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secret rapture franco

Historical Romance Review: Secret Rapture by Gloria Jones-Wolf

In Gloria Jones-Wolf only published novel, Secret Rapture, a young woman sails the High Seas from France to New Orleans, Louisiana along with a dashing captain to find a cure for her dying sister.

book review historical romance
Secret Rapture by Gloria Jones-Wolf
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1988
Illustrator: Franco Accornero
Imprint or Line: Zebra Heartfire
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 412
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Secret Rapture by Gloria Jones-Wolf


The Book

This review is of Secret Rapture by Gloria Jones-Wolf, a Zebra Heartfire romance that takes us from France to New Orleans.

The Plot

Part One: France and the High Seas

Secret Rapture begins in Bordeaux, France, circa 1838. Sabrina Rancine, 18, the book’s heroine, has come to the “po’ side” of town to try to obtain passage on a ship to America for herself and her younger sister, Denise.

Denise is seriously ill. Later, it is revealed that Denise has leukemia.

After failing to get anyone to take them, Sabrina approaches David Wolfe, the book’s hero and captain of the Sea Wolf. Sabrina agrees to be David’s bed partner if he will accept the sisters on his ship. They make a deal.

So as the Sea Wolf sails, Sabrina and David become lovers.

Problems soon arise. They both are falling in love with each other but don’t want to acknowledge it to the other person.

But there is a bigger problem: David believes Sabrina is–with absolutely no evidence to back up this theory–a gold-digging whore.

Part Two: New Orleans, Louisiana

When the ship arrives in New Orleans, Sabrina and David part company–for now. Sabrina and Denise find a place to live, Sabrina gets a job and meets a doctor, Therrel Latrobe, who might be able to help Denise. What Sabrina doesn’t know is that Dr. Latrobe is falling in love with her.

Sadness occurs when Denise passes, and Sabrina discovers she is pregnant by David. Sabrina soon receives two marriage proposals, one from Therrel and one from David. She turns down Therrel–whom she doesn’t love–to marry David–whom she does love. But Sabrina isn’t sure he loves her back.

Sabrina and David’s marriage isn’t a happy one at the beginning due to a lack of communication and Sabrina’s yellow fever and miscarriage.

However, in the end, Sabrina and David realize they do, in fact, love each other, reconcile, and have their Happily Ever After.

The Upside

Sabrina is an easy heroine to root for and like. I felt her discomfort at having to sacrifice her virginity to get help for Denise, I felt her pain when Denise passed, and I felt her pain at feeling unloved by David.

At the same time, I liked the fact that Sabrina was self-sufficient. Although others helped her, she didn’t rely on David for financial support when the ship docked in New Orleans. She then found a place to live and employment and supported herself and Denise via her own efforts.

The Downside

David started okay, then became an obnoxious bastard in the middle/end, but he slightly redeemed himself at the conclusion of Secret Rapture. Overall, however, I found him hard to like.

As for the book, there isn’t much depth here. For storylines that require emotional depth–Denise’s passing, Sabrina’s miscarriage–Ms. Jones-Wolf doesn’t provide the emotional deepness necessary.

Like too many books, Ms. Jones-Wolf falls back on the “mis/ lack-of-communication” trope to create tension between her hero and heroine.


The love scenes are fairly tame and not particularly exciting or erotic.

Steam level = Lukewarm



Sabrina is nearly raped twice in Secret Rapture. Thankfully, both attempts are thwarted before anything happens.

Later, David and Therrel engage in a duel. Both men are shot, but neither suffers life-threatening injuries.

Bottom Line on Secret Rapture

Secret Rapture–the only book Ms. Jones-Wolf wrote–is a fairly good romance. However, it has too many issues which keep it from being anything other than middle-of-the-road.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.2


It was her only chance. Sabrina had to book passage for her sister and herself on a ship bound for America. So she gathered her courage and approached Captain David Wolfe with the hope of trading the one thing she had of any value–her virtue. But one look at the virile stranger and Sabrina lost her heart… She began to dream about the dark-haired man, about how it would feel to be in his strong arms as the salt-air of the ocean caressed their skin. Even though she was an innocent, Sabrina knew that David would be the one to make her body come alive like never before–and she could not wait for the day when he would make her his own!

David Wolfe didn’t like to take chances. But when the attractive young vixen approached him with her unique proposal–her virtue in exchange for passage to America–he couldn’t resist. He had known many women before, but something about this green-eyed beauty turned his head like no other. He knew that she was inexperienced in the ways of love, but he wanted to be the one to teach her… He longed to stroke her silky skin, wind his fingers in her shiny hair and kiss her soft lips until she tasted his pleasure. If it took all night he’d release her into SECRET RAPTURE 

Secret Rapture by Gloria Jones-Wolf
song of the waves

Category Romance Review: Song of the Waves by Anne Hampson

song of the waves
Song of the Waves, Anne Hampson, Harlequin, 1976, Will Davies cover art

Harlequin Presents #209


4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

A Life Not Yet Lived

Wendy Brown is a not-yet-21-year-old Englishwoman who’s been given the worst news imaginable. She has an inoperable brain tumor and will die in a few months. Rather than spend her last days wallowing in despair, Wendy decides to make the best of her lot. Alone in the world, she sells her family home. She buys a ticket for the maiden voyage of a glamorous cruise ship that’s set to sail the world.

Thus begins Anne Hampson’s Song of the Waves, a vintage Harlequin Presents written in 1976, a year before I was born.

Even for a book so ancient (ha-ha), this romance comes off old-fashioned. It never delves deeper than a few kisses and severely-restrained passion. Anne Hampson’s books might have been among the first published for the Harlequin Presents line, but that sort of antiquated mindset would later cause the publishers to break ties with her in favor of more “modern” minded authors, such as Charlotte Lamb.

A Love That Saves a Life

Introduced into this “love boat” romance is a vast field of characters, couples, and individuals, who will get to know Wendy as she charms her way aboard the ship. Rumors abound that a man-eater movie star is onboard traveling incognito as an innocent naif. One shipmate who believes the gossip is Garth Rivers, the book’s hero.

Unfortunately, Garth puts 1 and 1 together and gets 11, as he thinks our Wendy darling is said actress. So Garth treats her with contempt at first. As he gets more familiar with Wendy, Garth realizes that her sweet demeanor is genuine, and he has trouble synthesizing his preconceptions with reality.

Wendy, for her part, quickly realizes her heart belongs to Garth. However, she hides the truth from him, as she would rather he think her a sophisticated woman of mystery, instead of a girl with a fatal disease.

song of the waves
Song of the Waves, Anne Hampson, Mills & Boon, 1976

Wendy faces her last days with aplomb, not letting her impending doom stop her from enjoying life. She makes the best of her situation, making friends, flirting lightly with would-be suitors, and taking awe of her new surroundings whenever the ship enters port.

Despite the misunderstandings due to lack of communication, our main characters do fall in love. But can love be enough to stop the Grim Reaper’s arrival?

Of course!

Not only is Garth the only man Wendy’s ever loved, but he’s also the only person who can save her. For Garth–serendipitously enough–is a brain surgeon. Only he can perform the complicated, live-sustaining operation on the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life.

Final Analysis of Song of the Waves

Song of the Waves is a cozy romance that’s bound to tug at your heartstrings. Wendy is a delightful heroine. While the plot is set up as a tearjerker love story, fortunately, this is a romance novel. Any tears of sadness are guaranteed to turn into tears of joy with the uplifting conclusion.