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HaBO: Cartland

Hastur is looking for a Cartland she read in German, and her account of the story is laden with the awesome. She writes:

Dear Ladies, I am at your mercy.

It’s a Barbara Cartland book I’m looking for. I’ve no idea when it came out. I gave my only copy to someone a million years ago – and that copy was in German, so I have no idea what the English title was. Given Barbara’s epic life span, it could’ve been published somewhere between the 1920s and the 1990s.
The story:

Red-haired girl comes back to her uncle’s house from having left a governessing job at some lecher’s house (he was a Marquis). Back home, she finds her cousin engaged to an aspiring politician who is up for promotion and needs a wife. She and the cousin (one red-haired, the other blond) swap places at the wedding (wtf?). The cousin elopes with a dashing officer, who takes her to India, while the redhead marries the politician – who was a baronet, thinking of it. Sir Something.
The aspiring politician eventually finds out who he’s married and wants to dump the chica by sending her to Italy, but she is unusually spirited for a Cartland heroine and tells him to show some British stiff upper lip or else she’ll ruin his career.

They take off for his estate, she finds out he’s not such a bad dude after all, just tortured by his past, and after a while, he too wants to get into her frilly knickers. After he tries it, she bashes him over the head with a chandelier (a CARTLAND heroine!!11one!) and runs away to London thinking he is dead. In London, she runs into her former employer (the ole Marquis deLech). After running away from him, she makes up her mind she does love her hubby and goes back, the solution to all his issues in her hand luggage.

They confess their undying love for each other. I think there was no obligatory two-line sexing at the end of this novel. Not sure, though.
The reason I really want to read this book again is that this girl was so unusually spunky for a Cartland heroine, who told the hero to stuff it and did not admire him from the start although he was such a hot specimen and all. If anyone remembers this book, please do tell me!


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  1. 1
    Liz in Australia says:

    I know this one!!!
    Sailing to Love
    “Venetia was very lonely after the death of her parents. So when her cousin Mary begged her to help to save her from a forced marriage, Venetia was ready. Mary was in love with another man and expecting his child. yet the Queen wanted her to marry the Earl of Mountwood at a moment’s notice and go with him to India. A reckless impulse made Venetia promise to take Mary’s place at the altar. She would worry about the consequences later. Lord Mountwood was handsome, but he was also haughty and autocratic, demanding instant obedience from his servants – and his wife. When he discovered the trick Venetia had played on him he was furious. She had only her quick wits to protect her from his wrath. On the journey to India they quarrelled and sparred, each getting the measure of the other, while the growing attraction between them became impossible to ignore. In India they travelled to the North-West frontier, to a fort that was under constant attack by the Russians. And there, just as she and her husband discovered their love, they were caught up in danger that threatened to part them. How they overcame all the obstacles is told in this exciting and romantic novel by Barbara Cartland.”

  2. 2
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Seriously, the guy’s name is Mountwood?  That just about made me spit coffee all over my keyboard.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    EARL OF MOUNTWOOD?! OMG. I just choked on my coffee.

    For getting it in one – Liz in Australia gets a title, along with some other awesome folks. Me and Photoshop, we need to have words.

    Way to go Liz!


  4. 4
    AgTigress says:

    Why is Mountwood so funny?  This must be a language thing, again.  ‘Mount’ as in, ‘the stallion mounted the mare’ I can see, though hardly hilarious, but ‘wood’?
    Someone explain, to this British English speaker.

  5. 5
    Egads says:

    “Wood” as in something hard, like an erection.

  6. 6

    “Wood” and “to get wood” is slang for an erection.

  7. 7
    AgTigress says:

    “Wood” and “to get wood” is slang for an erection.

    Ah, right.  Thanks.  I have come across that Americanism, somewhere, but I had totally forgotten it.

  8. 8
    Eunice says:

    Maybe it was a Smart Bitch Title.

    Mountwood…. *snickers*

  9. 9
    AbbyT says:

    Same reason we American’s snicker over under-age hottie Sean Biggerstaff who plays the character Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter films. 


  10. 10
    Sassee says:

    Mountwood?  Oh my God.  That’s about as bad as another set of character names I’ve read in a romance novel… Magnus and Peter Hardwick.

    I bet you can guess who the hero was in that one.

  11. 11
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Mountwood?  Oh my God.  That’s about as bad as another set of character names I’ve read in a romance novel… Magnus and Peter Hardwick.

    I bet you can guess who the hero was in that one.

    And don’t forget Petronius Longus in Lindsay Davis’ Falco series of murder mysteries.

  12. 12

    Of course, I understand the Brits laughed at the movie title “Free Willy” for much the same reason that us Americans are chortling at “Mountwood.” :D

    Hit him over the head with a chandelier?!  You go, girl! rofl!

  13. 13
    Alexandra says:

    It has been some time and I have been looking for a book from Maria Ferrarella. I read it about 10 years ago. it was about about a girl who left her small town due to her father harrassement work fro a ranch in Montana and is forced to return because he is dying.
    After the death of her mother, her fathered remarried and the new wife had an older boy. He was the only one nice to her. (I think they had a younger son afterward who was a real bastard and died after tryind to rape her during a raging storm).
    After the death of the father she learns that she inherits nothing and want to leave the ranch (because of her fathers attitudes and lies every one except an old dude and her stepbrother despise her). To make things right he propose her but she refuse and prepare to return to montana. whe a fire starts in the stables (b’c kids were triyng smoking) and she almost die saving the kids and the horse feeling that she has nothing to loose.
    she almost dye and he tries make her want to live again and marry him (because after that everyone realise what a wonderful person she really is) (all because she was not her fathers child).

    I remember pretty much the story but can’t find the title (I read it in french) and really would like to reread it.
    Thanks for your help

  14. 14
    AgTigress says:

    Of course, I understand the Brits laughed at the movie title “Free Willy”

    We certainly did;  positively took our breath away.  ‘Free Penis’ is, after all, mildly amusing.  Would Americans have hesitated over ‘Free Dick’ or not? 
    I don’t see ‘Mountwood’ in at all the same light.  ‘Mount the erection’?  But ‘mount’, like ‘cover’, is generally used of male animals mounting females.  I still think it is pretty obscure, but this may be because I instantly associate words with pictures, and this picture just doesn’t work for me.

  15. 15
    Lovecow2000 says:

    I don’t see ‘Mountwood’ in at all the same light.  ‘Mount the erection’?

    I don’t know about y’all, but I have read so many, many romances where the heroine mounts his throbbing shaft, hardness (whatever) and rides him. 

    What’s the old saw: America and Britain—2 nations divided by a common language?

  16. 16
    Suze says:

    I was once mocked wildly for failing to respond appropriately to the following joke (told to me by an Australian):

    What’s black and white and red all over?  A crow with a fat.

    Yeah, apparently in Australian, a fat is a hard-on.  Who knew?  (I’m Canadian, by the way.  Since we’re sort of somewhere between American and British English, we just kind of randomly giggle at whatever strikes our fancy.)

    For example, deep54.  That kind of tickles my funny bone this morning.

  17. 17
    Stephanie says:

    “Sailing to Love” sounds pretty close, but the description also sounds to me like “Love is the Enemy” (1952). Nerina, a feisty redheaded poor relation, dons a blonde wig to take the place of her docile blonde cousin Elizabeth—Who Loves Another—at the altar to marry Sir Rupert Wroth, one of those hard-hearted, woman-hating types. He may have been a politician, I don’t remember that part very well. But I remember that Wroth was, well, wroth, when he discovered the deception, but he couldn’t have the marriage dissolved because Elizabeth was out of reach with her true love, and the heroine actually had the same Christian name as her cousin (Nerina was her middle name).  Anyway, couple fought like cat and dog for a while, then began to soften towards each other.  Then they had another fight, during which Wroth ripped Nerina’s bodice and tried to get it on with her; she brained him and ran away, possibly to London.  She ultimately comes back to him when she hears he’s been injured, though I don’t remember whether it was as a result of her hitting him or not.  On hearing his delirious ravings, she realizes that he loves her and they have one of those sickbed reconciliations, complete with rapturous, ellipse-laden declarations of mutual adoration.

    If the book isn’t “Sailing to Love,” could this be it?

  18. 18
    Eunice says:

    I don’t see ‘Mountwood’ in at all the same light.  ‘Mount the erection’?

    Think of it in the context of “Mounting a horse.” Mount-wood =  Climb onto the erection. And since we’re thinking mount as in horses, by association “riding” or “ride”. So basically he’s Earl Ride-Me. (“side to side”)

    (And now I have the Captain Hammer voice in my head going, “The wood is my penis.”)

  19. 19
    Laurel says:


    I’ve read your book, but I’m pretty sure it’s by Susan Fox, not Maria Ferrella.  I think it’s To Claim a Wife.

  20. 20
    Laurel says:

    Sorry, I meant that message for Alexandra.

  21. 21
    Alexandra says:

    Laurel said on…
    09.09.08 at 08:17 AM |
    I’ve read your book, but I’m pretty sure it’s by Susan Fox, not Maria Ferrella.  I think it’s To Claim a Wife.

    You know what, I think you are right but what bother me is :
    1. the cover look quite the same even from the french book
    2. I pretty sure it was under Maria ferrerella name.
    Really weird and many thanks

  22. 22
    AgTigress says:

    Think of it in the context of “Mounting a horse.” Mount-wood = Climb onto the erection.

    Yes, I see.  As with puns, I can usually see it when it is explained, but this is so far from my initial visual that it is an effort for me.  To me, the primary visual sexual association of ‘mount’ is that of a stallion or bull mounting/covering a mare or cow.  To be sure, the human woman-astride position is often described as ‘riding’, though I have always found it a poor metaphor. 
    Anyway, thanks to everyone who has explained why ‘Mountwood’ is so funny.  To me, it is not nearly as amusing as the forename of the ineffable Mrs. Palin’s daughter, ‘Bristol’.


  23. 23
    Jackie L. says:

    I haven’t read a Cartland since my teen years (when tacky Lady Babs was still alive, even), but I seem to recall that she had maybe three plots total and reused them unstintingly.  But a heroine who wasn’t a total doormat would have been a refreshing change of pace.

    I liked the Swedish vacuum commercial that didn’t translate well into American—Our vacuum really sucks.

  24. 24
    Catherine says:

    AgTigress, why is Bristol funny?  I hate missing the joke.

  25. 25
    cynthia says:

    After doing some internet digging, I’m going to agree with Stephanie above about the Cartland book probably being Love is the EnemySailing to Love seems to be fairly recently published (one of the unpublished books during BC’s life according the BC website), and the other book is certainly old enough to have had foreign editions.  I remember LitE as being one of the better books of that era.

  26. 26
    AgTigress says:

    Catherine:  ‘bristol’ is one of the more common mildly vulgar BE slang terms for ‘breast’;  as in, ‘my goodness, that’s a fine pair of bristols’. 
    It is from Cockney rhyming slang.  Bristol City = titty.  It is used all over the country, however, one of the classic Cockney rhyming slang words that has entered ordinary colloquial speech.

  27. 27
    Catherine says:

    Ahhhh… Cockney rhyming slang.  My friend tries to use that with me.  It drives me insane because I never get it or the point of it.  She has to explain it to me.  Then it just turns into, “so why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” or “why would I ever associate bread with head?”  Lol.  Thanks for explaining it to me.

  28. 28
    RfP says:

    I understand the Brits laughed at the movie title “Free Willy”

    So did Americans.  I’ll never believe the film was named that innocently.  It’s a well-known term; President Clinton’s nickname is Slick Willy.

    Think of it in the context of “Mounting a horse.”

    AgTigress, any time you see a pun involving a riding term, suspect sex : )  E.g. when Bareback was printed in the US, the publisher changed the name to Benighted because of the sexual connotations.  If anyone mentions the Reverse Cowgirl, it’s a sexual position.

  29. 29
    AgTigress says:

    Cockney rhyming slang is deliberately obscure:  the whole point of slang is to have an ‘in’ language that defines a group, and that outsiders can’t understand easily.  You have caught on to the principle, have you – that the rhyming word is the one that is dropped, so that the word actually used does not rhyme with the translation?

    Thus:  ‘get up them apples’:  apples = ‘stairs’ (apples and pears).
    ‘‘e’s me old china’: china = ‘mate’ (china plate).
    Although the true Cockney dialect is fading a bit these days, rhyming slang continues, and is constantly renewed with contemporary phrases and references, making glossaries obsolete, so it remains obscure to the uninitiated.  As I said, ‘bristol’ (and the two I quoted above) has moved out into ordinary colloquial British English, and won’t change.

  30. 30
    AgTigress says:

    President Clinton’s nickname is Slick Willy

    LOL!  I hadn’t heard that. 

    I always think of riding metaphors as terribly forced and inappropriate.  I suppose that this is because, as soon as I see a horse-related term, the visual associations for me instantly become equine, and I have to drag my mind back to sex quite consciously. 


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