Captive Ecstasy, the first book by Elaine Barbieri, is unique in that it features four possible love interests for the heroine, and all the men are written with strong emotions.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Captive Ecstasy by Elaine Barbieri
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Amber #0.5
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Pioneer or Frontier Romance, Romance with Rape Element, Bodice Ripper, Native American Romance, Forced Seduction
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
MILD SPOILERS 😉
This review is of Captive Ecstasy by Elaine Barbieri, originally published by Zebra in 1980.
In 1757, during the French-Indian War, Fort William Henry is under attack by French troops. Among those in the fort is Amanda Starkweather, 16, the heroine of the book.
In the course of the book, Amanda comes into contact with four men. They are: Robert Handley, an American soldier; Adam Carstairs, a trapper and soldier; Chingue, an Abnaki Indian; and Suckahokus, another Abnaki Indian.
Adam rescues Amanda after she is attacked and left for dead. He falls in love with Amanda during their time together. Later, Chingue kidnaps her, and Amanda falls in love with him. As for Suckahokus, he falls in love with Amanda, but she doesn’t return his feelings.
Amanda and Chingue marry and have a child. However, she comes into contact with Adam, Robert, and Suckahokus at different times throughout the novel.
As the book goes on, Amanda experiences a myriad of emotions, both good and bad, and eventually finds her Happily Ever After.
Which of the four men does she find happiness with? For the answer to that question, you’ll have to read the book.
The four primary characters–Amanda, Adam, Robert, and Chingue–are all written in a way that their emotions are on display.
This is very unusual for a debut book. Even more unusual is for an author to write male characters who display their emotions so openly. I was impressed, in particular, with how Ms. Barbieri allowed her male characters to display vulnerability, something a lot of authors don’t allow.
The book is very well-researched about the French and Indian War and about Abnaki culture and language.
Ms. Barbieri sacrifices character development for emotion. The characters aren’t written deeply, although their emotions do come through strongly.
The romance between Chingue and Amanda is very “Stockholm Syndrome.”
The book is 432 pages long but contains only eight chapters. Some of the chapters are 70 to 80 pages long. There are perspective jumps in the chapters, but spacing and pacing could be improved.
There are a few scenes, most of which are fairly descriptive but not really hot or erotic.
Given the fact that the book is set during the French and Indian War, there is a good deal of violence. Shootings, killings, assaults, rape. The violence is semi-graphic.
Bottom Line on Captive Ecstasy
Captive Ecstasy is a very interesting book. It is not spectacular (in addition to the “downside” comments above, the book’s tone is somber and depressing), but for the most part, the positives outweigh the negatives.
I found this to be one of the books I liked by Ms. Barbieri. Her later works are more hit-and-miss for me.
|Rating Report Card|
From the moment Amanda laid eyes on the Indian imprisoned at the fort, she felt compassion for him, but she never imagined that she would soon become his captive. At first the lovely young colonial was terrified of the dark stranger, but then she saw the proud and gentle man beneath the savage. And in his powerful arms she discovered passion beyond her wildest dreams. But their rapturous bliss would meet its tragic end when two men from Amanda’s past came to rescue her:
Robert — He had been her fiance and her first love, and would defend his claim to her no matter what the cost.
Adam — He had once saved her life, and even now she was drawn to him in a way she could not understand.
Torn between a forbidden love and returning to her past in a society no longer her own, Amanda had to decide where her feelings lay. For only when she followed her heart would she free herself from her … Captive EcstasyCaptive Ecstasy by Elaine Barbieri
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