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HaBO: What a Hero This One Is

Judith is searching for a book. I think most of the internet might be searching for a book, but the reputation of the Bitchery in discovering the lost bookage, it is known far and wide. This one wasn’t necessarily a romance, but a historical novel from the late 80’s or early 90’s.

Remember: anyone who guesses it in the first comment gets a Smart Bitch Title™.

  1.  Near-destitute heroine travels by boat from Ireland to England with her illegitimate baby and a devoted servant girl, looking for a better life, ends up working in a tavern serving ale, agrees to an afternoon quickie with the hero to keep her job (he’s the owner?) but once the deed is done he insults her sexual skills and hands her a muddy dog as a present, ruining her dress just as she’s due to start her shift.  And the dog is just another mouth to feed.
  2. They negotiate an agreement for her to become his mistress while standing on a deserted road in the bitter cold winter.  He drives up in his carriage as she’s walking along.  He hops down and wraps his coat around her as he hugs her to him, asking what she wants.  She surprises him by asking for funds to start her own business.  He agrees.  After he and his warm coat drive off, she’s back to freezing her ass off but she’s happy and glowing with ambition.

  3. She becomes a successful shop owner (dresses?), through the years they periodically live together but have their own interests, she has his child, he advises her on business matters, they’re friends and companions, but love is never mentioned.

  4. At the end of the story, as they are walking together one evening, he is taunted and severely beaten by thugs hired by some of his business rivals, right in front of her.  She manages to drag him back to his house, half dead, where he turns on her, looks at her with hatred and orders his servants to throw her out.  It’s a shocking scene.  They end up reconciled when he gets over his shame that she witnessed his utter humiliation.   

This guy sounds like a real peach. Anyone remember this book?


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  1. 1
    Mel-O-Drama says:

    I have no idea, but I totally want to read it now.

  2. 2
    Anu says:

    Brenda Jagger, A Song Twice Over. Heroine Cara Adeane, “hero” Christie Goldsborough.

  3. 3
    Amie Stuart says:

    No clue but it sure sounds familiar!

  4. 4
    SonomaLass says:


    I love that you put hero in quotes for this book.  Sounds exactly right to me.

  5. 5
    Laura says:

    It does look as if he’s not the hero of the book, at least from the various reviews.  Here are a couple on Amazon:

  6. 6
    Anu says:

    For the most of the book, Cara does love another man than Christie, but the other man doesn’t love her, and Christie doesn’t let Cara be with anyone else. Cara and Christie end up together, and he is the hero described above. The book also has a secondary couple (or would Cara and Christie be secondary, I don’t know…) and the other man is part of that.

  7. 7
    SonomaLass says:

    Nope, definitely not a romance if she’s in love with someone else and ends up stuck with the abusive guy.  Doesn’t sound like a book I would <3.

  8. 8
    Nancy Werlin says:

    Don’t judge this book by the synopsis! It was wonderful—so was every single Brenda Jagger book I read, which I think was all of them, years back. They’re well worth hunting down at the library. In fact, I think I may need to read them again…

  9. 9
    Jennie says:

    Yeah, I’ve read several Brenda Jagger books and this one was by far my favorite. The “hero” is pretty hard to take at times, but not necessarily in a bodice-rippery, needs-a-good-woman-to-tame-him kind of way. He’s more just very emotionally scarred, and the heroine isn’t particularly “good”, which made me like the whole book a lot more. I would recommend it to any romance fan looking for something a little different.

  10. 10
    Jan says:

    I loved this book.  The story and romance takes its time to evolve but its wildly romantic, particularly the ending, and I loved the food being a metaphor for life and love of the relationship..

  11. 11
    Jane says:

    oh crap.  This was meant for Sherry Thomas’ Delicious book.

  12. 12
    devon says:

    This sounds bizarre, but intriguing

  13. 13
    Alx says:

    A few errors :
    1.there is no devoted servant girl as Cara travels from Ireland to England, but a devoted mom (Odette) : Odette’s husband (Cara’s dad) left his family, for a short time, he thought, to make his fortune in America. Meanwhile, distraught Odette, Cara (who cqannot affrd to be distraught or in love), with little Liam, have to fend for themselves.

  14. 14
    Alx says:

    2. The owner of the tavern has connections with the thieves in a neighbourhood he more or less owns. So when Cara gets robbed of the dress she made for her first big client, one that could mean the of a successful career as dress-maker, or possibly jail if she doesn’t get the dress back, she goes to tavern-owner , and accepts sex-in-exchange-for-theDress.  Only he wants more than a log in the bed. Eventually, she gets the dress back.

  15. 15
    Alx says:

    3. She does not have his(Christies) child. She has Liam, her son from her one time lover in Ireland. Her mother Odette is who takes care of Liam, a too quiet, too “separate” boy, so when Odette’s husband finally takes her to America, Liam goes with them and does not stay with Cara, his absentee Mom. 

    Cara gets a second opportunity to be a mother : A friend’s (condemned to Australia for his political ideas) daughter, Anna, is given to her to take care of. The girl and the ferocious dog, -formerly Christie’s dog- oddly enough, become great friends.

  16. 16
    Alx says:

    Nice girls, Good guys : they don’t make for good romance. Have no fear here : The nice characters (Daniel, Gemma) here are not in the fore ground. Luke is in between. Luke I liked : Nice but no fool, and certainly not fooled. Lucid, yet not deterred. Great thing about Christie is the unlikely cast as love interest ; and the mystery of course (we don’t learn much about him until the end) And then it ends abruptly, and we invent all the non-dit : That’s intriguing.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    That sounds really interesting.

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