Illustrator: Walter Popp
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance with Rape Element, Bodice Ripper, Colonial Era Romance, Forced Seduction
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Passion Flower by Jennifer Horsman, a Zebra historical romance from 1983.
Passion Flower begins with introductions to the heroine of the book, Catherine Mary “Jasmine” O’Neil. She is so nicknamed due to the fragrance her late mother wore, which comforted Jasmine after her mother’s death.
Jasmine lives in Jamaica with her grandfather, Franz, a physician. Later, she meets Captain Johnathon Mahn, an English ex-pat and the hero of the book. Johnathon is asked to root out arms smuggling in Jamaica, which is how he and Jasmine come to meet.
Jasmine and Franz accidentally find out about the illegal activity. Franz is killed, and Jasmine is taken captive. She is told she can gain her freedom if she spies on Johnathon.
He finds her spying on him, and they become lovers. Both later escape Jamaica and set sail for Johnathon’s plantation in Virginia.
In Virginia, Jasmine gets a job as a physician’s assistant. What she doesn’t know is that the job–and her home and many other things–are due to the largesse of Johnathon.
Jasmine also attracts many male admirers. These admirers arouse Johnathon’s jealousy, which later leads him to rape Jasmine. Jasmine and Johnathon later marry once it is known that she is pregnant.
One of the soldiers from Jamaica finds Jasmine in Virginia and kidnaps her. In the end, she is saved, and Jasmine and Johnathon then have their Happily Ever After.
The most interesting character in the book, in my view, is Bear Dog, a half-bear, half-wolf who befriends Jasmine on the ship voyage to Virginia and saves her when she is kidnapped.
When the most interesting character in the book has four legs and fur, that is a stinging indictment of the human characters. Neither Jasmine nor Johnathon are particularly deep characters, although Jasmine is more so than Johnathon.
The storylines are flat and lifeless. The “Jamaican Gun Smuggling” trope is so lame Ms. Horsman may as well not have included it.
Then there is Johnathon’s rape of Jasmine. No romance hero ever redeems himself with me if he sexually assaults a woman.
There is very little to no romance between Jasmine and Johnathon.
There are a handful of sex scenes, none of which are graphic or interesting.
In addition to Franz’s killing, there are scenes of attempted rape, rape, assault and battery, shootings, and killings. None of the violence is graphic.
Bottom Line on Passion Flower
Jennifer Horsman has enough items on the menu of Passion Flower to make a good meal. Instead, she produces a book that’s raw, like sushi.
|Rating Report Card|
GARDEN OF LOVE
Gorgeous Jasmine O’Neil never meant to fall in love with the insolent handsome captain. His voice was commanding, his reputation was roguish, and his manner was much too imperious. But despite all his drawbacks, the innocent beauty couldn’t resist the spell of masculine charm and tingling pleasure he cast upon her. Suddenly, she knew she was in love – and she was certain that his declarations of desire were undying promises of matrimony.
PARADISE OF ECSTACY
Captain Johnathon Mahn couldn’t deny himself the untouched woman’s beckoning curves. He tangled himself in their sweet tormenting rapture. Nothing could ever make him give up this mistress – but nothing would ever compel him to wed! He was a man of independence who took what he wanted…and he craved his fragrant Jasmine, his velvety blossom, his delicate PASSION FLOWER.Passion Flower by Jennifer Horseman