Ecstasy’s Treasure by Jean Haught gets better in the second half after a lackluster first, but the ending is too rushed to create a satisfying narrative.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Ecstasy’s Treasure by Jean Haught
Illustrator: Walter Popp
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Forced Seduction
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Ecstasy’s Treasure, a Civil War Bodice Ripper
Ecstasy’s Treasure begins during the Civil War, where we meet the “hero” of the book, Kyle Brenner. Kyle is a special agent working for the Union government.
While dining in a restaurant, Kyle meets Paige DuPree. Paige, a Southerner, is fired from her job at the restaurant due to a misunderstanding. Kyle later saves Paige from being raped by two miscreants. Ironically, he rapes her soon after when she attempts to rob him.
Paige needs money to get to her uncle, Oscar DuPree, in Louisiana. She is alone and orphaned, as her parents died at the start of the Civil War.
Paige eventually reaches her Uncle Oscar’s home, but it is no safe haven. He, his wife, Sadie, and their four children live in extreme poverty.
To make matters worse, Oscar tries to force himself sexually on Paige. This results in Aunt Sadie beating Paige with Oscar’s approval.
A bit of serendipity occurs. Kyle, while on his mission, makes his way to a farm. That farm is owned by none other than Oscar Dupree!
When Oscar catches Paige and Kyle together in a compromising situation, he forces them to marry via a literal shotgun wedding.
The Married—and Later, Separated—Couple
After they get married, Paige and Kyle travel to Jefferson, Texas, for Kyle’s mission. In Jefferson, they meet and befriend the Ledbetter siblings. However, Rosalyn and her brother, Ryan, want more than friendship as each sibling pursues the new Mr. and Mrs. Brenner.
The drama leads to an argument, after which Kyle again rapes Paige.
Soon after, Paige discovers that she is pregnant.
Their household grows even bigger when Aunt Sadie dies, and Oscar abandons his children. This leads to Paige and Kyle taking in her cousins. For a short while, they are happy.
Until the day that Kyle is captured! The Confederate government tries and convicts him, then sentences him to hang.
Of course, Kyle believes that Paige sold him out. This is only strengthened by the hearsay testimony at his trial.
Under the false belief that Kyle is dead, the newly “widowed” Paige decides to marry Ryan. She later gives birth to her and Kyle’s son, Jason.
Paige and Ryan are together for three years before they return to Texas after the Civil War.
Upon their return, Paige makes a few discoveries. First, Kyle—whom she deeply loves despite the cruelty and abuse he inflicted—is very much alive. Secondly, she learns her husband’s true character: he isn’t nearly as nice as she thought.
In the end, Kyle—who also loves Paige deeply—reunites with her, and they have their Happily Ever After.
The book’s second half was better than the first, which is damning with faint praise.
I didn’t like any of the primary characters in the book! Paige is alternately naive and a ninny. She is whiny and strong but, at times, bafflingly stupid.
I never like rapist heroes. So Kyle is immediately unlikeable to me. Nothing he does redeems him in my eyes, although it does in Paige’s.
Then, they stupidly allowed the Ledbetters into their lives. How Paige and Kyle didn’t recognize their evil right away was frustrating, given that Paige saw Ryan rob a train and kill the conductor!
The ending of the book is rushed and completely unsatisfying.
The sex scenes in Ecstasy’s Treasure are so minor that they’re inconsequential. They’re on the page, but that’s it.
The main characters do share a bed, and it’s warm enough not to need a heavy blanket. But as far as excitement goes:
In addition to Paige being raped twice by Kyle, she is nearly raped on two other occasions.
Ryan shoots and kills the conductor of a train he robs. Kyle is beaten and tortured in prison.
Bottom Line on Ecstasy’s Treasure
Sorry to Jean Haught, but Ecstasy’s Treasure should be buried with the garbage where it belongs.
|Rating Report Card|
COVER POINTS DO NOT COUNT!
With her emerald-green eyes and long raven hair, Paige was ripe for love. As determined as she was beautiful, she vowed never to be owned by any man, no matter what! But that was before she met Kyle Brenner, or felt his burning touch. And she never dreamed that this handsome stranger could make her his.Ecstasy’s Treasure by Jean Haught