Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Dirty Card Games, Baby, Yeah!

Bitchery reader Noelle asks:

I really loved this book and even lent it to my grandmother because at the time the twist was so unique. She passed away before my 11yr old was born so I read it 92-94ish. It’s a historical and to me it had a Horatio Hornblower feel to it. I can’t remember any names though. The heroine is the Post Mistress of Bath who loves her job and uses it to give gainful employment to the youth of Bath that might not otherwise have had a chance at a decent future. (awww)

Her father hates that she works and wants to be independent so he blackmails a succession of losers to try and seduce her into marriage. She always seems to uncover what her father’s hold is over the men and quickly finds a way to dismiss them until the dashing Navy Captain arrives.

He’s very well connected, rich, attractive and she just can’t figure out what in the world her father could possibly have on this man that’s ten times the man of any of the others. From what she gathers, it’s something bad, very very bad. And the hero is relentless in his pursuit. No matter what she does he won’t back down. And slowly she’s starting to fall for him. Oh and they all play cards A LOT, like every night.

Eventually as they both realize they have feelings for each other she uncovers his deep dark secret. Dun…dun….DUN…He can’t read! He can navigate a ship sure, but he uses a secretary to write all his correspondence. It turns out that he’s dyslexic. She begins to try and teach him with flash cards of course cause they all love the card games. And of course, she teaches him while they’re in bed and the first word he learns is breast. But then her father decides he doesn’t want them together and comes to town and tries to expose his secret at, you guessed it, a card party by introducing a new card game that uses words instead of numbers. But apparently she manages to teach him a few more words besides, breast, lips and vulva because he makes it through the game and at some point they live HEA. That ring a bell with anyone?

Dirty card games to help with dyslexia? Oh yeah, baby. Learning disabilities were never so much fun.

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  2. 2
    Xenia says:

    That cover is truly snark-worthy.

  3. 3
    SonomaLass says:

    It certainly is a snark-worthy cover.  Is he IN the baths at Bath?  And where is the rest of her dress—or is that a bath robe?  My oh my.

  4. 4
    Susan/DC says:

    From the description here, I actually thought this was an interesting premise, but the description on Amazon makes it sound trite (the note that “her independence was a sham” didn’t help).  So which is it?  Is it worth ignoring the cover?

  5. 5
    Kismet says:

    Despite the cover I actually like the book, lol. But it took me 3 tries to get past the first chapter (strange for me because I like Arnette Lamb), I guess i just needed to be in a certain mood. There is some good angst, and an annoying grandmother to go along with the jerk of a father. Her little foundling crew is kinda fun (they are very protective of her, and there are some cute scenes with the Hero winning them over). All in all, I thought it was a good read, though nothing spectacular.

  6. 6
    Noelle says:

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Kismet! 
    It makes sense that it’s Arnette Lamb. I think I read almost everything she wrote when I first got into reading romance.  At the time it was one of my very favorites. It’s going to be interesting rereading again and seeing how it holds up.

  7. 7
    dillene says:

    Man- that sounds like way more fun than ‘Hooked on Phonics’.

  8. 8
    annemjw says:

    Well, that’s because it’s Hookers on Phonics, apparently :)

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