Help A Bitch Out

Help a Bitch Out: Handsome Man, Orphan, and Nefarious Rapist Ahoy!

Bitchery Reader Susan wrote:

I’m a fairly new reader to your website, and when I saw the “help a bitch out” category, I could not resist. I read a book back in my angsty adolescent days, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember what the title of it is!  Here is the description:

A young woman (who is, apparently, of marriageable age) is orphaned, and left a great deal of money by her parents. Unfortunately, the money is left in the hands of an unscrupulous man (cannot remember his name) who is to hold on to it until she turns a certain age. Well, Unscrupulous Man tries to rape Orphan Child-Woman in order to force her to marry him (I guess he adheres to the “You poke it, you own it” crap), so he will get the money when she turns of age. She manages to escape, but only after languishing and whimpering for a ridiculously long time, while he arouses himself (I think he was old, it was set in the days before Viagra). Orphan Child-Woman runs away, and starts a home for girls somewhere in a distant village/town (I think it was a home for ravished girls at that, but I can’t be sure).

Needless to say, Handsome Wealthy Man shows up, and he and Orphan Child-Woman (who is a woman by now) fall in love. Unbeknownst to the happy couple, Unscrupulous Man has sent Unscrupulous Son to find Orphan Child-Woman.

To make a long (-ish) story short: Unscrupulous Son turns on Unscrupulous Man, allowing Handsome Wealthy Man to marry Orphan Child-Woman, who tells Unscrupulous (now Scrupulous) Son that he has “grown a chin.” (whatever that means). They all live happily ever after, all three of them, with a house full of (possibly) de-flowered women.

I know, I know, this is the most ridiculous storyline, but I know this book exists. If no one can identify it, I shall let it remain in the deep recesses of the back of my mind, where, in all probability, it should stay.

Unscrupulous Man? Orphaned Woman and Potential Rape Victim? Handsome Wealthy Honorable Man? It’s like a party of stock historical characters – and I so want an invite. I pray someone is wearing a pelisse. And that one of you can I.D. this book.


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    LisaG says:

    SOunds like The Nightingale Legacy by Catherine Coulter.

    Could be wrong, though…


  2. 2
    Carrie Lofty says:

    You poke it, you own it. *dies*

  3. 3
    willaful says:

    Nightingale Legacy, almost certainly. Quite a charming book, actually. The heroine is very agressive and the hero spends much of the book tied to the bedposts. :-)

  4. 4
    Scotsie says:

    I third the “Nightingale Legacy” vote. Heroine: Caroline Derwent-Jones (ugh).  Hero: Frederick North Nightingale (could it be any more cliched?)

    On a side note: I just looked it up on Amazon and laughed when Library Journal got the heroine’s name wrong in their review: they called her “Catherine”.  Whoops!

  5. 5
    Eeyore9990 says:

    You know, though, it’s sort of funny.  Take out the orphan home thing that she starts up and that plot line could be straight out of Julia Quinn’s “To Catch an Heiress”.

  6. 6
    Susan says:

    Thanks everyone! This has been nagging me for quite a while. Now I want to go back and read it!

  7. 7
    Amanda says:

    My favorite of the Legacy books…I think I read it half a dozen times.

    I was particularly fond of Caroline’s dominitrix tendencies.  :D

  8. 8

    I didn’t know the book, but the description was wonderful…I fear maybe as good as the book itself!

    “You poke it, You own it”  I must steal this line.

  9. 9
    Nifty says:

    I loved the story synopsis, especially how Unscrupulous Son became Scrupulous Son.

  10. 10
    Kimberly Anne says:

    Okay, was I the only one who read “Unscrupulous Son turns on Unscrupulous Man” and had a TOTALLY different understanding of that than “refuses to assist any longer”?

    I am going straight to hell.

  11. 11
    Anna says:

    I might be seeing you in hell, Kimberly Anne.  I needed you to explain to me what “Unscrupulous Son turns on Unscrupulous Man” meant.  I was very confused.  Intrigued, but confused. 

    I love the Susan’s synopsis, though.  It’s fabulous.

  12. 12
    Kim says:

    Yes, this is definately The Nightengale Legacy by Catherine Coulter. This is my favorite of Catherine Coulter’s book because the heroine is smart and funny and is not abused by the hero in any way. In fact, if I had just picked it up, I might not know it was a Catherine Coulter novel.

  13. 13
    Heidi says:

    I didn’t realize my husband was writing books. I recognize the *you poke it you own it* theory. Hmmm…..

  14. 14
    lisabea says:

    I miss the old Coulter. She wrote the wildest plot lines and included the most over the top moments. Like the book where the bad guy eats those starlings. 

    I am not into her contemporaries at all. Much sadness.

    My stupid word is been42. I’ll be 42 in a week…

  15. 15
    jesbelle says:

    Whoa, now I’m curious lisa. What book does the guy in starlings in?

  16. 16
    desertacacia says:

    Wait, seriously? Starlings? I just had a mental image of a man in a black cape in a tower popping entire live birds into his mouth. Yum yum yum.

    Is nobody else bothered by the “grew a chin” line? After imagining the Unscrupulus Son distracting the villain with hot man on man action (which in the context of him not being aroused enough to rape the heroine made sense to me) I was kind of freaked out by the bizarre-ness of what the Son grew. Did the father go around mocking his son all through his childhood about his lack of a chin? “You may have a spine and ballocks, but you’ll never be a true man until you grow a chin!” Or was it more like the Son lost his chin in an accident and had to wear a prosthetic? Sort of a Hemingway type deal, where I imagine him sitting with his head in his hands on his wedding night:
    “I’m sorry Caroline… I’ll never be able to be a true husband to you. I can’t consummate this marriage—you see I had my chin shot off at Waterloo.” I hope there’s a sequel about him learning to love again now that his father has acknowledged his chin. I like So Wild a Chin as a working title.

  17. 17
    Heidi says:

    Hold on. Is no one else concerned about the fact that the formerly unscrupulous son is now living with the former orphan and the good guy at the home for girls. Is he truly reformed? Or, as I suspect, is he merely pulling the wool over people’s eyes and deflowering left and right? Hello? Is he actually living with the aforementioned couple at the home for wayward girls? Someone please clear that up for me. I’m sure that a reformed unscrupulous rake with a chin can only hold out for so long before the chin goes along with the scruples and he starts making time with the ladies?

  18. 18
    Nadia says:

    I picked up this book after reading this thread, and I am finding it delightful. I just read the part where she pulls a gun on the butler. Who served her stale scones. Ha! The dialog is very funny. Not as funny as the synopsis posted here, but still pretty good.

    So… anyway… thank you. :)

  19. 19
    Kim says:

    The “unscrupulous” son does help the hero and heroine with the home. It’s not really a home for wayward girls, but a home for servant/poor girls who have been used and or abused by employers or other entitled men. He really does reform. He actually was resistant to his father’s plans in the first place. My one problem with the book is that she is not hard enough on the cousin who tries to rape her. The son on the other hand, is one of my favorite of her characters.

  20. 20

    I think Scrupulous Son actually did turn on Handsome Wealthy Man and the three of them lived together in a stable polygamist triad.  Orphan Child-Woman is the top, Handsome Wealthy Man could be a switch, and Scrupulous Son is definitely the submissive of the bunch.

    Now that book, I’d read.

  21. 21
    Susan says:

    Ok…now I’ve definitely got to go back and read this book. I wonder if my library has it…

    I didn’t remember the bondage/light S&M, but then again, it’s been about 10 years since I last read it. It is now on my To Read list!

    BTW, this comment thread has me snorting coca-cola out of my nose. And I’m at work.

  22. 22
    Susan says:

    Ok…that last bit was supposed to be a smiley, but apparently my java is wonky…

  23. 23
    mirain says:

    The Nightengale Legacy by Catherine Coulter is the one I was thinking of as well, although I think I once read something with a similar plot that started in England and quickly moved to the American west (the heroine escaped with some rancher type or something). I seem to recall The Nightengale Legacy having a mystery subplot with the hero’s Family Secret or Hidden Treasure or something of that sort.

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