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Topic: Recommend a good "bodice ripper"

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Subject: Recommend a good "bodice ripper"
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
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I've been reading about historical romance books people call a "bodice ripper".  I think I understand the concept and I am curious to read one to see what they are all about.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good one.  Keep in mind that I lose interest in books really quickly if they don't have a plot.

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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Savage Fire by Phoebe Conn. In this revolutionary war book, the farmer's daughter runs away with an Indian (Iroquois, I think) who was working on their farm. He's actually a white man who was raised by the tribe. His tribe rejects her. He's working for the Americans as a spy, so they head into the city where he's captured by the British. She's also taken prisoner and forced to become the British officer's mistress to save her husband. The officer invites his friends to enjoy her and how she escapes that fate is great! She's no whimpy/whiny/wussy woman and her motives for submitting to the officer reflect her love for her husband. She'll do anything to prevent his death.

This book changed my life. Introduced me to a genre called "romance." I've probably read 2,000 books since, but this one is still a keeper!

Colleen

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 7:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Kate,   I always check out any recommendation by Colleen.  I think it is safe to say that ANY book by Phoebe Conn is an honest to God bodice ripper!

I ended up ordering a couple myself.  Eventually I may have enough credits for the 4 on my reminder list.

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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Older Johannah Lindsey, Heather Graham and Catherine Coulter books. THey all started writing Bodice Rippers. 

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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TY, Pamela. "...it is safe to say that ANY book by Phoebe Conn is an honest to God bodice ripper!" LOL

Phoebe Conn, in a career spanning 25 years (so far), wrote lots of bodice rippers for Zebra Books (the publisher whose covers define "bodice ripper" in graphic images). Despite titles that make us cringe (look for keywords rapture, ecstasy, and savage) and backcover descriptions we can't let our kids read, her historical stories are very good.

I particularly liked Savage Fire because although the heroine was raped, it wasn't our hero who did the deed.

Colleen

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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And of course, I went for the one about the mail order bride who leaves Kansas City (my old stomping grounds) and endured the perils of the Oregon Trail....From the description.....

SHE DREAMED OF A HUSBAND

HE NEEDED A WENCH

Savage Storm by Phoebe Conn

I used my last credit for this one!  I find this kind of book irressistable.

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Flame and The Flower  by  Kathleen Woodiwiss. I also love Petals On The River by Woodiwiss as well.  The Black Swan by Day Taylor.   Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux  as well as  her Velvet series. Beginning with Velvet Promise, Highland Velvet, Velvet Song, and Velvet Angel.



Last Edited on: 2/21/10 3:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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I think Flame and The Flower is the only Woodiwiss book I'd classify as a true bodice ripper, and it's actually tame for all that.  It does have the virgin heroine being essentially raped by the hero though - even though he basically thinks she's an aspiring whore... and for some odd reason thinks that no means yes, so check.  She gets pregnant as a result of the rape - check.  A jealous mistress (even though he doesn't sleep with her after he's been with the heroine), check.  And she's running around naked whilst trying to escape the villain in the final conflict scene - BIG check:P

If you want good bodice rippers, with all of the necessary elements, I'd suggest Rosemary Rogers - Wicked Loving Lies, & The Wildest Heart are probably some of her best stuff.  And pretty much take your pick from anything by Valerie Sherwood; Bold Breathless Love, This Towering Passion (yes, they all have titles like this:P), and This Loving Torment, to name a few.  Most old skool bodice rippers are not heavy on plot in the same sense that plot intensive historicals are now.  Like Laura Kinsale & Penelope Williamson have done epic storylines in more recent years.  The old skool style of "epic" storytelling mostly meant ever-changing exotic locales for the H&H to fight, cheat, & have sex with each other in - often over a period of years, as in Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love series.



Last Edited on: 2/21/10 10:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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Johanna Lindsey's Prisoner of My Desire is one I actually liked.  I've read a few others but, as far as I can recall, that's the only one I didn't hate. There is rape though, so consider yourself warned.  Although rape is pretty much a requirement for bodice rippers, isn't it?  :-/

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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Anything by Bertrice Small probably fits the definition as well, and yeah, I do believe the rape thing is compulsory.  I think it's kidnapping/rape, arranged or forced marriage (due to pregnancy from the rape and/or because the heroine turns out to be someone the hero can't just rape or seduce & get away with it), a mistress/rival for the hero/heroine's affections & a big misunderstanding.  I feel like I'm leaving something out though...  Where's Colleen?  She probably knows:P



Last Edited on: 2/21/10 3:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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To be fair, not all old skool stuff is skimpy on the plot. It's a turkey shoot to find the good meaty stuff, just like it is with the modern stuff. Some is packed full of good stuff, while others are flimsy nothing in a pretty cover. My recs are Moss-Rose with Day Taylor (real heavy on the historical & plot, it's a sequel to The Black Swan), and some early Bertrice Small, like The Kadin, Love Wild and Fair, Skye O'Malley and Adora.
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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Kim, I think you are leaving out

1.  the "Hero" has a totally acceptable personal  motivation for his initial mistreatment of the Heroine.

2.  the Heroine has her first orgasm with the Hero

3.  the Hero is willing to overlook his motivations/anger/revenge because of the flashing of (pick one or more of the following) breasts, eyes, tears, ankles, legs, shoulders, jewels

4.  The Hero is handsome, wide shoulders, gruff except in bed,  he becomes kitten soft and cute.

5.  Heroine feels totally safe in his arms by page 200.

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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6.  No matter what horrid thing the hero does, the heroine just can't resist him sexually.

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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Forbidden Love - Karen Robards - Hero falls in lust then love with his young ward. This book was a guilty pleasure for me!

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
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Well, I've looked at some of the recommendations here and I realize that I'm going to have to make some kind of a book cover for the one I get since I will be taking it to work at the Senior Center.  I would be totally embarrassed getting caught with any of those books in my hand considering the covers! 

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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Oh, Honey......these are the romance books the residents of a Senior Center probably read!  it would have been their era.

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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LOL Cosmina!  how true.

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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My grandma (b. 1915) read Peyton Place and Mandingo, so I'm sure the next generation amped up the frisky factor. ;-)

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2009
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One I loved was Silver Angel by Johanna Lindsey - has a very good in-depth story with lots of historical detail.  If your looking for quality I would stay away from Small - she is more guilty pleasure (fun to read for the pure WTF-ery you will find). 


And of course if you want to be shocked, amazed and horrified try the amazing epic - the queen of all Bodice Rippers - Stormfire.  Wow that book was something else (of course be willing to pay at least $20 bucks for her).  Stormfire had me wanting to throw the book across the room around page 30 - 100 and then had me crying like a baby by 200 and I couldn't put the thing down by then.  ;)

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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LOL, you remind me that while Bertrice Small's early stuff was a bit heavier on the historical detail, there were some eyerolling WTF stuff, like in Love Wild and Fair the "mole" at the top of Catriona Leslie's youknowwhat that fascinated every guy that saw it. (At least I think I'm getting the details right... :P)



Last Edited on: 2/22/10 8:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/22/2010 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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LOL, Cheshire! I thought about Stormfire by Christine Monson when I suggested Savage Fire to Kate. I didn't suggest that because Kate wants to test drive bodice rippers and I thought the price tag might be a bit steep... It's got a WL queue of 63 wishers. After 2+ years, I'm at #5!

Colleen

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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I am just going to buy myself a copy of Stormfire.  The 20 bucks better be worth it!  I have finally bought a copy of Cowboy and the Cossack LP!
A  mere $25.00.   My birthday is coming up!

ETA:   Peyton Place and Mandingo   Now that is some filthy stuff!   Mandingo is particularily about the size factor and every racist thing about Black men.  And everyone of a certain age has read or wanted to read and didn't have the nerve to read, this book  (Including me, obviously.).  The sequels are worth a fortune on amazon.   And Payton Place, drugs, sex and wife swapping, if I recall.



Last Edited on: 2/22/10 10:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/22/2010 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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LOL, you remind me that while Bertrice Small's early stuff was a bit heavier on the historical detail, there were some eyerolling WTF stuff, like in Love Wild and Fair the "mole" at the top of Catriona Leslie's youknowwhat that fascinated every guy that saw it. (At least I think I'm getting the details right... :P)

Lol.  I was thinking Karla thinks Bertrice Small is heavy on plot?  But I have to remember that even the cheesy aspects of the plot are still plot:P  I just keep remembering Adora - ack!  Holding that book was like playing "hot potato".  And I've never read any Day Taylor or Phoebe Conn.  I dunno how I missed them, but their heyday may have been when I gave up romances for a while - due to the cheese factor in bodice rippers:P  I mean, "SHE DREAMED OF A HUSBAND, HE NEEDED A WENCH"?  ACK!!!
 

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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Considering I think "plot" means "lots of stuff happens, cheese or no cheese", then yes, I do think early Bertrice Small is heavy on plot. Because lots of things DO happen. I just read a recent-ish romance and there was about a couple chapters of plot-ish stuff in the beginning, a chapter at the end, and just a bunch of internal monologues and feelings in the middle. That, IMO, does not equal plot. Or Kinsale's Uncertain Magic, which was just a bunch of crap from beginning to end where the "plot" finally decided to show itself in the last 40 pages (in the shape of The Avenging Pixies of Retribution).

I don't care about whether something is cheesy or not. If the characters are doing stuff, going places, and it makes me keep turning the pages, then that constitutes a great read. If there's WTFery cheese, I'm a happy camper.



Last Edited on: 2/22/10 12:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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