Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
MILD SPOILERS 😉
This review is of Love’s Fiery Jewel by Elaine Barbieri, a bodice ripper romance that Zebra books published in 1982.
In 1775, an acting troupe called The American Company is boarding a ship, The Sally. The ship is captained by notorious privateer Damien Staith, the “hero” of Love’s Fiery Jewel, and is to sail from the Colonies to Jamaica.
Among those on the ship are actress Marian Greer and her daughter, Amethyst, the heroine. When the book begins, Amethyst is 9 and Damien is 26.
During the course of the book–which spans 510 pages and seven years–(keep in mind, she is 16 and Damien is 33), the hero does the following things to Amethyst:
Emotionally abuses her by belittling her, calling her derogatory names, and disregarding any of her wishes. Damien also threatens to kill two of her other suitors. He uses her love for her caretaker in Jamaica to blackmail her.
Mentally abuses her by letting her believe that he practices obeah, a form of black magic.
Physically abuses her by slapping Amethyst several times and shaking her so hard that she is bruised.
Sexually abuses her. Although Damien doesn’t rape Amethyst–big whoop–he does coerce her sexually, using his skills at sex and her desire against her. This is clearly a forced seduction trope, at best.
And yet, despite all of that, Amethyst falls in love with Damien! When she is finally free of him, she chooses to go back to him!
Like most of Ms. Barbieri’s books, Love’s Fiery Jewel is well-written and emotionally deep.
It’s rather appropriate that Damien Straith shares the name of the character from The Omen. The behavior of Damien in Love’s Fiery Jewel is just as horrifying as the character of the same name in the “Omen” movie franchise.
Amethyst, however, is not entirely blameless. She is very weak in regard to his actions. She constantly needs a man to take care of her–a weakness shared by many of the heroines in Ms. Barbieri’s books.
The sex scenes are mostly focused on the feeling of the act rather than the mechanics. They mostly focus on what the man doing to the woman.
In addition to the violence listed above, Damien beats up one of Amethyst’s suitors toward the end. Another man is seriously injured in an accident that Amethyst blames on Damien’s obeah.
At one point late in the book, Amethyst draws a gun on Damien and makes him leave her. If she had shot and killed the bastard, it would have made Love’s Fiery Jewel so much better!
Bottom Line on Love’s Fiery Jewel
Do you like books with heroines with zero pride or self-esteem? Women willing to allow themselves to be emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually abused by the “men” who claim to love them? And then fall in love with said cretins?
If you do, chances are you’ll love Elaine Barbieri’s Love’s Fiery Jewel. For the rest of us, not so much.
Right after I finish posting this review, this “romance novel” is going into my trash bin.
.75 Stars (cover points don’t count)
|Rating Report Card|
THE SPARKLE OF PASSION glowed in Amethyst’s big violet eyes. She was on the verge of womanhood, ripe for love, and no one knew it better than Captain Damien Straith. He was intoxicated by her rare beauty. Her sensual innocence and fiery temper made her more alluring than any woman he had ever known. With just one fierce, long, lingering kiss he could possess her forever. Somehow he’d have to make her his own…Love’s Fiery Jewel by Elaine Barbieri
THE GLITTER OF DESIRE shone like a diamond in Damien’s piercing gray eyes. And each time Amethyst met his gaze her pulse quickened and she ached with desire. She wanted the handsome captain to bring her to the heights of rapturous pleasure, but what if she gave him her love and he cast her aside? Delirious with longing, yet afraid to give her heart, she hated the power he had over her body — and vowed never to give him her love!