Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Dorchester, Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Rapture’s Rage by Bobbi Smith, originally a Zebra romance, and then reissued by Dorchester’s Leisure imprint.
The book begins with a backstory about the father of Renee Fontaine, the heroine of Rapture’s Rage.
Cliffs’ Notes version: Roger Fontaine, Renee’s father, meets Anne Chase-Parker. They fall in love and get married. He becomes stepfather to her daughter, Elizabeth. Later, Anne and Roger have a daughter, Renee.
Anne dies from fever. Roger goes into deep mourning. Elizabeth is taken away by maternal grandparents.
Elizabeth later marries Marshall Westlake, the hero of the book and a prosperous lawyer in St. Louis. Their marriage is not a happy one, due to Elizabeth’s fears. She dies trying to kill their unborn child.
Fast forward several years.
Renee is now 16, Roger has passed and she is going to live with her aunt, Elise, in St. Louis. Renee is courted first by Marshall’s brother, James, a ship’s captain. The Westlake’s family business is shipping. Marshall is the outlier.
He quickly bows out gracefully upon realizing she only has eyes for Marshall. James will get his own love interest in another book.
Renee and Marshall fall in love, marry, and for a spell, are happy. Their happiness is imperiled, however, by three people. They are: Juliana Chandler, Marshall’s ex-lover, who vows to break up the couple, and Wes and Frank Maguire, two outlaws who Marshall sent to jail.
The brothers break out of prison. With Juliana’s help, they attack Renee and Marshall She is injured as they kidnap and torture him.
Renee moves back to Louisiana and discovers she is having Marsh’s baby. He is later rescued, but believes she is dead.
Renee and Marshall reunite, have a few rocky moments but overcome them, have their own child, a son, and have their Happily Ever After.
Ms. Smith does a good job of exploring her characters’ emotions, even her minor ones.
Ms. Smith made me feel Marshall’s despair when he is kidnapped and isolated in a very small room.
She made me feel Renee’s pain when she thinks Marshall is dead, and everything in between.
Rapture’s Rage has a misleading back cover. At no point is Renee afraid of Marshall, nor does he hate her for a significant length of time. Marshall does get upset on a few occasions with Renee, and she with him, but this is nowhere near the “fear” and “hatred” the back cover trailer would lead readers to believe.
A bigger issue for me is Ms. Smith’s use of a trope: jilted ex-lover of hero conspires with evil malefactors to attempt to injure or kill hero and heroine. This is a trope used by Ms. Smith not only in Rapture’s Rage, but at least four other books by Ms. Smith.
I do understand it’s difficult to come up with new material every time someone writes something. I find it difficult to come up with new things every time I write a review, which is why I don’t come up with new things! But it would have been nice to see Ms. Smith not use the same storyline on a frequent basis.
Ms. Smith is not an erotic author by any stretch of the imagination. Her love scenes are, at best, lukewarm.
Marshall and Renee are attacked by the Maguire brothers and their gang. Renee is shot, and Marshall is assaulted and imprisoned. Later, the Maguires are shot by a posse. Renee slaps Marshall during an argument.
The violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line on Rapture’s Rage
Rapture’s Rage is not a 5 star book, but it fits solidly into the 4.0-4.25 range.
|Rating Report Card|
SHE FEARED THE MAN SHE LOVED
At sixteen, Renee Fontaine’s cascading black hair and soft, full curves drew the suitors of St. Louis like bees to spring’s first flower. But the dazzling beauty had eyes only for Marshall Westlake, the handsome lawyer who detested women and scorned love. Though his cold-hearted rudeness frightened her, the innocent young woman couldn’t get him out of her mind–and knew he was the one man she would ever want!
HE HATED THE WOMAN HE CRAVEDRAPTURE’S RAGE by BOBBI SMITH
A disastrous marriage that ended in tragedy made Marshall swear never to care for a woman again. Yet he hungered for Renee’s caresses, thirsted for her pink-lipped kisses–and despised her for making him want to protect her. Unable to deny the pleasure of desire, he bent her to his will. In a stormy night of ecstasy, he assaulted her senses and stole her innocence, showing her the anguish and delight of…RAPTURE’S RAGE