Historical Romance Review: Emmie’s Love by Janette Seymour

Emmie’s Love, Janette Seymour, Pocket Books, 1980, Harry Bennett cover art

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Janette Seymours Emmie’s Love is Purity’s Passion, redux. Just as in Purity’s Passion and Purity’s Ecstasy, the heroine is separated from her true love and must “find” her way back to him. “Find” here is a euphemism for another four-letter word that starts with “f.”

The Plot

The same terms and motifs are used in Emmie’s Love, as were in Seymour’s other raunchy books. There is a violent opening involving a near-rape that has nothing to do with the protagonists and also an alluded castration. We see frequent mentions of “handy-dandy”😉 and dampened sheer muslin gowns. There’s another blond stud who performs for an audience. And the heroine has a one-night stand with a doomed soldier.

Of course, there is a blue-eyed, scar-faced hero who is rarely seen.

Finally, there is a heroine with no personality, save for being a busty, lusty wench.

The Romance?

Emmie Dashwood–granddaughter to an aged Marquess who pats her rump in a most loving fashion–lives in a moldy, decaying manor with her large, mooching family. After grandpa’s death, Emmie is sold into marriage to an old man who lives another continent away. On her trip across the ocean, she falls in love with Captain Nathan Grant, the very married ship’s captain.

But love does not come easily to our dear Emmie. Many travails lie ahead. There is a family sex romp in an orangery. There are church sermons brimming with hellfire and damnation, plus a satanic sex orgy in the said church led by a goat-headed stud. Lots of violence galore: a beheaded dog, followed by a shocking use for the dismembered head. We have a blackmailing, Peeping Tom. A robust Irish maid gives Emmie an erotic massage. And there’s much, much more.

Except for a doomed French hunter and his sad tale, there’s not much depth. One salacious encounter is followed by another–not that I’m complaining.

The hero, Nathan, is really not a factor in this book. He’s a prize that Emmie earns at the end for completing her bodice ripper adventures. There’s no epic love story here.

Final Analysis of Emmie’s Love

While I was entertained by this Michael Butterworth (Janette Seymour’s real name) bodice ripper, I do have a few gripes. The book blurb gets some minor plot points wrong. Typos such as “$a1shouted” are annoying. And my pet peeve is the wrong hair color on the cover. Harry Bennett’s artwork shows the hero as blond. Alas, in the book, he’s black-haired, with a white streak running through it.

The heroine is a bit of a twit. No, not the other word, this is no pornographic book, after all! If you are searching for explicitness and gratuity, look elsewhere (and tell me about it when you find it)! Everything is alluded to, with water metaphors galore: waves crashing, crests swelling, waters breaking, dams bursting. It is a saucy tale, replete with ribaldry.

And yes, bodices were ripped.

Titillating though it is, Emmie’s Love is not quite a bodice ripper masterpiece. Still, it’s a satisfying journey, even if the final destination holds little interest.

3.5 Star

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