Tag Archives: hero plantation owner

murmur of rain

Historical Romance Review: Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn

If Patricia Vaughn’s follow-up to Murmur of Rain is half as excellent as this book is, then it’s a tragic loss that only a pair of her historical romances saw publication.

historical romance review
Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1996
Illustrator: Dominick Finelle
Published by: Pocket Books
Genres: Black or Afro American Romance, Gothic Romance, Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Romance with Rape Element
Pages: 465
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn


The Book

Books like Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn are why I adore the romance genre. This 1996 novel, published by Pocket Books, caught me by surprise with its mesmerizing storytelling. From the first page, the exquisite prose of this Gothic-tinged historical romance captured my attention.

The heroine is a lovely black French woman, Lauren Dufort, who lives in Paris in 1891. Lauren captures the heart of the cultured and wealthy Roget de Martier with her beauty and talent for music. Later, she is introduced to an exotic world across the sea, where danger looms.

Lauren will discover that beneath the luxury of Roget’s plantation home, Villa de Martier, lies a family history shrouded in darkness. She will be caught in an evil web of familial entanglements where darkness rules the day.

Despite her challenges, Lauren remains determined to reclaim the passion and happiness she and Roget once had. But will murder and death thwart her dreams?

The Setup

Murmur of Rain has a rich cast of characters whose lives we encounter throughout Lauren and Roget’s love story. When the book opens, an awful tragedy will impact the heroine’s life.

A run-away trolley roars down the street and crashes into a group of pedestrians. One unfortunate woman is crushed under the wheels and horses’ hooves. The woman had been carrying a babe in her arms, and before the trolley ran her over, she instinctively threw her child into the crowd. As if guided by Providence, an onlooker was able to catch the child.

A boy watching the horrible events recognizes the dying African woman as the wife of a local French clerk.

The clerk, Jean Dufort, arrives too late and sobs as he sees his wife’s broken body. The woman who saved his daughter passes the infant into her father’s arms. As the weeping Jean embraces his child, he realizes he must do all that’s possible for his daughter to prosper now that her mother, Ndate, is dead.

The babe is our heroine, Lauren Dufort, who grows to be a stunning young lady.

The Plot


Photo by form PxHere

Lauren Dufort, Our Heroine

After the opening, Lauren stands on the docks of Le Havre, about to set sail to the Caribbean with her new husband, Roget. Patricia Vaughn weaves in and out of the “present” and the past with flashbacks for the reader to relive Lauren’s and Roget’s whirlwind romance.

Lauren’s father was not wealthy, but he worked hard to send her to a fine boarding school. There, Lauren feels like an outsider due to her poor station. Although she has a friend or two, her only joy is learning to play the piano, and she becomes an accomplished performer.

Soon after Lauren leaves school, her father passes away. She goes to live with his sister, Claude, who runs a popular hôtel. Claude throws lavish parties that attract an eclectic array of customers.

The older woman loves her niece dearly but knows Lauren’s future holds few possibilities for happiness. As mulâtresse with soft seal-brown curls, honey-gold skin, and hazel eyes, Lauren is stunning. Nevertheless, her racial heritage precludes her from meeting a marriageable man of quality.

So Lauren uses her talent as a pianist to support herself in her white aunt’s hôtel. It is only during those moments that Lauren does find that elusive happiness.

An Unlikely Proposal of Love

When alive, Jean Dufort had bemoaned the unfairness of his daughter’s few opportunities, despite her beauty, excellent manners, and good education. If Lauren had been male, more avenues would have been open to her in French Society (as had been for the biracial grandson of a slave, Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, and for his son as well).

But as a mixed-race black woman, much of polite Society was closed to her.

One night a handsome, elegant man dressed in finery and accompanied by gentlemanly friends comes to the hôtel. Transfixed, he watches Lauren perform. She, too, is immediately enchanted by this glorious male and hopes he returns to see her perform again.

The gentleman does just that and introduces himself to Lauren as Roget de Martier of Haiti.

Roget and Lauren cannot deny their attraction to one another. He sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and they hastily marry. Lauren is on cloud nine, ecstatic and in love, thinking little of the world she leaves behind as she and Roget set sail for his plantation home.


Photo by form PxHere

Arrival in The Land of High Mountains

At first, Lauren is excited to see Villa de Martier and only dreams of the pleasure she and her husband will share there.

However, beneath the affluent exterior of the plantation lies a troubled family history. Roget has two brothers, the older and menacing Gaston–who is married to the well-pedigreed Reinette–and the younger, effete, and very unmarried Antoine. Also residing at Villa de Martier is their mother, Madame de Martier, a widow of eleven years, whose secret drinking habit is perhaps the worst-kept of the family’s many secrets.

As the second son of one of Haiti’s most prominent families, Roget shocks everyone when he introduces his bride–a mulatto with no name or fortune–to Haitian Society. Due to her origins as a daughter of an African slave and a French nobody, Lauren finds herself ostracized by the class-conscious elite.

Moreover, she struggles against Roget’s overbearing relatives. Lauren is used as a pawn in the games of familial strife. Far from finding a loving home, evil lurks everywhere at Villa de Martier. There is hostility from all corners, although she finds an ally in Antoine, who has his own secrets.

And then there is Lucienne, Roget’s erstwhile lover. Or is she still his current mistress?

The Specter of le Diable

Within the Haitian nights’ darkness is the creeping specter of demonic elements. Is someone using voodoo to harm the family? When unpredictable deaths hit close to home, the danger must be rooted in occult forces!

As troubles set in, a divide grows between Lauren and the husband she desperately adores. She experiences Roger’s cold neglect even as she carries out her assigned duties at the plantation. This estrangement allows for lust-crazed Gaston to do his worst to Lauren.

Yes, the heroine is raped in this book–not just by her lecherous brother-in-law. Later, a furious Roget brutally forces himself upon his adoring wife, proving that he, too, is as monstrous as dark creatures that dwell within the jungle depths.

Lauren’s determination and faith in what is right keep her motivated. She can forgive her husband’s ill-use of her; she can overlook his infidelities. However, she cannot live with his contempt and lack of love for her.

Roget avoids her and lets others oppress her. Yet Lauren is unwilling to abandon her love for him. She vows to conquer the demons that haunt him and reclaim their passion.

Can she uncover the heart of the mysteries that haunt the Villa de Martier? And can she make her marriage a lasting, happy one, despite all the obstacles they face?

A devastating force of nature eventually drives home the reality of life: that all things must come to their eventual end.

Heat Level

Although there are numerous love scenes (let’s not mention those instances of forcible rape) in Murmur of Rain, they are not explicit in detail. Instead, the scenes focus on emotion and intensity.

Steam Factor: Not Tropical like Haitian Summers, but Warm like French Springs.

patricia vaughn

My Opinion

A Tiny Quibble

Murmur of Rain is lovely, although not without flaws. Perhaps Vaughn’s euphemistic writing is a bit florid during the love scenes. Like any good Gothic/Bodice Ripper author, she peppers her sentences with a heaping helping of adjectives.

I didn’t mind any of this, as a well-told story beats technically perfect writing any day. It just needed a teeny bit of trimming to be perfect. None of that changed my perception of this beautiful Gothic-Bodice-Ripper-Black-romance.

And Now A Hefty Dose of Praise

Vaughn’s attention to detail brings the exotic and lush world of Haiti and France to life. She delves deep into cultural nuances, political systems, economy, and Society while also exploring the disparities between wealthy sectors and those with fewer means.

Readers learn about other important aspects of Haitian cultures, such as slavery practices and how men of European heritage had mistresses and “wives” through the Plaçage system. We see why Haiti’s rainforests were destroyed to produce lumber, leaving the land vulnerable to floods and depleted of essential nutrients for farming.

I loved reading how the sweet Lauren drew the cultured and enigmatic Roget de Martier under her spell with her music. She was so content on the ship as they sailed to Haiti, believing in a bright future where nothing could upset their joy.

But if there’s “insta-luv” in the opening chapters, the story must have exciting conflict to make it worthwhile. Well, there certainly is here!

Despite many obstacles, Lauren is unwilling to abandon her love for Roget and vows to conquer the demons that haunt him and the danger that permeates Villa de Martier.

The plot is full of mystery, causing one to wonder why Roget behaves as he does. Only little by little is the truth revealed. All in all, this is an exciting and unputdownable read.

Murmur of Rain is a must-read for those who love epic historical novels that feature heroines with grit, many twists and turns, plus themes that examine some darker aspects of human relationships.

brown rope tangled and formed into heart shape on brown wooden rail

Final Analysis of Murmur of Rain

Like the exceptional Teresa Denys, Patricia Vaughn only published two historical romances. Both ladies’ books are out-of-print, hard to find, and a bit pricey if you do. Murmur of Rain is worth getting if you can.

The Gothic tone, the bodice-ripper elements, the delicate yet resilient heroine, the vivid characterization, the attention to historical attitudes and details, and the intense love story combined to make a remarkable and compelling tale—a powerful testament to Patricia Vaughn’s skills as a novice author.

Simply put, Murmur of Rain is a must-read for anyone who loves a captivating and emotionally charged romance.

“You make love like a demimondaine, fall on your face like a school girl, and still manage to behave like a lady in the salon. My ancestors will probably rise from their graves…but ma chérie, I would not trade you for all the black gold in Haiti. I want to live with you, make love with you, fight with you, and die with you…if our Father in heaven so desires.”

Lauren’s graceful fingers closed around his, and as their hands clung to each other in an embrace, Lauren knew heaven had granted him that wish.

Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn
Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


He gave her an illustrious name, a vast plantation, and a steamy paradise…but at which price? In the lush tropics, a mysterious family, intrigue, and sinister forces threaten to tear apart a love beyond compare…

For a young woman with limited marriage prospects, Paris in the 1890s was hardly an easy place to survive. But Lauren Dufort, headstrong, lovely, and bursting with life, could rely on her exquisite gift as a pianist to sustain herself. When her fingers alight into a moving rhapsody, Lauren is the enchantress…until one evening she draws a man into her spell who will change her life forever.

Cultured, enigmatic, strong and sensuous as a panther, Roget de Martier sends Lauren into a furious tumult of passion, introducing her to an exotic world far across the sea. But beneath the opulent exterior of the Villa de Martier lies a troubling family history and a menacing cast of characters with a penchant for evil.

Caught in a web of familial decay, ostracized from the class-conscious elite, Lauren is soon cut off from her beloved husband who has apparently deceived her. Unable to abandon so powerful a love, Lauren vows to conquer the demons that haunt her husband and reclaim the passion and the glory that is theirs alone…

Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn
pasion's slave

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Slave by Kay McMahon

historical romance review
Passion's Slave by Kay McMahon
Rating: one-star
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Walter Popp
Book Series: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 525
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooksAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Slave by Kay McMahon


The Book

I really want to like Kay McMahon’s books, mainly because I like her female characters. However, there is one thing I cannot and will not accept about books–regardless of when they are written. That is when the “hero” of the book rapes the heroine. Such is the case with Passion’s Slave by Kay McMahon.

The Plot

Part 1

Alanna Bainbridge is a young Englishwoman who is brought to America by her father and stepmother, ostensibly to have a better life. What she doesn’t know, and it’s not explained why is that she is being sold into indentured servitude.

She is bought by Beau Remington, the owner of the Raven Oaks plantation in Virginia. Upon hearing that she is an indentured servant, Alanna tries twice to escape. She is captured, beaten, and later raped twice by Beau. This only fuels her hatred of him, but yet, as only typical 1980s romance novels can–this book was published in December 1983-she falls in love with him! They do have consensual sexual encounters later on.

Also in the picture is Beau’s friend, Radford Chamberlain, who falls in love with Alanna and eventually proposes to her, much to Beau’s chagrin. There is a major fly in the ointment, and that is Radford’s “fiancee”, Melissa Bensen. (Radford and Melissa aren’t actually engaged.)

Part 2

She earlier wanted to marry Beau, but he didn’t want her, so she set her sights on Radford.) Melissa, upon meeting Alanna, becomes so jealous that she eventually arranges for Alanna to be kidnapped and sold to a New Orleans brothel.

While the kidnapping goes through, the pirate Melissa pays off, Dillon Gallagher, doesn’t take Alanna to the brothel because she reminds him of his late sister, who was raped and later committed suicide.

When Beau and Radford try to rescue Alanna, tragedy strikes. Radford is killed in the process. He leaves Alanna his estate, Briarwood Manor, which is falling into disrepair due to Radford’s financial difficulties.

Later, Beau sells Raven Oaks to his real father, Joshua Cain-who he thought was only his overseer on his plantation-to help Alanna, with her plantation. This is supposed to be a sign that Beau actually loves Alanna.

The Upside and the Downside

For much of the book, Ms. McMahon tries to rehabilitate Beau by claiming that his actions are partially the result of his mother not loving him. She also has him show contrition for his actions. But I don’t buy any of that. Most human beings, in my experience, feel bad after they do something wrong, not before or during.

It’s also bothersome to me that no one around Beau holds him in any way accountable for what he did to Alanna. Yes, the book is set in the 1700s and was written in 1983, but the fact that everyone around, including Alanna, is or becomes okay with Beau raping her is sickening to me.


There are a few sex scenes, a few pages long but not overly graphic.


Violence: in addition to Alanna being raped, she is beaten with a whip after she tries to run away. Later, she is assaulted to get her on board the pirate ship. Once there, two of Gallagher’s crew try to rape her; they don’t succeed. Gallagher then beats the pirates and throws them off his ship, literally. Then, as mentioned earlier, Radford is shot and killed when he and Beau confront Gallagher about Alanna’s kidnapping.

Bottom Line on Passion’s Slave

In the interest of fairness, there were many books of the 1970s and 80s that featured the “hero” of the book raping the heroine; it was considered a pretty standard publishing practice in the romance novel industry during that time.

However, the fact that it was an accepted practice doesn’t make it okay to me. I cannot give a positive review to any book that features this fact. That is a stain that will never come clean in my eyes, and that makes Passion’s Slave by Kay McMahon one I cannot say good things about.

1.12 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 1.3


THE HAWK was the image that came to Alanna’s mind whenever she saw the sleek powerful master of Raven Oaks plantation. Beau Remington was the kind of man who would stalk his prey until he got what he wanted. He wanted lovely Alanna. Just one look at her full firm curves and long black hair sent flashes of fire through his loins. And though he knew she was no ordinary woman it didn’t matter. He had purchased her papers and belonged to him — body and soul…

THE DOVE was the image that came to Beau’s mind whenever he saw soft alluring Alanna. However, beneath her innocence lay a defiant and determined young beauty who would never surrender her freedom and whose only desire was to escape. But once she tasted Beau’s fierce demanding kisses and melted into his embrace, Alanna learned that not only was she his servant — she was forever PASSION’S SLAVE…

passions paradise

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton

historical romance review
Passion's Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1981
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Bodice Ripper, Historical Romance
Pages: 544
Format: Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton


The Book

Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton is a wonderfully terrible book published by Zebra in its early years. The cover warns you; it’s dark and dreary, done in deep blues and white, with the wrong hair color for the hero and a ship about to sink in the ocean that shouts: “Disaster looms ahead!”

I got this book in one of those e-bay lots, it was a freebie that the seller was perhaps too embarrassed to mention and only too glad to get rid of, with no back cover (no worries, I printed out the book blurb and taped it to the back) and garnished with red stamps from Arlene’s Book House & Paperback Exchange in Sweetwater, Texas. Now it lay in my Yankee hands, ready to thrill me with its awfulness.

Lying together upon the crest, their two profiles met, silhouetted as one against the clouds’ pink lattice. Here the sun shone softly, and the thrushes and cardinals and mockingbirds cooed love songs sang of twilight nigh, and the nascent magnolia flowers bloomed fragrantly…


The Plot of Passion’s Paradise

Captain Ty, or Tyrone, the supposed hero of Passion’s Paradise is a pirate, a slaver, a whoremonger, a politician–but I repeat myself.

Tyrone captures the ship that bears Angel Sherwood and her family from England to America. His Pa told him there was a special package on board and Ty was to take it. Ty and Pa had an agreement that Ty would marry when Pa found a woman worthy of his son and–who the hell cares, is the plot important? Not to the author, so you shouldn’t care either! Random events occur in the book, story-lines are dropped and nothing makes sense.

There is a mysterious murder… Is Ty the killer? Who knows? Who cares?

There is another murder. Is Ty the killer? Well, this time yes, but again, who cares?

Angel runs away from Tyrone about four times in a row but keeps getting caught. The final time she flees, she leaves her severely mentally-unbalanced mother behind and promises to retrieve her. Of course, the only person Angel can trust to care for Mama is Tyrone’s evil ex-mistress. Mama goes missing. A year passes by, and Angel is concerned, but she’s had so much on her mind that she hasn’t had time to search.

You see Ty’s penis keeps taunting her in those tight pants he wears and a girl can’t think straight with that anteater staring at her.

Stupid Big Misunderstandings & Clichés Abound

This book is filled with stupid “big misunderstandings” and really random, unnecessary secrets. For 200 pages the big mystery of the book is Angel’s first name. There’s no reason for her to hide it. I think it’s just so the author could have Tyrone call the heroine “My mysterious Angel” without him knowing that was really her name. Lame.

Ty’s last name is a secret. Who is Ty’s father? Is Tyrone married? What is the secret of Cresthaven plantation? Where did Angel’s hymen go if she really was a virgin? (It blew up in the fire. Really, it did.)

Don’t expect any PC, this book is raw. A Chinese prostitute does her best at a Mickey Rooney Breakfast at Tiffany’s impression. Ty has slaves and whips them bloody. He takes what he wants from Angel (her love pudding) and doesn’t ask permission.

But oh, he’s a misunderstood devil. There’s depth to Capt. Ty, and a heart that yearns for love. You see he had a rough childhood because his mother was a slut, or something like that.

Final Analysis of Passion’s Paradise

Passion’s Paradise is a cliché-ridden calamity. Even so, it was oddly entertaining, like a terrible movie you watch just to shout inanities at the screen. Plus, I can’t hate a book with such craptastic dialogue as:

Ellen (a prostitute): “You know I used to enjoy all kinds of men before Captain Ty came along. That tawny-haired devil made me forget them all, with his lean body and bulging crotch! Shees! I’ve bedded down with more men than you could ever hope to meet in your lifetime.”

Angel: “But not with Captain Ty?”

Ellen: “Bitch. Take your clothes off!”

Apparently, this book was a multi-million seller putting Zebra on the map. And it didn’t even have a pretty cover!

What a mess. 3 itty-bitty stars for being so gloriously, wonderfully entertaining.

3 Stars


As the beautiful, fair-haired Angel Sherwood sailed from England to Louisiana, she sensed that her destiny flowed with the rough waves of the ocean. Frightened by the harsh sea, Angel prayed that perhaps, just perhaps, she would find happiness and romance in her new home.

But Angel’s fate changed course when she was kidnapped by the cruel, yet captivating pirate, Captain Ty. And even though her future was suddenly in the balance, Angel was strangely warmed by his manly touch. Her strong captor stirred in her a delcious pleasure, a burning fire that made her whole body tingle with precious thrills.

Captain Ty’s black heart was softened, too by her golden presence; she was an untouched treasure, full of charm, wit and innocense — a jewel that he feverishly desired. But rather than taint his savage and foreboding name, he kept his feelings hidden. First he had to be sure that her heart belonged to him–and then he would send her to PASSION’S PARADISE! 


Historical Romance Review: Ecstasy’s Fire by Rosalyn Alsobrook


The Book

When a book begins with a typo, that’s not a good sign as Ecstasy’s Fire by Rosalyn Alsobrook does. On the back blurb, the heroine is identified as Victoria Connors. In the book, she’s named VIRGINIA Connors. Not a good beginning.

The Characters and Setup

Ecstasy’s Fire begins with VIRGINIA–not Victoria–Connors, applying for and getting a job as a private tutor for Daniel Pearson’s, daughter. Mary is recuperating from an accident and is homebound. This decision by Virginia is not a random one. Virginia has applied for this position in hopes of finding dirt on Daniel’s uncle, Caleb Pearson.

Virginia strongly believes cheated her grandparents out of their home. This belief has mostly been fed to Virginia by her late grandmother, Essie Henderson Elder. Virginia applied for this job as a way to force Daniel to give up Valley Oaks–by any means necessary. This is the Pearson estate which she believes belongs to her family.

The Plot of Ecstasy’s Fire

Part One

As the book plods on, Virginia and Mary bond with each other. Meanwhile, Virginia has two men chasing her. One man is William Haught, brother to Amanda Haught, Daniel’s “girlfriend”, who hates Mary, and vice versa. The other man is her old friend Mark Langford. He hopes for more than friendship between himself and Virginia. However, there is one man who Virginia wants to be caught by. That is–much to her horror–Daniel.

Several things happen quickly in succession. Daniel and Virginia have their first kiss–and their second and their third. This causes Virginia to start to feel something other than the hatred she started out feeling for Daniel.

Part Two

She also learns a little more about the accident that severely injured Mary. The same accident killed Mary’s mother, but there’s more to this story. (More on that later.) Virginia also gains access to Daniel’s library, hoping to find information to discredit Caleb.Iin this regard, she fails. She finds only vituperative letters written by her grandmother to Caleb, but no other evidence.

The day after attending a party at the Haught estate–during which William Haught tries to rape Virginia but is stopped by Daniel and his fist. Virginia gets very drunk, and Daniel proposes marriage to to her. This is not inspired by love. Daniel candidly tells Virginia that he is incapable of loving any woman anymore. This has to do with his late wife. Their marriage will be mostly for Mary’s benefit, although it will not be a platonic one. Daniel does want other children and expects Virginia to bear them for him. So she agrees.

Part Three

On the morning of their wedding, Virginia wants to tell Daniel that she can’t go through with the marriage, but seeing Mary so happy about it, Virginia agrees to go ahead with the ceremony. At the ceremony, almost everyone is happy except Amanda Haught, who wanted Daniel to marry her; Mark Langford, who has unrequited feelings of love for Virginia, and Virginia herself, who dreads the wedding night.

When Daniel doesn’t try to assert his “husbandly rights” for several days after their marriage, Virginia doesn’t know what to think. Also on their honeymoon, Virginia falls down an abandoned well and has to be rescued from that and the snake that resides in it by Daniel.

After being rescued, Daniel and Virginia make love. It is then that she tells him that she loves him. The response she gets isn’t what she expects. Daniel tells Virginia that he will never love her, because he doesn’t want to give her a chance to hurt him the way his first wife, and Mary’s mother, Josie Kilburn, did to him. This saddens Virginia, but it also makes her fearful of what he’ll do if/when he finds out why she came to see him in the first place and if/when he discovers why she married him, a primary reason of which was to get Valley Oaks, the home she believes Caleb Pearson cheated her grandparents out of.

Part Four

That fear becomes a reality soon after their return from their honeymoon. Daniel meets up with Mark Langford, and after a few drinks, Langford tells Daniel the truth about who Virginia really is, who she’s related to, and why she came back to East Texas. Naturally, Daniel is virulently angry over being played again–there are similarities in what Virginia did to what Josie, Daniel’s first wife, did to him–and they have a nasty argument.

Virginia tries to explain, but Daniel isn’t in a listening mood. He later shoves her so hard she hits her head against the foot of their bed in their bedroom. It’s not intentional, but it is done nonetheless. Later that night, William Haught shows up claiming that Daniel is with Amanda and so William has come to offer his “comfort” to Virginia, which she refuses.

Later, Virginia decides to visit Mattie Williams, Caleb Pearson’s former housekeeper, to try to get some dirt on what Caleb allegedly did to her grandparents. The truth, however, is far different than what she has been brought up to believe. The truth: Joseph Elder was a compulsive gambler who lost a lot of his money.

After being threatened with violence, Elder sold Caleb Valley Oaks. Caleb only bought the estate with the intent of selling it back to Elder when he got his affairs in order, which never happened. In exchange for buying Valley Oaks, Elder made Caleb promise never to tell anyone the reasons why the transaction took place.

Part Five

Caleb also provided the family with food and other necessities when needed, which Elder claimed he got from working odd jobs. Elder also led everyone, especially Essie Elder, to believe that Caleb cheated him out of Valley Oaks, which is decidedly not the truth. Virginia doesn’t want to believe Mattie’s story but eventually has to face the truth of the matter.

Virginia hopes to be able to talk to Daniel and apologize and try to make amends with him. Daniel, however, has no interest in doing so, informing her by letter that he wants her out of Valley Oaks and never wants to see her nor will he let Mary see her again. Virginia refuses to leave until she sees Daniel and speaks to him and tries to explain her behavior, and she’s less inclined to leave once she discovers she’s pregnant with his baby.

We also learn the truth about what happened with Daniel’s first wife, Josie Kilburn. Josie only married Daniel to get back at one of her many lovers who left her for another man. After Mary was born, Josie decided she didn’t like being married and left Daniel for one of those former lovers. When Caleb died, Josie demanded large sums of money from Daniel, kidnapping Mary as part of her plan to get the money. While Josie held Mary captive, they were in a carriage accident which killed Josie instantly and severely injured Mary.

Conclusion of Ecstasy’s Fire

The book then ends somewhat lamely. Virginia refuses to leave Valley Oaks, and later, Daniel has an accident and develops amnesia. Virginia then takes care of him and conveniently takes advantage of the fact that he doesn’t remember what he was so enraged with her about.

The book ends with Amanda showing up and jarring Daniel’s memory again. Afterward, Daniel apologizes to Virginia for being mean to HER, then she apologizes for lying to him, tells him about the baby she’s carrying and they have their happily ever after. Kind of a lame ending.


Ecstasy’s Fire is really the first book I’ve read by Mrs. Alsobrook where there is even an effort to get into any emotional depth.


…But that is somewhat ruined by the fact that to get there, Mrs. Alsobrook had to base it on lies, foolish pride, and ego. Virginia is a cross character. sometimes I like her, but I hated what she started as. Daniel becomes less likable when he shoves Virginia and she hits her head.


Mrs. Alsobrook’s love scenes are reminiscent of old Harlequin Romance novels from the ’70s; they’re almost as cold as the location where I live: the Northeast. And, as always, Mrs. Alsobrook uses the EXACT same phrase in a love scene in all of her books.


William Haught tries to rape Virginia and is stopped by Daniel. Later, Daniel threatens to strangle Virginia before he shoves her into the bed. That’s the extent of the violence.

Bottom Line on Ecstasy’s Fire

Ecstasy’s Fire was another slow, laconic, book by Rosalyn Alsobrook that fails to fulfill any potential it had. It’s becoming a broken record, isn’t it?

3.5 Stars


Victoria Connors had returned to Valley Oaks for only one reason — to get back her land. And if it meant working for the incredibly handsome new owner to reclaim it, then she would. But she would not allow the dark-haired devil to work his magic on her. His deep blue eyes would not trap her in their depths, nor would his strong, muscular body lure her to his bed. And even though his kisses had made her fall deeper under his spell, she would not let him conquer her….

Daniel Pearson had been fooled once by love and vowed never to give any woman the power to betray him again. Yet the beautiful, brown-eyed angel with her sweet, honeyed lips and her soft, pliant body made him hungry with desire. Despite her resistance, Daniel wanted her more than he had ever wanted any woman. He was determined to take the unwilling beauty to the heights of passion, to show her the joys of being a woman, and to make her soul burn with Ecstasy’s Fire.