Help A Bitch Out

A Request For Help from a Librarian

Book CoverLibrarian Jessica is looking for the assistance of the Bitchery. She’s writing an article for librarians on Johanna Lindsey, and is looking for books that best capture Lindsey’s style, particularly those you loved or hated the most:

I’m writing (eventually) what librarians call an author readalike, a guide to the author and their appeal to readers. The second part is suggestions for other recommended authors that have a similar reading appeal…. Once I’ve read (or reread) several of her books and I can say more of what makes reading JL a unique experience, then I will want to identify 4-6 more authors who have some of the same appeals.

Can you believe it’s been so long since I’ve read Lindsey, I have to go dig through my bookshelf to find at least one title that I really adored? How embarrassing. And I call myself a romance blogger. What about you? What’s your most-loved or most-hated Lindsey, and what would you recommend for Librarian Jessica?


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  1. 1
    J.C. Wilder says:

    The only Lindsey title I can remember reading is Savage Thunder. I guess I would say that I loved it even though the only thing I can remember is the hero and heroine having sex on horseback.

    I’m twisted – what can I say?


  2. 2

    I love Johanna Lindsay with mad love.  Mad, mad, mad love.  I think I own almost all of her backlist.  I even love all of her recent ones, like Captiv of My Desires, even though people seem to hate them.  I’m not exactly objective here…

    My favorites are probably The Devil Who Tamed Her and The Marriage Most Scandalous, and I enjoyed Defy Not The Heart, especially because it was not a Regency historical romance.  Those I reread most often.  I love the Mallory saga…  Okay, I should stop probably.

    The worst book…  Oy.  A Gentle Feuding.  I hate Scottish/Highlander Romance.  I hate faux Scottish accent.  I hated the heroine.  I hated the hero.  It took me three damn hours to read this book, because I hated it so much and had to take my time to groan and attempt to spork myself in the eye in an effort to stop the pain, but it is a Lindsey and I finished it, and I only reread it once after that.  Not one of her best :(. 

    As to Lindsey’s style, I’ve done a blog post on it a while back.  It went like this:

    5 Signs you’ve been reading too much Johanna Lindsey
    On surviving kidnapping:

    1. When a man kidnaps you, try to feebly pound his chest. If that fails, seduce him.

    2. If the man who kidnaps you is a sea captain, entice him into compromising situation, hit him on the head, chain him in his own cabin, and then try to seduce him.

    3. If the man who kidnaps you is a Highlander, pretend to be very scared of him – Scotts are gentle with their wimmenfolk, and he might take you back where he found you. (At the very least, he might offer.) If that fails, seduce him.

    4. If the man who kidnaps you is a bastard son of a Norman lord, try to bribe him into marriage with your castle. Normans are a pragmatic lot, and you can always seduce him after you are married.

    5. If all of the above doesn’t apply, and you are still kidnapped, check the nearest stable – there might be an English Duke in disguise in there. The men of the ton are chivalrous and he will probably rescue you.

    :happy sigh:  I lurve those books

  3. 3
    Pippy says:

    Ok, I only recently (like a couple of months ago) did a vast lets-read-anything-by of her books, which should tell you that I, for the most part, enjoyed her books.  I can not single out a single one that I thought was best, but I can, most definitly, single out two that I thought were the worst.  Thoes two were “Warrior’s Woman” and “Keeper of the Heart”. 

    I started off listening to them on audio book cause most of the time even the worst book makes cleaning the house more bearable.  I had to switch to reading them, cause I am one of those people who has to know the ending, and I figured that I could get to it faster reading then listening.  But I really, really, really, really hated those two books.  They were so bad, I wish I could barf all knowledge that I had of those books out of my brain. 

    They are supposedly futuristic/sci-fi/whatever, but the ……I don’t even want to think about them enough to describe.

    And I like most of her stuff, even if what ilona andrews says is like so totally true, but they are FUN, so who cares?

  4. 4

    Man, I can only think of one or two JL books I read.  There was one I really enjoyed, but it’s been ages since I read it.  Prisoner of My Desire is the title.

  5. 5

    I’m with the librarian, in that I know very little about Johanna Lindsey.  In fact… I’ve never actually read anything by her.  //hangs head in shame

    I do have “You Belong to Me” in my TBR pile.  Is that any good?

  6. 6

    Angel is the only Lindsay on my keeper shelf. Go figure, Westerns generally aren’t a fave of mine, but I really love these two characters together.

  7. 7

    Pippy said:

    And I like most of her stuff, even if what ilona andrews says is like so totally true, but they are FUN, so who cares?

    I know!  They are so, so fun.  I’m somewhat strict in my reading habits, which is not to say that I will automatically toss the book out the window if there is kidnapping and forceful kisses in it, but 99% of the time I really don’t go for it.  She is one of those rare authors for me that doesn’t trigger the throwing.  Normally, I would be like, “Why that woman said, “No!” and he kissed her anyway.  Shoot that bastard.  Get the torch, let’s roast the book over the slow fire.”

    With Lindsey, it’s “OMG, he just drugged her and stuffed her into a trunk and is kidnapping her.  Keep going!  Don’t forget the air holes!”  To be fair, Lindsey’s heroines are usually likely to give as good as they get. 

    I don’t know why, but JR Ward does it for me too: so let’s see, he grabs some woman he never met before, puts her against the wall, and is rubbing against her, why she is saying, “No!  Let me go!”  By all rights, I should drop the book, but no, I reread the damn thing so much, I think it’s falling apart.  Perhaps I have issues.

    Word: wrong39.  LOL!

  8. 8
    katiebabs says:

    Since Lindsey is known for her heroes who won’t take no for answer from the heroine and forces them to their will, I would look for those authors who have the same such as Catherine Coulter historicals, Dawn Thompson, Karen Robards old historicals,  Elizabeth Lowell’s old historicals, Stephanie Laurens, Diana Palmer and Jude Jude Deveraux.

    Prisoner of my Desire is considered a classic by Lindsey, perhaps because the heroine turns the tables on the heroes and forces him to have sex with her?  By the end I wanted to throw this book against the wall because of the non-stop forced seductions or rape both the hero and heroine go through.

  9. 9
    Philippa says:

    I have only read one, and it was so dreadful and contrived that it put me off.  It was called The Present, or perhaps The Christmas Present, and was one of the Malory series books.

    A mysterious journal belonging to an ancestor is found at Christmas timed, and it – oh so amazingly – parallels the situation that the protagonists are in.  Very twee.

  10. 10
    Lyvvie says:

    I also love the Mallory books. Some of the first romances I ever read and they’ve stayed with me.

  11. 11
    Aemelia says:

    Oh I love me some Lindsey, and have read all, except her latest book.  I must say that while some I’ve read till the pages fell out: GENTLE ROUGE, HEARTS AFLAME, DEFY NOT MY HEART, SECRET FIRE, BRAVE THE WILD WIND,  ANGEL, etc…there are a few that I will never re-read: JOINING, A PIRATES LOVE , HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

    Note to Phillippa~ if you only read THE PRESENT-not one of her better ones,  and not really a stand alone~ you need to read some of the earlier Malorys’… they are: LOVE ONLY ONCE, TENDER REBEL, GENTLE ROUGE

  12. 12
    Lyvvie says:

    dumbass – I forgot to add my author of similar appeal; Jude Deveraux. In particular The Duchess and the Velvet series.

  13. 13
    Corrine says:

    I can’t say that I love any of JL’s titles, but I enjoyed Angel, Say You Love Me, and A Loving Scoundrel. Obviously, I’m a fan of her lighter work, but none are keepers, IMO.

    I hated Captive of My Desires (and I hated even more that I paid hardcover price for it) and Love Only Once for very different reasons. CoMD was tepid at best and not in the least interesting, and I was so disappointed by her portrayal of Drew (the hero). He didn’t live up to the expectations raised in the previous Mallory books. Love Only Once was angsty, dark-ish, and I absolutely hated Nicholas. He was not punished severely enough for his distrust in the end, and that left a bad taste in my mouth.

  14. 14
    nystacey says:

    The Mallorys made piracy fashionable, and, the series as a whole made current historical series, like Stephanie Laurens Bar Cynster series, possible.

    My favorite Lindsay? Until Forever.  It was the book that made me a romance reader.  I remember saying something like ‘they can do THAT in romance’-it was an sf obsessed reader’s first encounter with Time Travel stories(which were outside what I thought romance was/could be).  *sighs*  Close second is ‘The Magic of You’, my favorite ending ever.


  15. 15

    From an informal poll of people I’ve chatted with recently, four out of five of my friends agree that “Gentle Rogue” was the seminal Lindsay experience and the one we all remember best.  Oh, those pirate ships.

    I have to put in a personal vote for “Say You Love Me,” which also has wonderful elements of Lindsay over-the-topness (have debts?  no problem! just auction off your handy-dandy heroine.  all movable parts included).  So much fun.

    As for worst… oh heavens, I can’t even remember the name.  I think I’ve blotted it out.  “Prisoner of My Desire”?  It involved some sort of medieval castle and the heroine, er, forcing her attentions on the hero.

  16. 16
    Angela James says:

    On the other hand, I love Warrior’s Woman. I still re-read it from time to time. But I know there are a lot of people who object to both his “punishment” of her and the faux-world building. But regardless, I’m always fascinated by both the characters and the surroundings she constructed in the book, and I love the interactions between the hero/heroine. I guess I’m one of those readers who secretly thrills to the idea of a strong hero dominating a strong heroine. I think it’s an illness.

  17. 17
    Lisa J says:

    My favorites are Angel, A Man to Call My Own, and Love me Forever.  Her books are like crack for me.  I buy whatever she writes and I usually finish it off within an hour or two.

    Jude Deveraux (the older books) and Julie Garwood (historicals) are the closest I can find to her.

  18. 18
    KellyMaher says:

    As a fellow librarian, I *must* contribute.

    Favorite new school Lindsey (even though it’s over 10 years old):
    Say You Love Me – it seemed to be the first of her “softer” books

    Favorite old school Lindseys:
    Secret Fire – and, hoo damn, the scene where she’s begging to be released because she’s sick and he tells her, “nope, got to have the sexoring ‘cause my idiot manservant gave you an aphrodisiac and my staff of love is the only cure” really walked the line of forced seduction.

    Warrior’s Woman – Tedra could dish out exactly what she was given.

  19. 19
    April says:

    Angel and You Belong To Me remain my favorite Lindsays.

    I also enjoy a good Amanda Quick novel due to the similarities in plucky heroines.

  20. 20
    Monique says:

    While the Mallory family series is probably her longest running and most well-known series, it was never my favorite.  That honor goes to 2 books, Secret Fire and Captive Bride.  I loved both, and still read them. 

    But oh, got to agree with KellyMaher, Warrior’s Woman was awesome too!

  21. 21
    Jessica says:

    Thanks for all the great suggestions and so fast!  Sounds like I’ll need to read at least one Mallory book and now I’m going to check my local library and see which others I can get right off for some weekend reading. 

    Librarian Jessica

  22. 22
    Aubrey says:

    Johanna Lindsey and Virginia Henley were probably the two authors that really got me into romance as a young teen (I know, I know, not the best stuff for a 13 year old to be reading), and while I loved every single Johanna Lindsey I read, it wasn’t until Say You Love Me that I fell in love with a hero of a romance novel. I guess even back then I loved beta heroes, long before I was even aware of alpha and beta heroes.

    While I gobbled up anything and everything by Lindsey while I was in my teens, I haven’t read anything by her in at least eight years. I remember her books being fun, but after a while all the forced sex got to be a little too much.

  23. 23
    Pippy says:

    Angela James, you hit it right on the nail -the whole “punishment” thing sets me off way more then the forced seductions/rapes.  I am not sure why, and I am normally not a big fan of them, but I can deal.  However, “punishment” almost always makes me want to throw the book across the room, which is not a great idea if I am reading on the computer or one of my electronic devices (it does ten to shorten the lifespan of the thing). 

    I was also driven nuts by the faux mangled English that the natives talked in, though I probably would not have minded if I was not listening to an audio book instead of reading.

  24. 24
    rm says:

    I believe I own the entire JL backlist, and intend to keep them all. (Except, maybe the newer ones will get dumped if/when space becomes an issue.)

    I roughly categorize them into ‘old skool’, ‘the good and the great’ and ‘new meh’.

    Favorites (alphabetically):
    Defy Not the Heart
    Gentle Rogue
    Hearts Aflame (incidentally, my first JL)
    Keeper of the Heart
    Love Me Forever
    The Magic of You
    Man of My Dreams
    Savage Thunder
    Say You Love Me
    Tender Rebel
    Warrior’s Woman

    Fires of Winter
    Glorious Angel
    Paradise Wild

    I can’t really remember why I hated them (since I’ve been avoiding them after the first reading) but I think I expected one thing from them and got something totally different. This is mostly due to having read the sequels first, making untrue assumptions from them and being disappointed by my expectations. Seriously, in the sequels these are old-married-in-love couples and in their own books they’re… not. (Also, these are all old skool.)

    Was disappointed in:
    Captive of My Desires
    The Devil Who Tamed Her
    A Loving Scoundrel
    A Man To Call My Own
    Marriage Most Scandalous

    I don’t know if a) I’ve changed or b) JL has changed or c) both but I wasn’t satisfied by these books. New meh.

  25. 25
    dangrgirl says:

    I have only read one, and it was so dreadful and contrived that it put me off.  It was called The Present, or perhaps The Christmas Present, and was one of the Malory series books.

    Lindsey jumped the shark for me with PRISONER OF MY DESIRE, where the H/H spent most of the book chaining each other to the bed—and not in a fun way. I really do think I threw that book against the wall. I understand that a lot of readers love the Lindsey, but I just could not reconcile that the H/H could love each other after what they did to each other in that book.

  26. 26
    dangrgirl says:

    Prisoner of my Desire is considered a classic by Lindsey, perhaps because the heroine turns the tables on the heroes and forces him to have sex with her?  By the end I wanted to throw this book against the wall because of the non-stop forced seductions or rape both the hero and heroine go through.

    Exactly! Sorry, I should have read all of the comments before chiming in. Don’t forget that he then captured her, chained her to the bed and raped her.

  27. 27
    Midknyt says:

    Well, I’ve said that JL was my favorite romance author for a couple years, though not the last couple of her’s that I’ve read.

    My favorite of all time was Hearts Aflame (I was so happy to see it on this post before I even read a single thing).  It has the elements that I’ve liked in JL’s work – she tends to have very strong female characters, and in that one she kicks ass and takes names and even saves the hero.  You go girl.  :)

    I’ve also noticed she’s had a tendency to have her females pretend to be or are mistaken to be males – the above mentioned, Gentle Rogue (my first JL), Fires of Winter, A Loving Scoundral, Defy Not the Heart (for a tiny bit at least), and possibly some I haven’t read.  I like that, and I’m not completely sure why.

    Of the Mallory series, I like A Loving Scoundral the most, followed by Say You Love Me, but I haven’t yet read No Choice but Seduction and thought Captive of My Desires was awful.  I agree with the other person who mentioned it – it didn’t go with Drew’s character at all and I couldn’t help thinking about what an ass he was.

    I do like that although she seems to have a lot of series that you can read a book in the middle and not realize that you are in the middle of the series.  For example, I read Gentle Rogue and Hearts Aflame without knowing they were part of a series at all.  I don’t know if the later Malory novels are like that or not though, since now I know the whole story and all.

    As for ones I didn’t like, I thought A Man to Call My Own was horrific.  The characters acted beyond stupid and weren’t realistic at all.  I know it’s a romance and all, but honestly, the one sister going from being dumpy to realizing that she might be horny and then having sex in the stable all of three seconds later?  Please.  The guy didn’t even have to try to seduce her or anything.  I also really didn’t like A Pirate’s Love.  Oh, I am a little French flower, be nice to me you mean pirate.  Ooh, you tricked me into not fighting you while you have your way with me, let me stomp my little foot and be stupid some more.  Ooh, you did it again and I fell for it again too!  Stomp stomp.  Uck.

    I think I didn’t like those two because they didn’t have the strong female character, which is why I like Lindsay so much to begin with.  I think the problem I also had with Captive of My Desires is she failed in being the strong female though she had potential.  I like how usually she balances the damsel in distress moment without making me feel like sitting the female leads down and making them take feminism (or intellegence, or both) 101. 

    And there’s my mouthful.  :)

  28. 28
    Jody W. says:

    I remember Prisoner/Captive of My Desire, and while I’m pretty sure I read some of the other ones, I have zero memory of them.  That says something about that particular book.

    With one caveat—I also remember the Warrior’s Woman trilogy because they’re on my “Worst Books Ever” list near the top. The tropes and the illogic made me too angry to enjoy the campiness.

  29. 29
    Nat says:

    Ack, I’m straining to remember my first ever Lindsey title…but I can’t! The heroine was out west (I don’t remember why, but she was very stubborn about staying) and came across this set of twins, and of course one was sweet, and the other was rather alpha. Fast forward a bunch of stuff, and it turned out the twins were the same guy, and he was playing both roles. Why? I don’t remember, but at the time, he/they made my heart go pitter pat, so I assume it was a good reason. Oh, I have to find that book and see if it stood the test of time. Title, anyone?

    I like most of the malory series, but I’m not crazy about the younger generation.

  30. 30
    Saltypepper says:

    My first Lindsey was A Pirate’s Love which was chock full of “forced seduction” (aka “rape her til she falls in love with you.”  Hello, Stockholm Syndrome?!).  After that I avoided her books like the plague. 

    After hearing raves about her Malory series, I picked up A Gentle Rogue, and couldn’t bear it either.  The way the manipulative, dismissive way hero treats the heroine is just stomach-churning, as is the fact that all he has to do is initiate sex and she forgets all the reasons she has to be furious with her situation and with him. He doesn’t respect her, and she doesn’t either. 

    So much for “everybody loves a Lindsey.”

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