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After nearly 3 years on my WL, I finally, finally, finally got a copy of this Bodice Ripper. I finished reading it in the pre-dawn hours this morning. Legendary rapes aside, this book is over-the-top. Long before I reached the end, I was feeling like I was watching a marathon showing of "Perils of Pauline" serial movie shorts and kept hearing the Indiana Jones theme music in my head...
Our intrepid heroine, Catherine, is a bit of a hoyden. The book opens in her English countryside home where one suitor has just saved her from being compromised by another suitor with a sword fight in her bedroom. She is unashamedly nude when her elderly governess comes into the room...
From there, she survives a kidnapping, inprisonment and near starvation, beatings, broken ribs, punctured lung, carrying a dead baby for 2 months before miscarrying, shipwreck, a duel with knives (in which she is one of the duelists), 4 lovers (including the exiled future king of France), and 3 husbands.
At the age of 12, she shot her mother's horse and then her mother (so she wouldn't suffer after being impaled by a hay baling fork). The amazing weapon had 2 bullets! Keep in mind that when that event took place in 1792 (which you don't know until near the end of the book when a year is given in describing a scene), pistols had to be manually loaded with gun powder and a ball of lead. There were no six-shooters! Maybe she reloaded the gun herself.
Much later, when our hero was shot (not once, but twice - in the back and in the chest), Catherine performs surgery with a crochet hook to remove the bullet from his chest.
Then she wields another weapon to shoot her husband (our hero's brother) to save the hero's life. BTW, her husband is also her brother (of course, she didn't know that when she married him).
And speaking of our hero, Sean. He survives the aforementioned bullets, castration of one of his testicles (along with torture of every imaginable description while imprisoned by Catherine's father), and poison-tipped rapiers. Throughout the story, he has 7 or 8 lovers, including a vindictive mistress with whom he started a carnal relationship when he was 14 and she was 12.
This amazing couple moves from crisis to crisis with very few moments of bliss until the very last chapter.
Despite all the incredulous plot twists, what really made me crazy were the time warp situations...
- The aforementioned double-shot pistol lightweight enough to be handled by a 12-yr-old girl.
- Marines who dress in camouflage to take a smuggling ship (there were Royal Marines back then, but camouflage such as that described didn't happen for another 110 years)
- A country doctor who runs a clinic where Catherine takes care of the billing (huh?).
- A traditional Christmas celebration, complete with Christmas tree (which wasn't introduced in England until Charlotte of Hanover married George III in the early 1800's). At the time, Christmas was a bacchanalian party similar to our Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick's Day or a simple feast.
- A bachelor party for Catherine's husband #2. The event takes place in Paris, well known for it's decadence, but I think stag parties are a 20th century custom
- A wedding at Notre Dame that included 12 bridesmaids in matching gowns (another 20th century custom) and a bride in white (an idea introduced by Queen Victoria several decades later).
I do have to say that after all is said and done, it is a page-turner. You fervently hope the h/h will get their HEA, but with so many plot elements that are usually taboo in the romance genre, you're never quite sure until the end. Is it worth the $20 it will cost on eBay? Sure. If I'd pay that much for an Ellora's Cave title, I'd pay that much for Stormfire.
Last Edited on: 6/14/10 8:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
You're welcome, Margaret. Glad you like it. '-D
Forgot one of the time warps...
We have a young well-bred woman, the daughter of an English viscount, heiress to her mother's french title as countess, and getting ready for a ball includes wearing eye shadow, rouge (blusher), and NAIL POLISH!
Last Edited on: 6/14/10 8:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
I didn't care for Stormfire - (your synopsis with all the time warps is hilarious by the way) - but I'd like to recommend two other books by Christine Monson that are pretty good: RANGOON and A FLAME RUN WILD. Both get kind of slow in parts, but have strong heroes/heroines, and some very emotional & dramatic love scenes. And very under-used time/place settings. You won't read too many romances like these being written today.
I think Xmas Trees got their start in England due to Prince Albert - after he married Queen Victoria in 1840 he brought over the German custom & it became popular. And Christmas celebrations took off then, too - with a little assist from Charles Dickens...
Glad you enjoyed it, Fedora.
For those of you who can't imagine why I'd do a whole topic on this book, do a search on this title in this forum to see the discussions this book has generated. See also the reviews on goodreads.com.
I put it on my WL after following a very, very long thread on Amazon (sorry, it has long since fallen off the bottom of their 1,023 topic limit). I couldn't imagine that such a book could have made it into print or that it would be considered romance...
I'm pooped! What a roller-coaster ride. I used to have this book but probably donated it to GW at some point. Who knew. Not sure if I'd be tempted to read it even now because at the time I was ditching older hist/roms that I knew I'd never get around to reading. If I ever see it at a library sale it would be worth the tiny investment.
Hmm, I don't see all the hoopla. I've spent 20 for that book, 20 for Windflower and 20 for Silver Angel by Denys and I couldn't get past chapter 2 on any of them. Yet people seem to think they are so amazing.