe she will marry Roger, maybe she won’t. In the meantime, she is to be educated at a convent and consort socially with nobility to learn to be a proper bride for Roger.
What does she need to learn? Oh, what any Catholic girl should know. Religion and piety, skill in the housewife arts, being social, and… perhaps taking part in a bit of girl-on-girl love. Her husband-to-be, Roger, loves to watch (or even ). Juliette is, of course, shocked. And curious…
Her lessons are cut short when the horrors of the French Revolution begin to take over, intruding on their dark idyll.
Death, thievery, arson, destruction, and rape ravage the countryside.
Fortunately, Juliette is protected wherever she goes by Francois’ ring. When Juliette and Francois meet again she is shocked to learn he is a powerful leader in the Revolutionary movement. (What did that silly twit thing the ring was all about?)
I don’t know how Francois reached such a high status because–to be blunt–he’s kind of a dickless wanker.
When men repeatedly attempt to rape Juliette, he pleads for mercy. Francois fights the men only as a last resort. Never would he dream of killing her would-be rapists, saying the men have had hard lives and can’t be blamed for their actions.
What a benevolent eunuch of a hero! And that’s being cruel to eunuchs.
And le coup-de-grace is Francois’ reaction when his family is killed and his home destroyed. He mourns the loss of lives and property as a natural and necessary part of the new movement.
Boo! Lame hero!
Maybe the villain is better? Un peu.
Eventually, Juliette makes her way to her fiancé. Roger lets Juliette know in no uncertain terms that she’s damaged goods. So he no longer has any interest in marrying her. Although he will still make use of her comely charms.
First, Roger makes Juliette his own love slave! Then he pimps her over to a bored King Louis XVI, who is taking refuge in his palace as France crumbles around him in bloody chaos.
Roger forces Juliette to have an abortion, thus destroying any tender feelings Juliette had for her former betrothed. In the meantime, she waits for Francois to free her from her courtesan life before the guillotine takes her head.
Does Francois come in time?
Final Analysis of So Wild A Rapture
So Wild a Rapture wasn’t a bad ‘ripper. It wasn’t great either, despite the raunch factor. Juliette’s youthful resourcefulness makes her willing to do anything to survive, no matter how degrading, sordid or arousing. She also is vapid and silly, with plenty of scenes lip-chewing and foot-stomping.
I detested the male protagonist whose politics and morals I abhorred. The villain was villainous, yet he lacked that spicy je-ne c’est quoi that makes a villain sizzle.
Here’s another bodice ripper to file away under:
- The hero is dishwater dull and missing in action while…
- The heroine bangs it out with the lecherous villain, and…
- She gets some historical dong along the way.
But hey, I do give So Wild a Rupture — Rapture! — credit for keeping to the history and not being all wallpapery in that regard.
|Rating Report Card|
from the innocent, virgin pastures of the French countryside to the sensuous intrigues and royal splendors of a king’s decadent court
against her will by a passionate liaison with a wealthy baron whose ardent desires devoured her senses, sweeping her to the heights of ecstasy and the depths of degradation
ENRAPTUREDSO WILD A RAPTURE by ANDREA LAYTON
by the sweet, burning memory of the fiery young rebel whose tender caresses had scorched her soul forever–and made her desperate to be free, to belong to the one man who could truly possess her heart.