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a pirate's love hero rapes heroine mcginnis

Historical Romance Review: A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
A Pirate's Love by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: one-star
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Pirate Romance
Pages: 373
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey

WARNING: RANT & SPOILERS AHEAD (POSSIBLY OFFENSIVE)

The Book

Johanna Lindsey’s A Pirate’s Love is her second romance, published in 1978. It features your basic pirate plot: a heroine is sailing across the ocean, all set to marry a cruel, faceless fiance. Her ship is boarded by pirates, and the captain takes her as his love slave.

And to no one’s surprise, the hero rapes the heroine. Over and over.

I liked Lindsey’s first book, Captive Bride, which had a similar plot, except with a desert sheik instead of a pirate. Even though it was a flawed book, it had its charm.

This book, on the other hand…

I Didn’t Love This Lindsey

I hated A Pirate’s Love for many reasons, some based on logic, most others based on pettiness. If you’re looking for a great review that does a better job explaining why this book blows, search elsewhere. I’m just going to go on a diatribe based on my ever-waning recollections of this “romance”:

The multiple rapes that the hero commits upon the heroine didn’t really faze me, although they did get redundant. After all, it’s a bodice ripper, and that’s what comes with the territory. If a hero raping the heroine offends you, best not read this genre. It was everything else in Lindsey’s second-published book that I despised.

Embrace the Hate

Hate #1

I hated Bettina and her knee-length hair that’s easily hidden under a hat! (Apologies to the beautiful Johanna, who actually had knee-length hair. She could have easily passed for one of her heroines.)

Hate #2

I hated how Bettina cried over her dresses and how ill-tempered she was and hearing about her flashing eyes that were blue one minute, then green another. Not blue-green eyes, mind you, that look different depending on the light or what colors they reflect. Her eyes just change color randomly with her emotions. She’s like a human mood ring.

Hate #3

I hated Tristan. He was such beta-fish, shaving his beard off when Bets demanded it of him. Some tough pirate, eh? Plus, I don’t like the name Tristan. I joke about the overused names in Romancelandia that are so overbearingly macho and repetitive, but Tristan Matisse just doesn’t inspire fear. He’s French, so why not Capitaine Sauvage? It may sound cliché, but it’s better than that prissy name.

Hate #4

I hated Casey O’Casey. There’s another stupid name for a stupid character.

Hate #5

I hated Bettina’s mother. Or was it the maid? Or was it both women who gave Bettina horrible life advice? Don’t remember, don’t care.

Hate #6

I hated the lack of romance. I hated the lack of variety in action. All the hero does is rape the heroine. It all seemed to blur together: rape, fight, escape, repeat; rape, fight, escape, repeat, etc.

Hate #7

I hated how antagonists were portrayed. In a pirate book set in the 1600s, it is natural to have Spaniards playing the villains to the English/French buccaneer heroes, but in A Pirate’s Love Lindsey laid it on a bit thick, reaching Leyenda Negra levels of ridiculousness. As their wicked deeds fell just short of infant necrophilia and cannibalism.

Hate #8

I hated the stupid coincidences at the end of this book. I mean, really? All of them happening at once?

a pirates love2
A Pirate’s Love, Arrow, British alt cover

Final Rant on A Pirate’s Love

Why would I despise A Pirate’s Love when it’s not so different from Johanna Lindsey’s early, more “serious-toned” works, like Fires of Winter, which was one of my teenage favorites? Or So Speaks the Heart, to which I gave a favorable review? The dimwitted, hunky hero rapes ( and forcibly seduces) the heroine in both those books.

Maybe I was feeling sick the week I read this, or maybe I was stressed by heavy loads of classwork, or I was on my period.

Or maybe–just maybe–this book does indeed reach epic levels of suck. It’s just so blah.

A Pirate’s Love is not the worst Lindsey book because at least I could finish it. As repetitive as it was, it did draw out emotions from me, which is more than I can say for her later soporific works I dislike.

Ah well. Lindsey wrote so many books that it’s natural I’m bound to dislike one or two of them. A Pirate’s Love just happens to be one of them.

1 Star (Cover points do not count)

Rating Report Card
Plot
1
Characters
1
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
1.5
Fun Factor
1
Cover
4
Overall: 1.8

Synopsis:

Sun-Blazed Beaches
With languid tropical breezes caressing her breathtakingly beautiful face, Bettina Verlaine stood before the mast, sailing westward to fulfill a promise her heart never made – marriage to a Count her eyes had never beheld.

Then in a moment of swashbuckling courage, the pirate Tristan swept her away and the spell of his passion was cast over her heart forever.

But many days – and fiery nights – must pass before their love could flower into that fragile blossom a woman gives to only one man.

A PIRATE’S LOVE by JOHANNA LINDSEY
Escape From Desire

Category Romance Review: Escape From Desire by Penny Jordan

category romance
Escape From Desire by Penny Jordan
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1982
Illustrator: Tom Bjarnason
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #569
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 186
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Escape From Desire by Penny Jordan

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Penny Jordan’s Escape from Desire was a very satisfying yet silly read.

A Tropical Vacation

Tamara is on vacation on the island of St. Stephen, all by herself, as her stuffy fiancé has no time for frivolities like lounging in the sun.

Tamara is typical of Penny Jordan‘s heroines, slightly repressed due to an overbearing aunt who raised her. But as she sunbathes on the beach, Tamara’s doubts about her engagement come to a head.

While Malcolm is everything Tamara thought she wanted in a husband–staid, unemotional, professional–she recalls her parents’ happy, loving marriage and ponders if she can go through a loveless union so different from her deceased parents.

Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger on the beach admires her bikini-clad body with his eyes. When he notices her engagement ring, he’s cruel to her, thinking she’s just out in the Caribbean for one last hurrah.

A Jungle Nightmare

Tamara signs up for a jungle trek to take her mind off her worries when who should show up, but the mysterious stranger from the beach, our hero Zach Fletcher. However, what should have been a three-hour tour turns into a nightmare when the guide lures them into a trap.

Rebels armed with Ak-47s take the group hostage for the usual political reasons. Zach manages to convince the terrorists to release all the hostages except himself. Unfortunately, the terrorists, thinking Tamara is Zach’s woman, demand Tamara stay as well.

Days pass, and eventually, when the terrorists make a supply run, leaving behind just one man to guard the pair, Zach makes his move.

It appears that Zach is no run-of-the-mill Harlequin Present m/billionaire hero. He’s a member of the Special Air Service of the British Army and was recently scarred in a melee in Africa. As their captor attempts to force himself on Tamara, Zach stabs him dead, and the couple flees through the jungle.

The near-death/near-rape experience is traumatizing for Tamara and Zach, and they make love. Zach is shocked to find that she’s a virgin. Rather than handling the situation with normal, human-like emotions (this is, after all, a Penny Jordan Harlequin Presents), he accuses her of having held on to her virginity to tease her fiancé.

Tamara gets bitten by a lethal spider on their march through the rainforest. She awakens in a hospital, safe and sound, but dismayed to hear that Zach hightailed it back to England.

escape from desire penny jordan
Escape From Desire, Penny Jordan, Harlequin, 2017 re-issue

A Bunch of Silly Coincidences

The life-and-death trauma awakens something in Tamara, and she vows to change her repressed ways, first by getting a makeover and then by dumping her stuffed-shirt fiancé.

But as I said, this being a Penny Jordan Harlequin Presents, normal human-like behavior is not be expected. So instead of breaking up with her boyfriend ASAP, Tamara waits until they’re on a weekend trip at his parents’ home in the Cotswolds. Then, Malcolm asks Tamara to pretend their engagement is still on to save face temporarily.

Who should show up but Malcolm’s parents’ new neighbor… Zach!

Zach is disgusted with Tamara and accuses her of being a slut. Sure, she was a virgin when she slept with Zach, but now that she’s not a virgin, indeed, she’s sharing all her newfound sexuality with her fiancé. (None of this sounds like standard human thinking, but something like Tommy Wiseau would come up with.)

Tamara goes on with her life as an assistant to an editor when she finds out she is pregnant. She’s delighted by the fact but vows never to let Zach know the truth. Why? I don’t know, Zach was mean to her, and that’s reason enough to hide her child’s parentage.

But Zach is still not out of her life because, in coincidence number #2, who should be the secret client her boss has been trying to lure? Why it’s Zach, of course! Zach’s writing a book demands Tamara as his secretary.

Unfortunately, Tamara’s morning sickness is of the virulent type, and Zach realizes she’s pregnant. With her fiancé’s child, of course, the slut!

How Will They Ever Get Together?

Sure, she was a virgin until she met Zach, but virginity was only a tool to get her fiancé. Then after Zach initiated Tamara in the ways of love, she used that knowledge to dig her claws into her fiancé some more. And now she’s utilizing the oldest trick in the book to keep her fiancé. The tramp!

Despite it all, Zach can’t keep his hands off Tamara, who he believes is engaged and pregnant with another man’s child. And Tamara loves Zach, although she can’t let him know. Why not?

Will these two crazy kids ever get over their hang-ups and just be honest with each other?

Sure, they could, but it’s more dramatic when a letter reveals all the truths because communication is for human adults on Planet Earth, not for our heroes and heroines of Harlequin-Presentslandia.

Final Analysis of Escape From Desire

What a crazy, unforgettable read was Escape From Desire! Penny Jordan really upped the zaniness in this romance.

It’s not her best, although it’s definitely a memorable one.

3.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
3.5
Writing
3.5
Chemistry
3.5
Fun Factor
4
Cover
4
Overall: 3.8

Synopsis:

When Tamara’s Caribbean holiday turned into a nightmare, there was only one man shecould turn to—Zach Fletcher! With their lives in jeopardy, in the heat of the jungle, Zach took Tamara’s innocence for his own. They escaped from danger—but not from the consequences of their passion!

Neither of them could know that their heated fling would leave Tamara pregnant. Reunited in London, Tamara is reminded of the claim Zach has on her body. And he’ll doanything to prove their chemistry means more than just an affair…

ESCAPE FROME DESIRE by PENNY JORDAN

Category Romance Review: Call Back Yesterday by Charlotte Lamb

category romance
Call Back Yesterday by Charlotte Lamb
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Will Davies
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #253
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 188
Format: Paperback, ARC
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Call Back Yesterday by Charlotte Lamb

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Call Back Yesterday is the first Harlequin Presents written by Charlotte Lamb.

There are two HP writers I absolutely adore: Miranda Lee and Charlotte Lamb. Lamb wrote mostly in the ’70s and ’80s. Lee was a modern woman of the ’90s and 2000s. Both authors had the ability to portray great heroines from vastly different lifestyles.

From poor, innocent virgins to victims who rise above tragedy to mature, sexually experienced sophisticates, they were wonderful to read about.

The Plot

In Call Back Yesterday, Oriel Mellstock belongs to the latter group. Oriel and Devil Haggard were cousins who grew up together and grew to love each other. (If that gives you an ick-factor, they’re only second cousins).

Cruel fate separates them.

Oriel leaves and marries a man 30 years older. She actually has a normal marriage, sleeps with him (albeit without much passion), and has a child. Her multi-millionaire husband dies, and she returns to her hometown to get a little revenge.

As Call Back Yesterday was Charlotte Lamb’s first HP, it’s a bit milder than her later works. There is no consummation in this book, but she throws a bunch of HP tropes at you:

  • The much-beloved manor the heroine fights to own
  • A darkly brooding, bastard hero who rides on a black stallion
  • The manipulative wife who separates the lovers; a vicious other-woman
  • Multiple men who vie for the heroine’s affections
  • Even a couple of cute kids.

One thing I love about older Harlequins is the quick-moving plots, and this one is no different.

My favorite scene is where Oriel and Devil come face to face at last, and she whips him on the face with her riding crop, then he grabs her crop, takes her over the knee, and whips her backside.

Then he forces a kiss on her, and Oriel is like, well, I deserved the beating, but the kiss was just too much! WTF!

Final Analysis of Call Back Yesterday

The ending of Call Back Yesterday was a bit unsatisfactory. I wanted more of a dramatic reveal at the climax to make this one perfect.

Still, this was a fine outing for Charlotte Lamb.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4
Cover
4
Overall: 4
the innocent

Historical Romance Review: The Innocent by Bertrice Small

historical romance review
The Innocent by Bertrice Small
Rating: one-star
Published: 1999
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Published by: Ivy Books
Genres: Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, Erotic Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: The Innocent by Bertrice Small

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

It was a bad sign that Bertrice Small’The Innocent features one of her least interesting romance covers ever. The lone positive was that Elaine Duillo created this. It was one of her final covers and illustrated for her dear friend Bertrice.

The Innocent, The Evil, and The Boring

Taking a break from Small’s usual romps where the heroine is captured by some salacious sultan/whoremaster/caliph and enslaved into his harem is The Innocent.

The Innocent is an unengaging medieval-era set historical. I usually adore medievals, but this one bored me to tears.

The heroine is a former nun named Eleonore, who goes by the ridiculous nickname Elf. Elf is a paragon of virtue, saintliness, and sweetness. She is totally dull.

Elf must leave God behind to marry Ranulf, an equally boring character.

He then patiently introduces Elf to the arts of love.

There’s an evil villain–a hired killer sent to dispatch Elf–who falls in love with Elf for her purity and goodness. All I could wonder was, WHY? She, like most of Small’s heroines, is perfection beyond belief.

One Fun Character: The Villainess

Ok, I lied when I said the cover artist was the only exciting aspect of The Innocent. The villainess, Isleen, is such a caricature of slutty evilness. It’s hysterical.

She despises Elf, as Isleen is her total opposite: a cruel, bitchy who-ore. She will stop at nothing to have Elf killed.

There’s a funny scene (funny to me, anyway) where Isleen gets gang-banged by the villain and a couple of other guys. They all go at it, and she suddenly stops after a few rounds.

Isleen cries out: “No, wait! We have to practice safe medieval sex, so I don’t get preggers!” Then she proceeds to douche the “specimens” out of her vagina with an entire bottle of red wine.

the innocent

Final Analysis of The Innocent

I read a ton of Bertrice small books circa 1999 to 2002. At the time, I found myself addicted to them.

But being addicted to something and loving it aren’t the same thing.

I picked this book up, believing I would appreciate a change of pace from Small’s usual sexcapades. Usually, the heroine (and hero) cavort with every staff and orifice in plain sight.

Here Elf is a virgin and sleeps only Ranulf. That’s boring for a bodice-ripper, although I wouldn’t classify this as a ‘ripper. It’s just vanilla erotic romance.

Other than a couple of scenes and a pair of quasi-intriguing villains–the male evildoer would have made a better hero, plus, he surprisingly redeems himself–, The Innocent was a real snoozer.

Recommended only for hardcore Bertrice Small fans and those who want to read some naughty sex scenes.

1 Star (Not rounding up)

Rating Report Card
Plot
1
Characters
1.5
Writing
1.5
Chemistry
1.5
Fun Factor
1
Cover
2.5
Overall: 1.5

Synopsis

Eleanore of Ashlin had promised her life to God—until fate intervened. With her brother’s untimely death, Eleanore becomes the heiress of an estate vital to England’s defenses. Now she is ordered by royal command to wed one of the king’s knights rather than take her final vows. With resistant heart, but ever obedient to King Stephen’s will, she complies.

Ranulf de Glandeville is all too aware that his innocent bride wants no man; yet his patience, gentle hand, and growing love for his spirited young wife soon awaken Eleanore to passions she never knew. But their love will soon be threatened by a depraved woman who will put Eleanore’s life in jeopardy—and the young bride’s love to its greatest test. . . .

THE INNOCENT by BERTRICE SMALL
Tender Warrior

Historical Book Review: Tender Warrior by Fern Michaels

historical romance review
Tender Warrior by Fern Michaels
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1982
Illustrator: Unknown
Published by: Ballantine
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Medieval Romance
Pages: 387
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Book Review: Tender Warrior by Fern Michaels

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Tender Warrior by Fern Michaels was a surprisingly sensitive romance written during the author’s bodice ripper era.

Mark this down as one of those books where the hero first catches sight of the heroine bathing.

The Plot

Ruy and Mirjana are from two different cultures: she is a princess from Al-Andalus, while Ruy is a knight for the kingdom of Castile y Leon.

She will become his captive, but will he become the captive of her heartDespitete their significant disparities, the pair quickly bond and engage in a forbidden romance.

No matter the obstacles that fall in their way, the betrayals, lies, and tragedies, they still love each other. Ruy and Mirjana’s relationship is intense & steadfast.

For that reason, let me get this right out of the way: the ending is not a conventional one. Even so, I was satisfied with the conclusion because there is no denying Ruy and Mirjana love each other desperately and will do their best to succeed.

SPOILER WARNING

Besides, Ruy was married to Jimena, a ward of the King of Castile, so this is historically accurate. Despite the unorthodox-yet-still-happily-ever-after ending, there is no denying Ruy de Bivar’s and Mirjana’s deep and abiding affection for each other. You know they will make it through together until their deaths.

My Opinion

Historical accuracy is not a word that can be applied to this book (or pretty much any Fern Michaels’ historicals, for that matter!).

Although this is a fictional romance novel, it is written about the greatest Spanish warrior of all time, El Cid, and never does the reader witness any of Cid’s heroic valor. Where’s the action, the battles, the killings?

We only know that Ruy is the El Cid of history because the book tells us so. He’s a very likable hero, but that could have been anybody else in history. He’s very tender but not much of a warrior.

It’s surprising that Fern Michaels, who created one of the worst, most piggish heroes ever in Regan van der Rhys from the Captive series, could imagine such a noble hero as her fictional Ruy Diaz de Bivar.

Also, the fact that Ruy’s mistress was an Arab princess was not something to be taken lightly by his peers. There should have been some more conflict between them. Or perhaps not. Mirjana and Ruy faced enough hardship as it was: loss of family, abandonment, deaths, and the wrath of manipulative rulers.

Final Analysis of Tender Warrior

I would have loved to give Tender Warrior 5 stars because it’s a truly romantically sweet bodice ripper, and you never doubt the sincerity of the protagonists’ love.

Michaels dropped the ballon because she failed to make El Cid a warrior. Ruy is a great, loving hero to the heartbroken Mirjana, but that could have been anybody else in history, too.

What a wasted opportunity! All he had to do was kick a few guys’ bums, slay some enemies, and rally his troops to victory. That would have reinforced his tough-guy image. That would have been a story worthy of El Cid.

Nevertheless, it was a fine tale of ordinary Ruy Diaz de Bivar and his beloved Mirjale. Kudos to Fern Michaels for this harrowing romance, filled with scheming enemies, sad tragedy, and passion galore.

4 stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
3.5
Fun Factor
4
Cover
3
Overall: 3.8

Synopsis

Mirjana — reckless yet innocent, a princess of the Ottoman Empire, desperately begs El Cid to rescue her from the caravan taking her to a loveless marriage…

El Cid — fierce and ruthless, legend and power, betrays Mirjana, taking her captive to hold her for ransom. But even this most renowned warrior cannot defend himself against her brilliance, her beauty, her bewitching charms…

Explosive passion blazes between them, a fire that sears them both. Neither is prepared for the cruel attempts to tear them apart… neither can deny the raging desire that keeps them burning for that exquisite tenderness to be found only in each other’s arms…

TENDER WARRIOR by FERN MICHAELS
the black lyon george ziel

Historical Romance Review: The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux

historical romance review
The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1980
Illustrator: George Ziel
Book Series: Montgomery Family Saga #1
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Medieval Romance
Pages: 276
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

The Black Lyon was my first Jude Deveraux read. Being a medieval, I was was already inclined to like this book and it did no disappoint.

The Plot

To be fair, I loved the first half, of The Black Lyon. But the second half faltered a bit as a devious woman’s scheming separates the two protagonists.

Lady Lyonene is young, free-spirited, and really quite charming, while Ranulf de Warbrooke is a powerful and gruff knight. They meet and Lyonene instantly falls for the much older Ranulf.

Lyonene has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to marry him so impetuously. A cruel monster of a man soon replaces the gentle man he seemed to be when they first met.

I loved how Lyonene makes her home on Ranulf’s fortress island, Malvoisin (it means “bad neighbor”), charming his retinue of black-haired knights while Ranulf is his grumpy self. He and Lyonene struggle to make their marriage work due to Ranulf’s turbulent nature.

However, when the two are separated due to Amicia, a jealous evil Frankish woman who tries to come between them, the story takes a bit of a downturn.

We do get to find out how the Montgomery family started, as Ranulf & Lyonene’s son is named Montgomery. Montgomery later shows up in Jude Deveraux’s The Maiden as a squire to that book’s hero, Rowan.

black lyon

Final Analysis of The Black Lyon

The Black Lyon was a great read with tumultuous highs and lows.

It was Ranulf’s needless cruelty and the other woman’s antics made it one fall short of perfection.

4.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4.5
Characters
4
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
5
Overall: 4.4

Synopsis

Darkly handsome and rich beyond imagining, the bold English conqueror was called Lyon for his-lion like fierceness. He had no match among enemies, or women … until he met Lyonene, the green-eyed beauty whose fiery spirit matched his own. Through a whirlwind romance and stormy marriage, she endured every peril to be by his side… until jealousy and vicious lies drove her across the Irish Sea and into grave danger.

One man could save her — only the fierce Black Lyon had the courage to destroy the ruthless plot that had driven them apart and threatened the bond of love they had vowed could never be broken.

The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux
the wildest heart rogers

Historical Romance Review: The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers

historical romance review
The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1974
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Western Romance
Pages: 608
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

In Rosemary RogersThe Wildest Heart, Lady Rowena Dangerfield is a beautiful woman who men value for her beauty, wealth, or both.

Rowena was a heroine who intrigued me right from the start. She was indifferent to men. Despite their passion for her, she could not love anyone except outlaw Lucas Cord.

For Lucas, Rowena was willing to renounce her inheritance or even die with him in the perilous mountains. Despite his conflicted past, Lucas was the only man to love Rowena for herself alone.

The Negative Aspects

Although I mainly read romance for the love story, I enjoy experiencing the heroine’s travails. I appreciate seeing a heroine’s struggles through life, as the hero is relegated to the background while the she thrives and matures. In a way, The Wildest Heart is one of those books.

Normally this would be enough for me. But Rogers is too passionate a writer to keep the hero as the mere prize the heroine wins at the end for completing her journey.

On top of that, the book ran too long.

Wicked Loving Lies was longer, yet every page of that novel was packed with action. I couldn’t wait to see what WTFery occurred next. Here the 1st-person-POV hinders the pace here because, naturally, there will be more introspection. The action is lean, the mental musings are long.

When He Loves Two Women

Other than a hero who weeps over his dead wife or lover, the only trope I hate more is a Mama’s boy. Lucas is no Mama’s boy, but he is obsessed and in love with the woman he as a boy thought was his mother. That sticky situation puts him in a weird gray category until the end.

The bewitching Elena is much older than Lucas but doesn’t look it. (Wouldn’t it be nice for once if the sexy older woman actually looked like a sexy older woman rather than preternaturally young?)

Lucas had been a lonely boy raised by the Apache. Later, he wasn taken in by his Mexican father, who had no love for him.

Elena manipulated young Lucas and gave him love when he had never known any before. She taught him to hate Todd Shannon, part-owner of the SD Ranch.

This was all heard second hand by Rowena. If I had seen it through Lucas’ eyes or read about it in his head, I’d have appreciated his story more and thus feel more satisfied overall.

rosemary rogers the wildest heart

I Needed More Perspectives

If The Wildest Heart hadn’t been written primarily in a 1st-person diary format, I would have loved it for the epic range of emotion and intrigue. It would have been a thrill ride on a par with Rogers’ other great bodice rippers, Sweet Savage Love & the previously mentioned Wicked Loving Lies.

Rowen was the overwhelming focus. As much as I understood and admired her, I needed other perspectives.

It would have been fine if the action was interspersed with Rowena’s diary entries. There should have been other characters’ viewpoints.

That only the prologue and epilogue were written in 3rd-person was a huge mistake. With a novel of such a grand scope, more than just Rowena’s thoughts were needed.

Other Gripes

One thing I’m certain about is that Rebecca Brandewyne read this novel, for I can see the influences of The Wildest Heart in Brandewyne’s magnum opus, Love Cherish Me.

It’s all here:

  • The grand scope of a western epic.
  • The fast-shooting cowboy of Spanish descent who raised among the Indians and speaks with a pronounced Western drawl.
  • A black-haired heroine on her way west to an unknown future.
  • A powerful, older rancher who demands the heroine’s hand in marriage.
  • The rancher’s younger relative who loves the heroine and fools her into thinking he’s a good guy.

Wait, there’s more!:

  • The murder trial.
  • The scandalous couple united against the world at the end.
  • And the epilogue as they head into town with their children, while the townspeople wag their tongues about their past shocking antics.

I adored Love Cherish Me. It’s one of my top 10 or 15 bodice rippers, along with the other Rosemary Rogers romances. The Wildest Heart doesn’t reach that level of adoration.

Why not? For being such a smart woman, Rowena certainly made stupid decisions.

She ignored her dead father’s urgent request to read his diaries as she simply didn’t feel like doing so. Sloth is certainly my favorite sin, but she could have skipped to the end of those diaries and taken a gander at what the brouhaha was about.

Then her dumb mistake of trusting the obviously telegraphed villain!

We gave each other, with our bodies, the commitment that neither of us dared put into words. We mated. There is no other word for it. We were equal—man and woman; neither asking what we could not give…

Now, the Positive Aspects

When it came to Elena versus Rowena, those scenes were awesome. I wanted more Rowena-Elena showdowns.

Two alpha women fighting not just for a man but for power over all. I love a great villainess; she makes the heroine stronger.

As said, I appreciated Rowena’s cold personality, which was her coping mechanism to deal with a crazed life. She was certainly passionate where Lucas was concerned.

It was a pleasant surprise that there was no annoying gypsy dancing on Rowena’s part. A heroine dancing like a gypsy in a Rogers novel is akin to a woman from the British Isles being captured and placed in a harem for a Bertrice Small plot. It’s what they do.

The book’s climax was thrilling as in the last chapters, Lucas and Rowena head into the mountains to flee from her wicked husband and fight off armed soldiers.

The passionate relationship between Lucas and Rowena. This was more passion felt by Rowena than by Lucas. Although I prefer a slightly enigmatic hero, it’s nice to know his feeling for the heroine, too.

Finally, was the wonderful epilogue where we did see Lucas’s thoughts. How much more fabulous would it have been if we’d known more of them? If not thoughts, then to witness his actions firsthand without Rowena hearing of them secondhand.

Final Analysis of The Wildest Heart

The ending did make up for the first third of The Wildest Heart, where Lucas was nowhere to be found. I adored this passage near the finale:

They looked into each other’s faces; searching, renewing, re-evaluating. It was as if, without words, Rowena was saying: “I love you, and I have chosen you. There is room in our lives for other people too, now that we are sure of each other.

The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers was a gripping read, with compelling characters. But it doesn’t rank among the best bodice rippers ever.

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 3.6

Synopsis

No man can own Rowena Dangerfield–a sensuous, strong-willed lady with a fiery, unchained spirit–though many desire her. She had come to claim her birthright, following her destiny to the sprawling New Mexican frontier…and to the only man who can tame her restless heart.

A handsome half-Apache branded an outlaw–a rebel and renegade feared throughout the territories–Lucas Cord’s body and soul cry out for the beautiful, headstrong stranger who has burst into his world. And neither peril nor the treachery of desperate men will prevent him from taking what he wants…or restrain a rampaging passion as wild and hot as the Southwestern winds.

THE WILDEST HEART by ROSEMARY ROGERS
while passion sleeps bennett

Historical Romance Review: While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee

historical romance review
While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Harry Bennett
Book Series: Reluctant Brides #3, Louisiana #8
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Western Romance
Pages: 486
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooksAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee made me feel really old. It wasn’t the plot or the characters; it was the actual book itself.

This just-under-500-pages epic is printed in a tiny font on yellowed paper (my edition is 38 years old). Reading it strained my eyes something awful. I’ve been nearsighted all my life, but now things up close are getting blurry. I’ll be going to the eye doctor this week for a new Rx because I need bifocals. *Sigh.* Damn you, the passage of time!

The Hero

Speaking of the passage of time, While Passion Sleeps features a macho hero who would be booed out of Romancelandia if he were to appear in a romance novel today. Rafael Santana, who’s one tough Texan (1/4 American, 1/4 Comanche, and 1/2 Spanish), was kidnapped by the Comanches as a child. He lived with them for years before being rescued by his Spanish relatives.

He is a savage man, torn between two worlds, as he never fully adjusted to polite society. A forced marriage to a cold-hearted woman and several fleeting sexual affairs have jaded Rafael’s perspective about females.

Women were such deceptive little bitches, [Rafael] thought viciously as he kicked his horse into a gallop. They had faces like angels and bodies to drive men wild, and yet they lie, cheated, and would merrily rip a man’s heart from his body for the sheer joy of watching him writhe.

Besides being a founding member of “The He-Man Women’s Hater Club,” he’s capable of and has committed extreme violence:

“I was 12 the first time I went on a raid & yes, I did enjoy it,” Rafael interrupted coolly. “I was 13 when I stole my first horse and scalped my first white man and a year later, I raped my first woman and took my first captive. By the time I was 17, I was raiding w/ the warriors for over five years; I owned fifty horses, had my own buffalo skin teepee, three slaves of my own & several scalps taken by my hand decorated my lance.”

(I can hear the clacking sound of myriad strings of pearls being clutched by the “How dare you!” crowd.)

The Heroine

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is the heroine Beth. A beautiful violet-eyed, platinum-haired Englishwoman (Are there really women who naturally look like that in real life? I’ve yet to see one.), Beth is forced to marry a profligate gambler who drinks too much. Her noble father has no use for her now that he has a new wife and son.

Nathan Ridgeway is handsome and not that bad of a guy despite his errant ways. The problem is Nathan has “teh ghey” and try and try as he might, he just can’t get a chubby for his sweet 16-year-old bride. Only hot, young men will do it for him and Beth ain’t that.

Dismayed at first by the inability to consummate their marriage, he and Beth fall into a contented, platonic arrangement, where Beth capably mages the household affairs. At the same time, Nathan not-so-discreetly enjoys the company of his paramours. A whiff of potential scandal hits the air, so the pair hightail it off to the United States to make a new life for themselves.

They move to Louisiana, then later to Mississippi, where eventually Beth, the super-perfect woman, manages a huge plantation that turns a tidy profit, while Nathan again not-so-discreetly enjoys the company of his paramours.

while passion sleep ebook

The Plot

Part One

Let’s rewind a bit to their time in Louisiana. There at a ball, Beth’s shimmering violet eyes met the passionate smoky-gray gaze of Rafael Santana. The attraction was instantaneous, leading Rafael to make a crude proposition. Of course, Beth wanted nothing to do with the married Rafael, being an honorable married woman herself, even if her marriage was not quite a “marriage.”

Rafael’s wife was jealous of the pair and arranged for Rafael’s cousin to rape a drugged Beth, then have Rafael come upon the scene. Moments before the cousin could do the deed, an enraged Rafael enters the room, catching what he believes are two lovers in flagrante delicto.

Furious that another man had his way with Beth yet enchanted by her naked body, Rafael becomes maddened with lust. Under the influence of intoxicants, Beth’s only sensation is desire.

She begs Rafael to take her, which he eagerly does. Thinking he’s having sloppy seconds and in a state of anger, somehow Rafael fails to notice that Beth’s a virgin, even though her hymen is still intact. (I always question when this sort of thing happens in romances: how can a man who’s been around the entire neighborhood not notice the major resistance a hymen makes upon entry? These heroes just plow through like it’s made of wet tissue paper.)

Part Two

After their one night of passion, Beth flees in shame. She and Rafael don’t see each other until four years later when Beth decides to travel through Texas to visit an old friend. But, when they meet again, their lust can’t be controlled, and they go at it again. And again. And again!

Rafael’s wife is now dead, and he thinks Beth is a shameless adulteress, beguiling innocent men with her beauty. I’ve never read Gypsy Lady, but for those of you who have, it’s interesting to note that Sebastian, the son of that book’s protagonists, is featured in While Passion Sleeps as Rafael’s cousin. He, too, is mad about the lovely Beth.

Sebastian is the only one who knows the true nature of Beth’s marriage, having witnessed Nathan in bed in the arms of another man. He vows to save Beth from her phony marriage and make her his bride.

Sebastian’s illusions are shattered in a powerful scene after he catches Beth and Rafael in an embrace. Rafael and Sebastian, who are good friends, almost come to blows until Rafael claims Beth is his mistress. Sebastian leaves the field to his cousin; his heart is broken.

Never having felt such deep emotion for a woman before, Rafael is conflicted. Not only is his cousin in love with Beth, but she also had a husband to contend with. Ultimately, he decides to make Beth his and his alone. No matter what, passion will find a way.

An Aside: Language Lesson

I did have an issue with the bad Spanish in While Passion Sleeps.

Rafael’s wife is named Consuela; it should be Consuelo.

Also, Rafael refers to Beth as “mi cara,” which means “my face.” Instead, it should be “querida” as “cara” is Italian for “my beloved.” I’ve seen that mistake so often in older romances when the hero speaks Spanish, especially in Harlequins. Fortunately, Rafael doesn’t call her that too often, preferring to call Beth his “English.”

Please permit me to go over this for a moment. Any romance reader worth their salt should know how to say this to a woman in multiple languages. There are many ways to say “my beloved,” “my dear,” or “my love” in various languages, but here in random order, are the ones I know off the top of my head:

  • Cariad – Welsh
  • Querida – Spanish & Portuguese
  • Cara – Italian
  • Chère – French
  • Habibti (or Habibi) – Arabic
  • Stór – Irish
  • Liebling – German
  • Agápi – Greek
  • Elsket – Norweigian

Okay, the language lesson is over.

My Opinion

Except for my eyes squinting in vain to read the words, While Passion Sleeps was an enjoyable ride. It is a bodice ripper that spans continents and years and has lots of steamy love scenes and plenty of violence. That’s enough for me to like it.

There are times when this book lags, especially during the first half when Beth and Rafael don’t spend much time with each other. For some reason, Busbee went into extreme detail over the most unimportant things, like Beth and her husband traveling from New Orleans to Texas or about Comanche & Texas history. The editing could have been tighter.

Beth and Rafael had crazy, intense chemistry. You feel the heat coming off the pages whenever they are together. The love scenes, while a bit lavender, were sexy as hell. But… that’s all they have.

They don’t really converse, don’t go through shared experiences (except for towards the end), heck they don’t even argue that much. They have sex every chance they get when they’re alone. I would have preferred more time spent together bonding emotionally than physically.

A Mustache Aside

Also, for some reason, I imagined Rafael with a mustache. Busbee makes no mention of one. Yet after reading this scene:

“Let me,” he muttered, roughly. “You are as beautiful there as anywhere, and I want the taste of you on my mouth, the scent of you in my nostrils. Let me!”

I couldn’t picture him without a flavor-saver on his face! Usually, mustaches are a turn-off. However, imagining Rafael as Mexican actor Mauricio Islas, one of the few men who can pull it off, made it all good.

while passion sleeps
Mauricio Islas as Rafael… yummy!

Until I pictured another face. With the show The Mandalorian in the news lately, for some reason, Mauricio’s image kept morphing into actor Pedro Pascal. Nothing against Pedro. He just looks exactly like my cousin Felix! Nice-looking enough, but he’s not my idea of a brutal lover and killer whose cold, pale eyes barely hide the passions which simmer beneath the surface.

while passion sleeps
Pedro Pascal (aka my cousin Felix) as Rafael… Nope!

That’s just my baggage. I’ve got to stop imagining actors as heroes. When the cover (sadly) fell off While Passion Sleeps, I had no guy to look at and did some head casting.

Final Analysis of While Passion Sleeps

This is the third Shirlee Busbee I’ve read and definitely the best of the bunch. While Passion Sleeps has a hero you either love or hate. I loved him in all his pigheaded, dark alpha-ness.

Beth grows as a character. She transforms from a naïve, biddable housewife stuck in a loveless union to a fiery spitfire who endures trauma and hardship.

If Busbee had tightened the manuscript a bit more by reducing the filler and adding more emotionally intimate scenes between Beth and Rafael, this would have been amazing. As it is, it’s still a very gripping read, even if, at times, I did skim a page or two.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4

Synopsis:

THE LADY: Beth Ridgeway was a violet-eyed platinum beauty — the kind of woman who made men burn with desire. Yet her husband Nathan didn’t want her…

THE ROGUE: Rafael Santana, the darkly handsome and arrogant son of a wealthy Texas family, had been kidnapped by the Comanches and raised as a warrior. Even now, all his gentleman’s breeding couldn’t conceal the savage strength beneath his aristocratic bearing.

THE FURY: Beth thought he was cruel and insensitive, a man who used women only for his selfish pleasure and then tossed them away. Rafael thought she was a common wench — flirtatious and unfaithful — who took pride in breaking men’s hearts.

THE FIRE: Yet something had happened when their eyes first met at a dazzling New Orleans ball. Something their hearts could not deny, something neither the years nor the violent misunderstandings could diminish. Because for the first time, both Beth and Rafael were awakening to the magnificent passions of love.

WHILE PASSION SLEEPS by SHIRLEE BUSBEE
Born to Love

Historical Romance Review: Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood

historical romance review
Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1984
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 576
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Valerie Sherwood‘s Cavalier & Colonial Era romance Born to Love takes us to England and the American colonies as four women seek love.

Valerie Sherwood, Cat Fancier & Romance Novelist

Sherwood would always lovingly dedicate her books to the special cats in her life. In Born to Love, it was Mopsy and Chow. She was slightly cat crazy.

So in honor of Ms. Sherwood–and from one crazy cat lady to another–I would like to dedicate my review of Born to Love to one of my cats.

To Bear,

You sweet, gentle soul, a little black-furred, black-nosed, green-eyed wonder.

Bear, you came into my life at 19, when your mother, a feral queen, bore her kittens in the warehouse of the office where I worked. I took you home at four weeks old and because you had not been weaned, I had to feed you milk and mush. Every night before I’d fall asleep, you’d suck at my earlobe as you would have at your mother’s teat.

Even when you grew, you still held on to this adorable kittenish trait.

Sadly Bear, you were in my life for just over a year. I went back to college and my landlady would not allow cats so you stayed home with my mother and siblings. Perhaps life there without me was not what you desired, because you ran away.

I never saw you again and I cried many tears of loss. But I have never forgotten you.

To you Bear, this review is dedicated.

The Set Up: A Family Saga

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, on to the book.

Born to Love is actually four stories of several generations of women with the same name, Dorinda, and their (mis)adventures in love. As repeated over (and over), the premise of the tale is: “It takes one generation to make it, one to lose it, one to talk about it, and one to make it again.”

The First Three Dorindas

The book opens up with the most exciting story of the group. Angel-faced, golden-haired Dorinda, a chambermaid, escapes the Great London fire. She valiantly saves Grantland Meredith from street toughs. Then the two marry each other. The simple Dorinda is shocked when she learns he is an Earl.

Unfortunately for sweet Dorinda, she is not his true love. That would be Polly, an amoral, evil black-haired she-devil of a woman. Polly is the best character in the book, relentlessly calculating and conniving, willing to do anything to have her man. It’s no surprise when this tale ends in tragedy.

Their daughter Rinda’s tale is the second part. Rinda is a wealthy, hereditary Countess. That struck me as odd, as I don’t think that English titles were passed on through the female line back then, but what do I know? Rinda falls in love with Rory, the son of her mother’s rival.

This second Dorinda risks everything to save her man at the Monmouth Rebellion. Sherwood kept repeating how brave, how bold, how valiant Rinda was to ride into battle and save Rory. It would have been nice to see it happen, not hear about it again and again. This story is kind of a letdown.

Of the third Dorinda, we hear about only in a summarized tale told to the fourth Dorinda.

It takes a generation to make a it, one to lose it, one to talk about it, and one to make it again.

The Main Story

The last half of the book deals with Dorinda IV, an indentured servant in Virginia. I liked this Dorinda and her cat, Lady Soft-Paws. Her story, while enjoyable, was uneven.

After her time as an indentured servant is over, Dorinda seeks adventure. She pretends to be a long-lost heiress to a plantation.

Two handsome men vie for her attention, although it’s obvious who the hero is. He is Tarn Jenner a man shrouded in mystery. He hides a secret identity, but we don’t know this until the end.

The characters play deceitful games, but this delightful plot point is squandered as Dorinda spends most of her time mooning over the villain.

Tarn Jenner, who is really a witty character, isn’t seen enough to be fully appreciated. The parts we do see are terrific but fleeting.

The back of the book claims:

“She was the Beauty… He was the Blade-dark debonair, the most dangerous highwayman to rove the colonial roads.”

And yet the highwayman portion is a tiny part of the story and only revealed in brief towards the end!

Final Analysis of Born to Love

The conclusion of Born to Love is wrapped up in a neat package. Although it’s left up to the imagination what the fate of the fifth Dorinda will be.

Sometimes I hate rating a book 4-stars, particularly when with just more care to detail and pacing, it could have been a 5-star read. Born to Love was a book that reached great highs and very middling lows.

Although I love her voice, this is a problem I’ve run into when reading Valerie Sherwood’s romances. Plus, she makes a great hero and sometimes doesn’t do much with him.

If I’m focusing too much on the negatives of this family saga it’s because this one could have been great, a book I loved. As it is, I just liked it very much.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
3.5
Writing
4
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4
Overall: 3.8

Synopsis

She was The Beauty — reckless Dorinda Meredith, heiress to the wind!

He was The Blade — dark, debonair, most dangerous of highwaymen to rove the colonial highroads.

A world of intrigue and danger stood between them, but they were star-crossed lovers — born to meet, born to clash, and Born to Love

Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood
CATEGORIES: , , , , , , , , , ,

***

the jacaranda tree outside

Historical Romance Review: The Jacaranda Tree by Rebecca Brandewyne

Step-back cover exterior & interior The Jacaranda Tree, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1995, Elaine Duillo cover artist

From the back of the book:

A sense of foreboding had gripped Arabella Darracott when she left England to join her guardian in Australia. Years before, a gypsy fortune-teller had told her of a purple blossomed tree, a far-off shore, and a devil of a man who awaited her there. Now, as she neared her destination, shipwreck and fate threw her into the arms of a rescuer, “Demon” Lucien Sinclair, the notorious ex-convict who had become rich in the gold fields of New South Wales. Lucien – wild and wickedly handsome – was the fallen archangel of her dreams. But the crime in his past was linked to a dangerous secret. And the passion awakened under the Jacaranda tree could cost Arabella her future, even her life…or give her Lucien forever to cherish, forever to love.

3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Jacaranda Tree was the last historical romance Rebecca Brandewyne published with Warner Books. After that, she wrote a few contemporaries, some paranormals, and a few gothic mysteries for Harlequin, before disappearing from the writing field entirely.

The plot is centered around an Englishwoman, Arabella Darracott, who is seeking employment in Australia. There, she finds love with a mysterious former convict named Lucien after they are shipwrecked together. Not just a love story, The Jacaranda Tree also a murder mystery written in Brandewyne’s gothic style.

Since I wrote this comment in my reading notes for The Jacaranda Tree: “This is RB’S Frankenstein, with plot points and verbatim scenes gutted from her previous books and stitched together into this one,” I’d figure I’d make a Frankensteinian review from my notes.

1) When I started The Jacaranda Tree by Rebecca Brandewyne, I figured I’d play a drinking game. Rebecca Brandewyne always repeated the same terms or clichés over and over in every book. This was is extremely repetitive. Grab your choice of poison and take a sip (or a guzzle) whenever you come upon of these words or phrases:

retroussé nose
-halcyon days
-gothic
-labyrinthine
-perditious
-mat/pelt of hair on his chest
-coppery taste of blood on lips
-Gypsy/ Gypsy curse
-sloe eyes
-sweeping moors
-bastard
-twilight dim
-of her own volition
-aquiline nose
-smoking a cheroot

I was on page 88 when I finished my second glass of sherry. (I have to justify it somehow and this is better than just ‘cuz I’m bored!)

2) If Jennifer Wilde is the king of the run-on-sentence, then Brandewyne is the queen of the subordinate clause!

3) Lots of info-dumping history/ecology lessons here… I know the author graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a Mensa member, but is this really necessary?

4) Arabella and Lucien make love. Then Arabella sees Lucien’s “Murderer’s Brand”… And now Lucien is now Michael Myers while Arabella does her best Jamie Lee Curtis imitation.

5) It was painfully obvious who the villain was and there tons of clichés throughout (the serial killer who put coins on the eyes of his victims, for example). Even so, it wasn’t bad. The love scenes were beyond purple prose, they were ultra-violet, yet I liked that. If this had been the first Brandewyne I’d read, I would have enjoyed it more.

6) Well, the bad point about this was that this was the worst Rebecca Brandewyne book I’ve ever read. The good thing is that this was still an ok novel, although not near her best. The Jacaranda Tree was my least favorite of Rebecca Brandewyne’s historicals, mainly because it was almost a verbatim regurgitation of conversations, plot points, and love scenes from other books (mostly from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor and Desperado). 

stormfire pino

Historical Romance Review: Stormfire by Christine Monson

historical romance review
Stormfire by Christine Monson
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1984
Illustrator: Pino
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Napoleonic Era Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 568
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Stormfire by Christine Monson

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

So, after a couple of decades of reading romance, in the early 2010s, I finally got around to Stormfire by the late Christine Monson.

Whew! They do not write them like this anymore. The ultimate in bodice-ripping, Stormfire, is a tale of two mentally unstable people and their violent, intense love. And it’s great!

The Most Controversial Bodice Ripper Ever?

The main attraction of Stormfire is its writing. If it were a poorly authored book, no one would still be talking about it 30-plus years after it was published.

The chapters each have titles such as “Silken Irons,” “Into Eden,” or “The Nadir.”

When Lady Catherine Elderly meets her captor, Sean Culhane, her first thoughts are of Milton’s poetry: 

“His form had not yet lost

All his original brightness, nor appeared

Less than Archangel ruined…” 

PARADISE LOST, JOHN MILTON

The prose is evocative and compelling, but not purple. We agonize over Catherine’s enslavement; we feel the angry passion between the lovers; we grieve Catherine’s loss and suffer from Sean’s torture.

How much misery can two people take?

There is an intense love/hate dynamic between the main characters that is the stuff of legends.

I wish writers of historical romances today wrote like this. Not necessarily the same plot lines, but with action and intensity that doesn’t delve into vulgarity.

To be honest, I wasn’t comfortable with a lot of things in the book. Regardless, Stormfire is enthralling. Even those who hate this book can’t say it’s boring.

The Plot

Sean Culhane kidnaps Catherine, the daughter of a British lord, seeking vengeance for wrongs committed against his people.

He keeps Catherine captive in his estate in Ireland, where he doesn’t hesitate to rape her before sending Catherine’s bloodied undergarments to her father.

While Catherine is an innocent pawn, she is not weak. She’s a fighter who will meet Sean’s cruelties with a will of iron.

You will not believe what these two go through, what they do to each other, or what they do to others. It’s incredible, but as I said, it’s Monson’s compelling skill at writing that makes this book so special.

His spirit, like the lonely, windswept sea, was ever-restless, ever-changing, sometimes howling down to savage the unyielding land, then caressing it with a lulling embrace, inevitably wearing away its resistance.

Then again, maybe I’m a sicko because I like the plot. Yes, it’s epic and melodramatic. There’s everything but the kitchen sink. That includes: kidnapping, rape, starvation, forced slavery, multiple marriages, miscarriage, insanity, beatings, brothers fighting for the same woman, incest, castration, forcible sodomy, murder…

So much happens here!

Perhaps it’s a bit too much in the last quarter, as Sean and Catherine needed some moments together introspecting rather than acting.

Final Analysis of Stormfire

There are many detractors of Christine Monson’s controversial bodice ripper. In its defense, I say this: Stormfire isn’t supposed to be a sweet romance. It’s an old-school historical romance novel, a bodice ripper, and I use the term with great affection.

It’s a fantasy.

A dark one, definitely. Then again, so too are the vampire, werewolf, bestiality, BDSM, step-dad/ stepbrother kink, and ménage fantasies of today. Books like Stormfire present a different kind of fantasy, where the most tremendous hate can transform into love.

Would this relationship work in real life? Probably not. That’s why it’s make-believe.

Stormfire is entertaining, emotional, and unforgettable. It falters a bit towards the end, so it’s not perfect.

This is not the best romance novel ever written, but for me, it’s up there.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4.5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
5
Overall: 4.7

Synopsis

Abducted on her way to boarding school, a terrified Catherine Enderly was brought from England to the coast of Ireland, the prisoner of the angry and powerful young Sean Culhane—a man sworn to vengeance against her family.

Frightened but defiant, the young countess met her captor with a strength that belied her fragile loveliness. But even as Sean vowed to have his revenge on Catherine, with each encounter he became more attracted to her. Her fiery innocence was a seduction that lured the passions of long smoldering hostility into a blazing inferno of desire.

Locked in a love-hate duel, he did not suspect that the captivating beauty who fought him with such tenacity was struggling desperately against her own awakened desires, and that his touch had become the burning reminder that the fierce hatred she felt for him had become an all-consuming love.

STORMFIRE by CHRISTINE MONSON

Download or Read Online at Book Vooks: Stormfire PDF Book by Christine Monson (1984)

love cherish me brandewyne

Historical Romance Review: Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne

historical romance review
Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Book Series: Aguilar's Fate #1
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Western Romance
Pages: 574
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

I first read Love, Cherish Me many years ago as a teenager, so it’s a long-time favorite.

You have to read this book as a lover of the genre because Rebecca Brandewyne is at her bodice-rippiest.

Rebecca Brandewyne, Author

What I loved about many of Rebecca Brandewyne’s past romances was their baroque style. For example, every so often, she’d pose on the back of the book wearing a dress similar to what the heroine wore on the front cover.

At the beginning of the novel, a poem detailed the love story. Then there was a great list of the cast of characters. The book was broken into several parts. Then to start, there was a prologue, often with the couple together. Finally, the epic novels ended with an epilogue.

And don’t forget the Elaine Duillo cover art. In the 1980s, that was practically de rigeur for a romance diva.

What can I say? I’ve always preferred intricate, elaborate heavy metal or progressive rock rather than streamlined, gritty punk. So it’s no surprise my taste in romances is no different.

The Plot

Part One

Love Cherish Me book is a great western saga. For that reason, you can expect it to be full of murder, sex, death, and trauma. Get your hankies out, because his one is a tearjerker!

The heroine is a Southern belle named Storm Aimee Lesconflair. The hero is a dark stranger people call “Lobo,” or Wolf. On her way out West to marry a stranger, her carriage is held up, and Storm is kidnapped. But her kidnappers make a fatal mistake.

Storm’s life is decided in a fatal card game played by Lobo and her abductors.

Before she knows it, she is violently pulled into the lone gambler/gunslinger’s life.

The tale is epic, set in the epic state of Texas. Storm finds herself in one harrowing situation after another. Villains almost rape her on multiple occasions, but Wolf is there to save her.

Wolf is a dark, sexy hombre of mysterious heritage. Not only does he speak fluent Spanish, but he knows the ways of the Comanche. He also dresses in nothing but black clothes, smokes cheroots, and calls Storm “baby.”

Part Two

For a while, Storm and Lobo have an idyllic life together before circumstances separate them.

Afterward, Storm is forced to make difficult choices to survive. She becomes the unwilling bride of a man she hates.

Then tragedy strikes. Storm is accused of and put on trial for murder.

And most tragically of all, she undergoes the worst pain a mother can feel.

Will she ever find her beloved again?

Final Analysis on Love Cherish, Me

Before finally being reunited with her soul mate, Storm must face the worst a woman can encounter.

Love Cherish, Me is a companion piece to And Gold Was Ours. The latter book was swashbucklingly fun but not as great as this.

The only Brandewyne book I like more than this is her Gothic romance reminiscent of Bronte’s Wuthering HeightsUpon a Moon-Dark Moor.

The conclusion to Love Cherish Me is bittersweet. The book ends with an epilogue of Storm, Lobo, and their family who skirt the fringes of acceptable society. Brandewyne created a masterpiece of a romance here.

Love, Cherish Me wrenches all sorts of emotions from the reader. As hard as it is to describe the complicated feelings it evoked, I am forever glad to have experienced them.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
4.5
Writing
5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.8

SYNOPSIS:

Storm was her name and her destiny… Born on a night when lightning flashed and thunder rolled, the raven-haired beauty was sixteen before the promise of her name became the path of her life… Born to wealth, the belle of five counties wagered away to a middle-aged rancher by her wastrel uncle. On her way to Texas to marry Gabriel North, she was captured by outlaws — and wagered away again by her captor to a blue-eyed bounty hunter, a dark-skinned gunslinger called El Lobo, the wolf. A man who could kill in cold blood, then take her with fire and tenderness when she whispered to him.

LOVE CHERISH ME by REBECCA BRANDEWYNE
DEVIL'S DESIRE

Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

historical romance review

Devil's Desire by Laurie McBain
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1975
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 428
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

For me, Devil’s Desire was an ok Regency romance written by Laurie McBain. It’s alright, but nothing special. From the writing, you can tell it’s a “first book.”

The back blurb claims Devil’s Desire “Plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate…

How I wish.

evil's desire hall back cover
Devil’s Desire, Back Cover
(I prefer the back illustration to the front)

The Plot

The bland heroine Elysia, is fleeing from bland, evil enemies. Lots of clichés abound, including:

  • The rakish hero, Lord Alex Trevegne (who’s really not that much of a rake)
  • An evil ex-mistress
  • A Cinderella heroine, Lady Elysia Demarice, with emerald-green eyes and red-gold hair, who’s the most beautiful lady in all of England, and pure as the driven snow. (Clichés in a review are appropriate for a book riddled with them!)
  • The heroine’s evil, greedy relatives

Lady Elysia has escaped from the clutches of said greedy relatives who would steal her fortune. Worse, they would marry her off to someone she wants nothing to do with.

For she is a woman of spirit and will not be controlled!

On the run, she meets the handsome Lord Trevegne, who falls in lust with her dazzling beauty. It’s the Devil and the deep blue sea for Elysia.

Marriage to Lord Trevigne would offer protection, but it will come at a price for Elysia’s independence.

“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.

My Opinion

I don’t know how Laurie McBain ever got categorized as a bodice-ripper author because she’s not. As she was one of the original Avon ladies from the 1970s, that label stuck to her.

Yes, some of her books were epic in scope, spanning years and/or continents, although not here in Devil’s Desire). However, in her books, there was never forced seduction by the hero, her heroines were virginal and didn’t bed-hop, and bodices were rarely–if ever–ripped.

Regardless, she deserves recognition as one of the first “old-school” romance pioneers, as her books influenced many authors and thrilled millions of readers.

Legend has it McBain co-wrote her novels with her father. It sounds kind of weird to be writing romance novels with your dad, but hey, that’s just me. After he passed away, she stopped publishing books.

Final Analysis of Devil’s Desire

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain was not a memorable read. Not bad, but so-so.

I much preferred her second novel, Moonstruck Madness, which is more well-known. It was more action-packed, with a heroine who’s quite colorful and courageous and a truly rakish hero.

2.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
2
Writing
3
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
2
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.7

Synopsis

[A] rousing, unforgettable saga that sweeps across the valleys and peaks of human destiny, the stormy alliance of beautiful young and plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate… Out of the turbulence of their clashing wills comes one of the greatest love stories ever written, as their twin passions mingle at last, in a rippling tide of liquid fire!” 

DEVIL’s DESIRE by LAURIE McBAIN
masquers-gignilliat

Historical Romance Review: The Masquers (aka Splendid Torment) by Natasha Peters

historical romance review
The Masquers (aka Splendid Torment) by Natasha Peters
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Elaine Gignilliat
Published by: Ace
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Renaissance Era Romance
Pages: 475
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: The Masquers (aka Splendid Torment) by Natasha Peters

The Book

Natasha Peters’ Splendid Torment–originally published as The Masquers–takes us to late 18th-century Venice. It is the world of Fosca Loredan, a titian-haired young noblewoman who is trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older nobleman.

It’s an unusual romance, in the style of Bertrice Small sans purple-prose: part bodice ripper, part historical fiction, replete with swashbuckling and political intrigue.

The Plot

Two heroes are vying for Fosca’s attention. There is Raffaelo: an atheist, revolutionary, bastard Jew. The other is Alessandro, a middle-aged, philandering, anti-Semite politician.

But this love triangle is in reality a quadrangle. The fourth player is Lia, a woman who will do anything with anyone to save her true love.

Besides this adulterous entanglement, the book has several highlights. They include a Dynasty-style catfight, a Sapphic May-December love affair, and an omniscient dowager who hasn’t left her bed in 20 years. And oh yes a singing eunuch and a cross-dressing, dancing dwarf!

One gripe: Fosca’s inability to think with anything other than her hoo-hoo is frustrating. The girl is recklessly horny and could well have benefited from a chastity belt.

In fact, they all could have used one. These guys got around!

splendid torment the masquers
Splendid Torment, Natasha Peters, Ace, Elaine Gignilliat

Final Analysis of The Masquers (aka Splendid Torment)

The Masquers is the third Natasha Peters romance I’ve read. The others being Dangerous Obsession and Savage Surrender. I enjoyed them all. She skillfully wove history with melodrama and created flawed, yet all-too-real characters in over-the-top scenarios.

Despite being morally repugnant, all the players in this game captured my sympathy. As such, I was both saddened and pleasantly surprised at the result of the love triangle. There was one hero I cared for who was left behind, while the other got his unexpected happy ending.

This epic drama spans decades as characters are too proud and stubborn to communicate, thus leading to their own downfalls. Characters rarely tell the truth to themselves or others, hiding behind their Carnival masks.

But what a dazzling Carnival it is.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.3

Synopsis

Venice. A city of intrigue, a city of beauty, a city of exquisite sensuality….

In the late 18th century, during the days of a dying aristocracy, of never-ending Carnival and unbridled licentiousness, Venice teems with mystery and immorality. Gondolas glide soundlessly through narrow canals, carrying masked lovers to secret trysts, while cicisbei play court to bored noblewomen.

Such a woman is the magnificently beautiful Fosca Loredan. Her husband, Alessandro, is the ambitious leader of the aristocracy. Her lover is the bold revolutionary, Rafaello Leopardi – Alessandro’s deadliest enemy.

The flaunting of their passion before her husband’s eyes leads to imprisonment, exile, and treason.

Raf, Alessandro, Fosca – a triangle that sizzles with the heat of passion, that fire of hate; a triangle of emotional torture and delight that could happen only in the treacherous, the beautiful, the sensual city of Venice.

THE MASQUERS (aka SPLENDID TORMENT) by NATASHA PETERS
the taming deveraux

Historical Romance Review: The Taming by Jude Deveraux

historical romance review
The Taming by Jude Deveraux
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Lisa Falkenstern
Book Series: Peregrine #1
Published by: Pocket Books
Genres: Historical Romance, Medieval Romance
Pages: 311
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: The Taming by Jude Deveraux

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

The Taming by Jude Deveraux was a rare clunker from this talented author. This medieval romance was not a one-star read due to the valiant, terrific heroine. She deserved a better book and hero than the one she got!

As a teen, I loved Jude Deveraux’s books and devoured them like candy corn.

I loved the spicy dynamic between her heroes and heroines. However, the one hero I HATED more than any was Rogan in The Taming–even more than Gavin in The Velvet Promise!

The Plot

The Taming is the opposite of Highland Velvet, where the hero works his butt off to make his wife happy. Here, the wife works her fingers to the bone to help her lazy husband and his annoying siblings.

Sir Rogan Peregrine needs a wealthy wife and Lady Liana Neville needs a husband. She is a wealthy heiress. His castle is in disrepair, and his family–a younger brother and sister–run wild. They’re two attractive people, so you expect some sexy antics to occur.

They do after Rogan stops being such a swine, but why would I want a great heroine to settle for a loser like Rogan?

Rogan was such a lazy jerk with mistresses aplenty. He had one for each day of the week. Seriously. He named each woman after each day, as he couldn’t be bothered to remember their real names.

Liana loved him, but he did not deserve her.

Liana was a resilient lady who worked hard to make her husband’s castle a livable place. I remember reading that the moat was so clogged with excrement and how it stank up, and nobody cared! Gross!

Plus Rogan had no charisma. A hero can be a jerk, oblivious, or even a pompous arse at times, but charm goes a long way.

Final Analysis of The Taming

The Taming got me so angry I didn’t even bother to read the sequel! And back then I read all of Jude Deveraux’s books!

2 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
2
Characters
1.5
Writing
3
Chemistry
2
Fun Factor
2.5
Cover
3
Overall: 2.3

Synopsis

England’s most valiant knights paid court to wealthy Liana Neville, but only the infamous warrior Rogan Peregrine made no secret of his powerful desires. His very caress melted Liana into liquid fire, and she vowed to capture this manificent, wild man. Boldly the delicate beauty gave him her hand — and Britain’s richest dower. Yet he was bound to a bitter feud: for love betrayed, brothers killed, and ancestral land usurped. In Rogan’s war-ravaged castle, Liana would lay her tender seige…to redeem his embattled spirit and win his untamed heart!

The Taming by Jude Deveraux
Across a Starlit Sea duillo gallo

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne

BOOK-REVIEW-gothic
Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Melissa Duillo-Gallo
Book Series: Highclyffe Hall #2
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Gothic Romance, Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Across a Starlit Sea was a tempestuous romance written by Rebecca Brandewyne.

This was a sequel to one of my most beloved love stories, Upon a Moon-Dark Moor.

Also notable is this was one of the rare Brandewyne novels with Warner Books that was not illustrated by Elaine Duillo. Instead, her daughter Melissa Duillo-Gallo painted the cover.

Across A Starlit Sea, Rebecca Brandewyne, Dorchester, 2002 Reissue, cover artist TBD

The Plot

The Cornish coast setting of Across a Starlit Sea was appropriate for dark, gothic feel to this historical romance. I enjoyed the first-person narrative in both installments of this series.

The heroines told their life stories on detail: their youths, their first loves, true loves, their married lives with children, and finally into old age. Expect to see Brandewyne’s standard purple-prose writing and in-depth descriptions of history.

Laura was betrothed at birth to Jarrett, the eldest son of Maggie & Draco, the protagonists from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor. The trouble is that she’s been in love with his younger brother, Nicholas, since childhood..

The brothers battle for Laura’s love, but it’s soon evident that Jarrett is the hero who is worthy of her affection.

The way Jarrett won Laura over was so beautifully portrayed. He was an enigmatic, reserved man, but so full of confidence, charisma, and compassion. How could she possibly resist him in the end?

The children of the secondary characters from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor are quite relevant in this book, including Lizzie and Thorne, cousins to Laura, Jarrett, and Nicky.

Lizzie and Thorne have been raised as heirs to Chandler Hall and look down upon their lesser relations, even as Lizzie lusts after Nicky.

Even her brother Thorne had the hots for Nicholas. He hated Laura because Nicholas wanted her so much–and not him!

Nicholas was quite a scoundrel because he had an affair with Thorne’s wife and various other women. This would wreak consequences for the entire Chandler family.

There were so many tragedies in this story (and its prequel). The sacrifices Laura makes to preserve her family are noble, and the ending, while a happy one, is bittersweet.

For the heart is not a candle that, once lit, can be extinguished at will, but a fragile, foolish thing, all too easily wounded, all too slow to heal.

ACROSS A STARLIT SEA

Final Analysis of Across a Starlit Sea

Across a Starlit Sea was to be the second book in Rebecca Brandewyne’s Highclyffe Hall Trilogy about the Chandler family. Brandewyne intended to write a third book about Laura’s son, Rhodes, but never did.

I’ve been waiting for over 30 years for it to come out, and I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. ☹

Across a Starlit Sea is a wonderful book, at times quite the tearjerker. More heart-wrenching is its prequel, Upon A Moon-Dark Moor, which was one of my favorite Brandewyne novels.

I’ll have to use my imagination about the outcome of the series, but I know that no matter what ominous circumstances face the family, love will win out in the end.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.1

Synopsis

She was caught in a whirlwind of passion…Between two men, two brothers, and two fates

As the wind tossed her tangled locks, Laura Prescott looked out into a future as bleak as the savage moors. The only daughter of a sea captain, Laura was betrothed to the master of Stormswept Heights. But it wasn’t Jarrett Chandler who came to her in dreams; it was his impetuous younger brother Nicholas.

Now, standing on the jagged Cornish cliffs, Laura let her tears fall, for she could not foresee a time when she would tremble beneath her husband’s hungry kisses. Nor could she know that a spoiled maiden and a scoundrel schemed for her ruin. All she could do was rush blindly into desire’s mad embrace, toward a destiny decreed by irresistible love… 

ACROSS A STARLIT SEA by REBECCA BRANDEWYNE
heart so wild

Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Book Series: Stratton Family #1
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

I just realized I had Johanna Lindsey‘s western romance A Heart So Wild on my Kindle. Since I hadn’t read it in 25 years, I figured why not give it a re-read?

And you know what? I loved this book more the second time around than the first.

The Plot

Why did I enjoy A Heart So Wild that much?

  • Heroine & hero “meet” when the heroine, Courtney, is getting sexually assaulted by an outlaw. What does the hero do? He sees a man messing with a woman and right away shoots the bad guy dead.
  • Enigmatic hero with a mysterious and tragic past.
  • The heroine needs a gunslinger to guide her through hostile Indian territory to find her missing father.
  • The hero, Chandos, fights, beats, and kills men who try to kidnap or try to rape the heroine.
  • A snakebite where the heroine sucks the blood out of the hero’s wound for an hour (!), and then he gets sick, revealing more in his fever dreams than he would if he was fine.
  • Quick love scenes that express passion, aren’t too purple in prose, and don’t go on for endless pages.

This western trek romance takes us through the deserts and wilderness as Courtney and Chandos travel to find her long-lost father. A Heart So Wild is more of a character-driven than a plot-driven romance, which is fine by me.

I’m so glad I gave this one a reread, as it made me remember why for such a long time, Johanna Lindsey was my favorite author: she’s easy to read. Sometimes reading is a chore, and it shouldn’t be if it’s a hobby I supposedly love.

The Characters

Courtney is a pleasant enough type. She grows on you as the story develops. And Chandos is just… Well, he’s the kind of hero that made Lindsey sell tens of millions of books.

He’s a hard nut to crack, but once Chandos falls, he falls hard and forever. Still, he retains that stubborn arrogance that was a trademark of the heroes in the first half of Lindey’s career.

“You’re my woman, cateyes. You’ve been my woman since I first laid eyes on you.”

That didn’t satisfy her. “Say it!”

He grinned and jerked her down onto his lap, where she sat stiffly, waiting, until at last he said, “I love you. Is that what you want to hear? I love you so much I’ve got no direction without you.”

“Oh, Chandos.” She melted against him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I love—”

“Uh-uh.” He stopped her. “You better think real carefully before you say anything, cateyes, because if you give me your love, I’m not going to let you take it back. I can’t keep worrying about whether or not I can make you happy. I’ll try my best but there isn’t going to be any changing your mind later. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you’re going to be my woman, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever let you go.”

Final Analysis of A Heart So Wild

Chandos is a wonderful Lindsey hero. Courtney is a likable, strong-willed heroine. Together they make for a sizzling combination.

Johanna Lindsey would revisit Courtney and Chandos in All I Need Is You, which tells the tale of their bounty-hunter daughter. That book was okay.

A Heart So Wild is one of Lindsey’s best, of which there are many!

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.6

Synopsis:

Courtney Harte is certain her missing father is a alive, lost somewhere deep in Indian territory. But she needs a guide to lead her safely through this dangerous, unfamiliar country, someone as wild and unpredictable as the land itself. And that man is the gunslinger they call Chandos.

Courtney fears this enigmatic loner whose dark secrets torture his soul, yet whose eyes, bluer than the frontier sky, enflame the innocent, determined lady with wanton desires. But on the treacherous path they have chosen they have no one to trust but each other–as shared perils to their lives and hearts unleash turbulent, unbridled, passions that only love can tame.

A HEART SO WILD by JOHANNA LINDSEY
CATEGORIES: , , , , , , , ,

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