Category Archives: year 1978

Dangerous Obsession natasha peters

Historical Romance Review: Dangerous Obsession by Natasha Peters

Dangerous Obsession by Natasha Peters
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Don Stivers
Book Series: Culhane Duo #2
Published by: Ace
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 630
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Dangerous Obsession by Natasha Peters

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Dangerous Obsession is the sequel to Natasha Peters‘ first epic bodice ripper romance, Savage Surrender.

However, don’t feel you need to read one to be comfortable reading the other. The relationship between the two books is not revealed until midway through this 630-page epic.

The Set-Up

Like so many great bodice rippers of epic scope, Dangerous Obsession takes us through various years and continents. It spans twelve years in the life of Rhawnie, the blonde daughter of a gypsy and a Russian noblewoman.

American Seth Garrett has business to deal with in Russia. There, he will meet Rhawnie, and there begins a rocky love story that will span continents and years.

The Plot and the Characters

The Heroine, Rhawnie

Rhawnie is not a simpering, treacly-sweet girl or spunky, foot-stamping heroine. She lies for the hell of it: to strangers, to the people she loves, to herself! Rhawnie even lies on her (near) deathbed!

She is an unrepentant thief. Early on Rhawnie is caught stealing from an innkeeper and Seth, the hero, is forced to remove the purloined items hidden under her petticoats: a bottle of vodka, a wheel of cheese, a large loaf of bread, several sausages, a large knife, and a whole chicken!

When caught red-handed, she denies ever touching the stuff and accuses the innkeeper of framing her. In this, Rhawnie reminds me a bit of my daughter, [Note: she was 7 when I originally wrote this review] who lives by the motto: “Admit nothing, deny everything and make counter-accusations.”

Rhawnie is not a mere mortal. She is beautiful, a professional thief, a fortune-teller, a gambler, and card cheat, and a baroness.

Men duel and die over her. She is mistress to a king, a threat to a nobleman’s power, a world-famous singer, a saloon owner, the savior of an orphan, and a wronged woman.

Last and most of all, Rhawnie is the love object of two brothers, who are as opposite as day and night.

“You will travel far to find love, only to find that love has traveled with you.”

The Hero, Seth

The male protagonist, Seth Garrett, is a piece of work, and it took me a long time to warm up to him.

He’s no Sean Culhane or Duke Domenico, but he’s both cruel and vicious and unfeeling and cold. He wins the right to Rhawnie’s virginity in a card game but passes on the offer, as she is only 14 or 15. Her lecherous, older uncle then, in angry retaliation, beats and kicks Rhawnie while Seth just sort of stands there.

Then when her uncle rapes her a few pages later, Seth is too late to save her–even though he’s in the next room and can hear what’s going on!

He destroys any chance Rhawnie has for legitimacy in Paris society by publicly claiming her as his mistress.

And the evil Seth inflicts upon Rhawnie in Chapter 10 simply calls for a karmic justice that never occurs.

But…he does properly declare himself at the end (if that redemption/groveling arc matters to you). He gives himself completely to Rhawnie.

Seth is not perfect, but neither is Rhawnie, so together, they are perfect.

The Good and the Bad

Dangerous Obsession is written in the first person, but as Rhawnie is a great narrator, with so many wonderful quips and observations, this did not detract. There was an appropriate blend of action and introspection, but no excessive self-absorption of feeling too often found in modern romances.

However, the action does get a bit too much at the end. The book is a hefty door-stopper and Natasha Peters could have cut it 75 to 50 pages shorter.

Rhawnie and Seth embark on a search for Seth’s missing sister that takes them through the American west.

They get on TWO different boats that explode and sink into the river. Seth gets injured, and Rhawnie nurses him back to life. Rhawnie gets cholera, so Seth has to nurse her back to life (on a regiment of camphor, cannabis, and caviar, no less)!

They travel for months through the mountains and have many misadventures; she survives a great fire, gets kidnapped, gets addicted to laudanum, gets rescued…

And before you know it–whew! It’s over.

Final Analysis of Dangerous Obsession

Natasha Peters’ Dangerous Obsession was so close to perfect. It’s such a shame that, like so many bodice rippers, in the end, it falters under its own hefty weight.

Nevertheless, I’m rounding my initial 4.5-star rating up to a 5 solely on the basis of the heroine, Rhawnie, who is all kinds of awesome.

5 Stars

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

Synopsis:

She was daring and defiant; tender and wanton. She was child; she was woman. she was Rhawnie.

From a starving gypsy in Russia to an exotic demi-mondaine in Paris to a countess in Bavaria to a sensation in New York from a survivor in the western wilderness to a card shark in San Francisco — such were the heights and depths of existence for Rhawnie.

Her wit, her cunning, her beauty, the sensuous delights she performs to well protect her even as they cause her agony and shame. For deep in her soul is a love for a man, a man who has brought her only degradation and heartbreak.

Wherever she goes, whatever she does, Rhawnie cannot escape Seth Garrett. The constant ache for his arms, the ever present need for the fires of passion he alone can ignite, and his relentless pursuit of her have made her his prisoner. Across continents fleeing danger and death, Rhawnie runs…from this man…from herself…until she knows that with a love so powerful, a love so shameless, she can do nothing but surrender!

DANGEROUS OBSESSION by NATASHA PETERS
charlotte amanda douglas copeland

Historical Romance Review: Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass

historical romance review
Charlotte Rating: one-star
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Charles Copeland
Imprint or Line: Belmont Tower
Genres: Historical Romance, Civil War Romance
Pages: 239
Format: Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass is…

It’s a…

Well, it’s a book.

The best thing about this circa 1978 quasi-bodice ripper is the Newport cigarettes ad in the middle of it:

 photo Newport ad.jpg Charlotte

The Plot

Charlotte takes place during the American Civil War in New York City beginning in 1863 or 1864 (both dates are given). For a historical book, it’s historical, but for a romance, the romance is lacking.

This book is only 239 pages long, but the hero doesn’t make an entrance until page 144. And he is missing-in-action for most of it. The back blurb tells you the entire plot of this dreck.

The first 100 pages or so mainly focus on the heroine’s brother, Richard. He is a debauched reprobate who parties for days on alcohol and opium binges.

What else? Oh, he sleeps with a married actress and has a threesome with a teenage bargirl and her 33-year-old mother. Then he participates in the Draft Riots by beating up cops and burning down an orphanage for young Black children. Finally, he deflowers the new virgin maid. He’s an asshole but at least he did something.

The only reason I kept reading this dull book was to relish Richard’s eventual comeuppance. Which he got, but it wasn’t horrible enough.

As for romance? I wasn’t kidding when I said there was none.

Final Analysis of Charlotte

Forget about this one. I already have.

(PS) I searched the web and so far, I only see one copy of Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass for sale for $49.95. Whoever is selling it should pay YOU $49.95 to get it off their hands. Yes, it’s that bad of a book!

1 Star


Synopsis:

Lovely young Charlotte Bourne was the apple of her father’s eyes and a belle of New York society. The onset of the War Between the States introduced her to young Liam Brady, whom her dissolute brother Richard had hired to serve as his substitute in the Union Army. Liam and Charlotte fall deeply in love, but before they could marry, Charlotte had to come to terms with her turbulent feelings for the two other men in her life. The raging Civil War echoed the conflict in Charlotte’s heart…

CHARLOTTE by AMANDA HART DOUGLASS
thistoweringpassion

Historical Romance Review: This Towering Passion by Valerie Sherwood

historical romance review
This Towering Passion by Valerie Sherwood
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Jim Dietz
Book Series: Lenore and Geoffrey #1
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Cavalier Era Romance, Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 509
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: This Towering Passion by Valerie Sherwood

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Lovely red-gold-haired, violet-eyed Lenore is the female protagonist of Valerie Sherwood’s This Towering Passion and the primary heroine of its sequel, Her Shining Splendor, which tells the tale of both Lenore and her daughter, Lorena, from the English Civil War to the Restoration eras.

Lenore’s beauty is of little use to her because while she can get a man, she has trouble keeping him.

The Plot

Part One

First, in This Towering Passion–as is standard in a Sherwood novel–the heroine gets together with her first lover, who’s a typical hunky block of wood. Lenore becomes infatuated with the hottest guy in town, a big blond stud who’s a charismatic black hole.

Although he’s a mite too friendly with other ladies, he and Lenore get handfasted.

But, alas, he leaves Lenore behind, looking for adventure by fighting against the English army. Lenore, who has no one else in the world, won’t be left all alone. She seeks him out, only to find he’s killed in action.

Meanwhile, the dashing Cavalier, Geoffrey Wyndham, is on the run himself after losses in battle.

He and Lenore meet on the road. Within hours of finding Lenore’s “husband’s” dead body and with Roundhead troops hunting them down, Geoffrey says: “What the hell, life’s too short!” He takes what he wants from Lenore.

And oh, does she like it! He’s so much better than old what’s-his-name ever was!

Geoffrey and Lenore move to Oxford, where they live as husband and wife under the last name Daunt, although they are unmarried.

Then the anvils start dropping: Lenore is pregnant, but Geoffrey is a married man! So their baby is doomed to illegitimacy.

After a semi-sweet idyll, reality intrudes. Blond baby Lorena doesn’t look a thing like Geoffrey… Oops!

There’s no Maury Povich in the 17th century to help a brother out. Hasn’t anyone ever told these folks that just like baby birds, many human children can have fair (or even dark hair) that changes color over time? Well, Geoffrey’s not going to stick around long enough to find out. Our hero is splitsville.

Part Two

Lenore gives Lorena to her “husband’s” sister to raise while she searches for a better life in London.

Lenore takes to the stage only to find she is no superstar. Not when Nell Gwynn is her competition. Nell takes advantage of Charity’s inability to perform one night and upstages her completely, drawing the eye of King Charles.

If you thought it would be Lenore who’d end up as the King’s mistress, history shows you’d be wrong. An aspect of Valerie Sherwood’s books that I enjoyed is even though her heroines would be stunning, there could always be another woman–usually an adversary–who was just as lovely or more so.

A sobering reminder that no matter how great a person may be, there’s someone else who can outshine them. I appreciate that Lenore is not the “bestest ever.” She is simply an all-too-human character with depth and failings.

Despite having been abandoned, Lenore is faithful to Geoffrey’s memory and is known as “Mistress Chastity” and the “Iron Virgin.” So no more sex romps here, although there were some fun catfights with Nell Gwynn and Lady Castlemaine.

The conclusion of the book reunites the lovers. However, there are plenty of loose ends: Geoffrey’s calculating wife; what will happen to Lenore’s child; and what happens to Christopher, a Cavalier gentleman who is an ardent admirer of Lenore.

Final Analysis of This Towering Passion

One flaw of This Towering Passion is there was not enough going on with Geoffrey! He’s missing in action for the latter half of the book as Lenore experiences her own adventures. I wanted to see more of him, for, unlike Lenore’s first love, he was a debonair leading man who’s hard to forget.

I had a good time reading this one. But at its main draw–Geoffrey–was out of the picture for a substantial period of time, it was far from flawless. That’s always a common complaint I have with Sherwood: I want more of the hero and less filler.

Unfortunately, 500-plus pages of old-time tiny font weren’t enough for the long-winded Sherwood to tell all of Geoffrey and Lenore’s story. So it’s on to that 600-page sequel to find out what happens…

(Someday)

4 Stars

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

They called her “Angel” when she rode bareback into the midst of battle to find her lover.

They called her “Mistress Daunt” when she lived with Geoffrey in Oxford, though she wore no ring on her finger.

Wherever she traveled men called her Beauty. Her name was Lenore – and she answered only to “Love.”

This Towering Passion by Valerie Sherwood
purity's ecstasy harry bennett

Historical Romance Review: Purity’s Ecstasy by Janette Seymour

SYNOPSIS:

A novel of stolen embraces beneath blazing skies of war, of desire that sweeps across turbulent seas from England to Algiers, of a beautiful woman enslaved by lawless pirate corsairs…a woman bound by no law but endless love.

PURITY’S ECSTASY by JANETTE SEYMOUR

SPOILER ALERT

Youth and beauty were her sole assets on Earth.

PURITY’S ECSTASY

The Book

Like many other late 1970s to early 1980’s bodice rippers, John Michael Butterworth’s (aka Janette Seymour) second entry into his Purity trilogy, Purity’s Ecstasy, is fun. It’s a tawdry, rollicking ride filled with just about every ‘ripper trope and then some.

The Setup

In the previous book Purity’s Passion, Purity survived the French Revolution, and then she was made the ward of the enigmatic and barely-there Mark Landless, with whom she fell madly in love. However, she overcame numerous obstacles before getting her man (namely other men).

The same is–more or less–the case with this sequel.

Here Mark is presumed dead after being captured by pirates. Purity knows in her heart Mark is still alive, and she will do whatever whomever she has to do to find him.

The Plot

Alas, Purity has to search for employment after her cruel in-laws kick her out to the street. In her own words, her “youth and beauty were her sole assets on Earth,” so what’s a girl to do? Put those assets to work!

And… oh… my… God…

Not even halfway through this romp, there were more trashy elements here than the previous five ‘rippers I’d read combined. There was lots of kidnapping, lots of rape-and/or-forced seduction, a female pirate, regular pirates, eunuchs, male virgins, lesbian orgies, multi-racial gang-bangs, whippings, bigamy, and amnesia…

Yet, it was so tastefully done—nary a peep of manhoods, members, or dewy petals here. There were plenty of water-based euphemisms to disguise the naughtiness. Still, it had plenty of titillation.

Purity is thrown into the ravishing clutches of the evil pirate/slave-trader called El Diablo, The Devil. He hides a shocking true identity. For he is the same minister she knew back home in England. Her local friend, Reverend Mauleverer, is the evil pirate/slave-trader, El Diablo.

Debauched by an older boy at Eton, ordained as a man of the cloth at Oxford, the mild-seeming minister reveals to Purity that it was he who kidnapped her husband. He who led the Corsair fleet in the Mediterranean. It was he who took Purity into slavery. And he who ravished her.

And Purity had no clue who he was? This girl is seriously lacking in IQ and EQ.

But as bad as it gets, no naughty escapades and no thrilling, charismatic villains will ever prevent Purity from being with her dull, bland, zero-personality-having soulmate!

Final Analysis on Purity’s Ecstasy

Purity’s Ecstasy was, for the most part, an entertaining romp. Although a romance, it was not!

I don’t know if I will read book #3 (Purity’s Shame) in the series. I assume more of the same will occur. Namely, that Purity and her beloved are separated by mysterious forces. She will have to use her gold-plated “poon” as currency to get back to zero-personality-having, dull-gray Mark.

Just like she always does.

3.5 Stars

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
moment of desire

Historical Book Review: Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes

historical romance review
Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrave Payes
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Alan Reingold
Published by: Playboy Press
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Georgian Era Romance
Pages: 412
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Book Review: Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrave Payes might be an aberration, both for her–I wasn’t fond of The Coach To Hell, the other Cosgrove Payes book I read–and the historical romance genre.

An Anti-Heroine?

This romp was published by Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Press. The company churned out bodice-ripping romances and schlocky sci-fi well into the ’70s and early ’80s, part of the second golden era of pulpy trash. And yes, this book is trashy.

Its heroine is so conniving, so cunning, and so single-minded in her pursuits of love and revenge that she made me love this book beyond all logical reason.

After a couple of decades of reading romance, I can’t say I’ve encountered too many heroines like Melusina Wilton, and that’s a damn shame.

The Set Up

Moment of Desire begins as 14-year-old Mellie Wilton, a buxom, blue-eyed blonde, tries to catch the eye of a much older nobleman at a violent bear-baiting.

She worries that her dress may not be low-cut enough to obtain his prurient interest. Unlike other heroines in Romancelandia, Mellie doesn’t bat an eyelid at the sight of animal cruelty. She indifferently laments the fact that she has no money to gamble. (Despite modern perspectives, that’s what bear baitings were for, after all!)

Mellie is youthfully self-centered and cares only for her pleasure.

She lives at the English court, as her mother is a lady-in-waiting to German King George’s wife.

Unfortunately for Mellie, her mother is a real lusty tramp, screwing around with married lords and pissing off their wives. Mellie’s mother shags the wrong woman’s husband, and not even the Queen will aid them.

So Mellie, her mother, and their loyal maid are thrown out into the streets.

The Tawdry Plot

Tragic events result in Mellie being forced to sell her body in a brothel. To her joy (and then horror), her first customer is her beloved crush, who, to her dismay, proves to be no hero.

For months Mellie plies her trade and learns how to entice a man beyond all reason. Meanwhile, Mellie dreams of one day finding her true hero: a man who will take her out of her life of whoredom, bring her to his mansion, drape her in fancy clothes and jewelry and love her faithfully.

And she does. But there is a catch…

Mellie is bought by her beloved john, not for himself, but to wed his openly gay son and be a broodmare for grandchildren. The young son despises Mellie and is accompanied everywhere by his handsome tutor, who’s not so keen on Mellie himself. Despite it all, Mellie sympathizes with her unwilling husband; she may be a tough bitch, but she’s not a heartless one.

What About the Hero?

This is a story of the young, sexy, voluptuous, blonde former hooker finding true love with her older sugar daddy. As a hero, Ritchie Jamison, Earl of Henning, isn’t as fun as Mellie, but he’s no jerk.

Despite a reputation for being a ladies’ man, he doesn’t sleep with anyone other than the heroine. He’s handsome, mature, and rich, although sort of dim and dull.

But because Mellie loves him and Mellie’s so great, I desperately wanted her to get her man!

Who Cares! The Heroine Is the Star of the Book

What is so terrific about Mellie?

Everything! She is who she is, complex yet straightforward. Those she loves are fiercely protected, but those who have wronged her better watch out!

She ends up in ridiculously harrowing situations and plots her way out of them, skillfully succeeding. Mellie is no swooning, foot-stomping, virginal heroine who waits for the hero to save the day.

She kills without flinching. She fights for her man, and the way Mellie plots revenge and crushes her adversaries in such a cruel and calculating manner, it’s such evil fun!

I don’t want to spoil the shock. I was astonished that a heroine could be so remorseless!

Final Analysis of Moment of Desire

Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes was full of amusing spectacles, like a glitzy old-time soap opera.

One quibble, though: the last few chapters are a bit anticlimactic as Mellie has disposed of all her enemies, and there is just one more hurdle to mount before she can find happiness. But if anyone deserves it, she does.

As in the words 1980’s English “pop tart” Samantha Fox: “Naughty girls need love too!”

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 4.6

Synopsis

Beautiful, spirited young Mellie Wilton thought the handsome Earl of Henning was going to rescue her from her degrading life in London and take her to his wealthy estate in Kent because he wanted her for his wife. When he tricked her into marrying his son so that he would have an heir to his fortune, Mellie became enraged. Tormented by a husband who could never love her, yet consumed with desire for the man who had deceived her, Mellie was filled with a burning need for fulfillment and revenge.

MOMENT OF DESIRE by RACHEL COSGROVE PAYES
CATEGORIES: , , , , , , ,

***

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
Passion's Proud Captive

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
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