Historical Romance Review: The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen

The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen
The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1980
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Forced Seduction, Pirate Romance, Romance with Rape Element
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooksOpen Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen


The Book

Sometimes one can tell when a book is the first an author has written. The stories don’t seem finished, characters arrive and are then written out without rhyme or reason. Such is the case with The Captain’s Vixen the debut by Wanda Owen. This was not a great first book.

The Plot

Part One: Our Hero and Heroine Meet and Fall in Love

France is on the brink of war in 1805. Andre Cartiers, a French resistance fighter, is concerned enough about what is happening in his homeland to send his two daughters, Olivia, 18, and Elise, 16, to England to live with their Aunt Colette.

Taking the girls to England is English sea captain Landon “Lance” Edwards. Lance is also a peer of the realm in England, but he and his father don’t get along, so Lance rarely uses his high-society connections.

Lance and Elise meet on the trip from France to England. They are attracted to each other, and soon after they make love and agree to marry.

Alas, the fact that Elise is stunningly beautiful and Lance is both handsome and a ladies’ man is both a blessing and a curse for the couple.

Almost every man who meets Elise falls in love or lust with her. Sadly, this results in her being raped three times and nearly raped on two other occasions! The first attempted rape occurs at the home of one of Colette’s friends, the Wentworths. Their son, Robert, tries to rape Elise before being beaten severely by Lance who comes upon the act and prevents it. Unfortunately, Lance can’t prevent Elise from being raped by her Uncle, Edwin Herrington.

Part Two: Kidnapped and Separated

The second rape occurs when Elise is kidnapped by the crew of a pirate, Joaquin Ruiz, aka “El Diablo.” One of Ruiz’s crewmen rapes Elise before Ruiz takes Elise under his protection as his unwilling mistress.

Elise was kidnapped as part of Ruiz’s plan to get revenge on Lance for his affair with Ruiz’s wife, Felicia. Ruiz had found Lance and Felicia in bed together. Lance stabbed Ruiz and escaped. Felicia was not so lucky, as Ruiz killed her that night and has been planning his revenge since.

Elise plays along as Ruiz’s mistress to stay alive and get back to Lance. Unfortunately for her, he tells Elise that Lance is dead; obviously not true as he is this book’s hero.

Lance is desperately searching for the two, however, he just misses catching up with them.

Finally, Elise gets the chance to escape Ruiz. Taking her lady’s maid, Lita–whom she adopted into her employ in Havana, Cuba–with her, Elise tries to flee from Havana when the women are set upon by ruffians at the docks. One of them rapes and kills Lita.

The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen

Part Three: A New Man for the Heroine?

Elise fairs a little better as she is beaten and nearly raped again before she is rescued by a kind stranger. He is Clint Barron, an American planter and seaman. Barron takes Elise back to his ship, and tends to her, before taking her to his home in New Orleans.

During their travels, Elise and Barron become lovers. Remember, she believes that Lance is dead.

Lance, meanwhile, has tracked Ruiz to New Orleans and eventually kills him. He then makes the acquaintance of a friend of Barron’s, Zach Hart, and his daughter, Susan. Lance and Susan become lovers and they flirt with the possibility of marriage.

That all changes, when Lance attends a party at Barron’s and is shocked to see Elise alive and well. He overhears her talking about her upcoming nuptials with Barron and becomes enraged, leaving the party.

When Elise tries to explain she thought he was dead, Lance–who is seriously drunk at this time–rapes Elise.

Conclusion: They All Live Happily Ever After… Or Do They?

Despite his assault upon her, soon afterward Lance and Elise realize that they love each other. And have their “Happily Ever After”.

Or do they?

There is a sequel to this turkey, called Rapture’s Bounty. So their “Happily Ever After” is going to be delayed a bit.

The Upside

Well, Ms. Owen’s writing can only improve from here. As stated earlier, The Captain’s Vixen was clearly her first book and it shows.

The Downside

From characters appearing and then disappearing to storylines being explored and then summarily dropped, there are multiple problems with The Captain’s Vixen.

The two biggest issues for me are: #1 the endless misogyny and #2 the” hero” Lance rapes Elise and she forgives him! I don’t see why Ms. Owen had to resort to the type of abuse she forced Elise to endure here.

Plus, I have a HUGE problem with the “hero rapes the heroine and she forgives him” part of some romances. This happened far too often in older romance novels.


There are a few love scenes where Lance DOESN’T rape Elise. They are relatively tame and barely lukewarm as far as sexual heat is concerned.


There are the aforementioned multiple rapes on Elise, plus a beating. Her maid is also raped and killed.

Lance kills Ruiz. In addition, Lance and Barron have a fistfight over Lance’s violation of Elise. Nothing is described in over-graphic detail, however.

Bottom Line on The Captain’s Vixen

Parts of Wanda Owen’s Zebra bodice-ripper, The Captain’s Vixen, are good. But the rape of Elise by Lance and her forgiveness really turned me off.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 2


Captain Lance Edwards had sailed the seas and obtained women ever since he was a lad, and no woman had ever resisted his masculine magnetism — no one but the luscious, jet-haired Elise. Passionately attracted to the strong-minded beauty, Lance struggled to overcome the resistance. Now he vowed to possess her and win her love, for he was bewitched by . . . The Captain’s Vixen!

The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen
so wild a rapture

Historical Romance Review: So Wild a Rapture by Andrea Layton

historical romance review
So Wild a Rapture by Andrea Layton
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Ron Lesser
Published by: Playboy Press
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: So Wild a Rapture by Andrea Layton


The Book

Andrea Layton‘s So Wild a Rapture is a tawdry rape-romance about a beautiful lady’s misadventures during the French Revolution.

The Characters and the Setup

From the opening pages, we are introduced to the 16-year-old heroine, the noble Juliette de Condillac, and her “won twu wuv,” Francois du Quesnay. He’s a slightly older boy from a neighboring noble family.

They quickly consummate their love and, like high schoolers, vow to be “togetha 4 eva” after Francois finishes his university education.

The Plot

Livre Un

But life has other plans for Juliette and Francois in So Wild a Rapture. First in the name of Roger du Deffand and then in the name of the French Revolution.

Against her will, Juliette is betrothed to the deceptively foppish and much older Roger.

Francois marches back to school, giving her his ring. He tells Juliette the ring will protect her whenever needed.

Juliette dithers about her future. Maybe she will marry Roger, maybe she won’t. In the meantime, she is to be educated at a convent and consort socially with nobility to learn to be a proper bride for Roger.

What does she need to learn? Oh, what any Catholic girl should know. Religion and piety, skill in the housewife arts, being social, and… perhaps taking part in a bit of girl-on-girl love. Her husband-to-be, Roger, loves to watch (or even ). Juliette is, of course, shocked. And curious…

Her lessons are cut short when the horrors of the French Revolution begin to take over, intruding on their dark idyll.

Death, thievery, arson, destruction, and rape ravage the countryside.

Fortunately, Juliette is protected wherever she goes by Francois’ ring. When Juliette and Francois meet again she is shocked to learn he is a powerful leader in the Revolutionary movement. (What did that silly twit thing the ring was all about?)

Livre Deux

I don’t know how Francois reached such a high status because–to be blunt–he’s kind of a dickless wanker.

When men repeatedly attempt to rape Juliette, he pleads for mercy. Francois fights the men only as a last resort. Never would he dream of killing her would-be rapists, saying the men have had hard lives and can’t be blamed for their actions.

What a benevolent eunuch of a hero! And that’s being cruel to eunuchs.

And le coup-de-grace is Francois’ reaction when his family is killed and his home destroyed. He mourns the loss of lives and property as a natural and necessary part of the new movement.

Boo! Lame hero!

Maybe the villain is better? Un peu.

Livre Trois

Eventually, Juliette makes her way to her fiancé. Roger lets Juliette know in no uncertain terms that she’s damaged goods. So he no longer has any interest in marrying her. Although he will still make use of her comely charms.

First, Roger makes Juliette his own love slave! Then he pimps her over to a bored King Louis XVI, who is taking refuge in his palace as France crumbles around him in bloody chaos.

Roger forces Juliette to have an abortion, thus destroying any tender feelings Juliette had for her former betrothed. In the meantime, she waits for Francois to free her from her courtesan life before the guillotine takes her head.

Does Francois come in time?

Que pensez-vous?

Final Analysis of So Wild A Rapture

So Wild a Rapture wasn’t a bad ‘ripper. It wasn’t great either, despite the raunch factor. Juliette’s youthful resourcefulness makes her willing to do anything to survive, no matter how degrading, sordid or arousing. She also is vapid and silly, with plenty of scenes lip-chewing and foot-stomping.

I detested the male protagonist whose politics and morals I abhorred. The villain was villainous, yet he lacked that spicy je-ne c’est quoi that makes a villain sizzle.

Here’s another bodice ripper to file away under:

  1. The hero is dishwater dull and missing in action while…
  2. The heroine bangs it out with the lecherous villain, and…
  3. She gets some historical dong along the way.

But hey, I do give So Wild a Rupture — Rapture! — credit for keeping to the history and not being all wallpapery in that regard.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.3


from the innocent, virgin pastures of the French countryside to the sensuous intrigues and royal splendors of a king’s decadent court

against her will by a passionate liaison with a wealthy baron whose ardent desires devoured her senses, sweeping her to the heights of ecstasy and the depths of degradation

by the sweet, burning memory of the fiery young rebel whose tender caresses had scorched her soul forever–and made her desperate to be free, to belong to the one man who could truly possess her heart.