Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Deranged Evil Twins with Aspirin

Lena writes:

I’ve been thinking about some of the books I loved as a teen and was hoping you or your readers can help me with the titles and authors. I want to read them again and either relive the magic or mock myself for having such lousy tastes.

Book #1: It’s a time travel romance where the heroine, a nurse, puts on an antique hat and ends up somewhere in the South during the Civil War. She ends up working and falling in love with a widowed(?) doctor, and ends up having to marry him for some reason. There’s a fairy-godmother type that’s sort of a time-travel coordinator or something, and she helps the heroine out by bringing stuff back from modern times – one thing in particular that I remember is aspirin. The heroine gets accused of being a Union spy. (Yeah, I’m already mocking my teen self over this one!)

Book #2: Pre-Revolutionary War America or there abouts. The book starts with the couple’s wedding day, an arranged marriage. The hero, Damian, is
some rich land owner and the heroine, Johanna(?), grew up in an extremely poor family but we find out later on that she was placed there as a young child because of…some kind of danger? The twist in the story turns out to be that Damian is really Renwick, and the real Damian is his deranged evil twin who he keeps locked up in the attic.

I read both these books in the mid to late ‘90s, #2 a few years before #1. Since I purchased most of my romances from the supermarket back then I’m
assuming that they were published at that time.

Aspirin! Spies! And who doesn’t have an evil twin locked in the attic? That reminds me – I have to go feed mine before she starts Twittering again.

 

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  1. 1
    nutmeag says:

    Does your evil twin have a phone with internet capabilities, or does she tweet like a bird? Because giving internet capabilities to a deranged twin never ends well . . .

  2. 2
    Heather says:

    Crazily, I think I read both of those, too. But I have no idea what they are. :)

  3. 3
    Kat says:

    I know I read the Damian/Renwick one, but the other sounds terrible in a truly wonderful way! I’m waiting to learn their names right along with you.

  4. 4
    Jenna says:

    There are key parts that don’t match up, but several elements of the first one match Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind. Alaina acts as a nurse/general help at a Confederate prison hospital to a doctor Cole (who is married to, then widowed by her cousin). She ends up having to marry him to escape a lecherous local crime lord. She cross-dresses initially in her role as nurse-whatever because she’s been falsely accused of being a Union spy. There is an older female character who helps her out quite a bit and is instrumental in getting them together.

    That said, it’s definitely not a time travel romance, and the aspirin thing doesn’t ring a bell. There would have been aspirin or some equivalent during the Civil War, though, not sure why someone from the future would need to bring it back.

    So maybe misremembering/combining multiple books/I’m wrong about what book this is.

  5. 5
    Melissandre says:

    Is it just me, or is anyone else getting a V.C. Andrews vibe from the second book?  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I think any book with significant attic happenings must be from her.

  6. 6
    Anony Miss says:

    Renfield… Renfield was from Dracula, no?

    And instead of a VC Andrews vibe (gaw, speaking of things I’m embarassed for having read in my youth) I’m getting more of a Jan Eyre vibe.

  7. 7
    Lori says:

    There’s a fairy-godmother type that’s sort of a time-travel coordinator or something, and she helps the heroine out by bringing stuff back from modern times – one thing in particular that I remember is aspirin.

    The inclusion of an oh-so-convenient way to get modern items makes me suspect that the author just wanted to write a modern heroine “playing dress-up” in historical clothes. That makes me think she should have just written a book about reenactors. That in turn makes think someone should write a romance novel with a reenactor hero or heroine.

  8. 8
    Rebecca B says:

    The second book sounds a little like Moonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter.  The heroine is Victoria and she thinks she is penniless but discovers that she is a heiress.  It also has a set of twins named Damien(evil)/Rafael(good).

  9. 9
    Rebecca B says:

    The first book could be Traded Secrets by Victoria Presley.  A nurse who goes back in time to a Confederate Hospital where she meets and I quote “the very virile” Dr. Jacob Cross.  She also messes with time to get medical supplies to save injured soldiers.

  10. 10
    Suze says:

    Am I the only person in North America who’s never read VC Andrews?  I can remember EVERYBODY in high school reading them, and they keep coming up, but even as an angsty teen, my angst was never so bad that these books appealed to me.  Am I a freak?

  11. 11
    Karen says:

    I never read VC Andrews either—you are not alone!

  12. 12
    appomattoxco says:

    I read VC Andrews and wish I hadn’t. Does that count?

    Haven’t got clue about the titles or authors, sorry.

  13. 13
    Ros says:

    I’m another who read Flowers in the Attic and sequels and really, really wish I hadn’t.  They were some screwed up books.

    No idea about the OP’s request, sorry, except that the time-travel one sounds awesome.  And where else are you going to keep your evil twin if not in the attic?

  14. 14
    Kjones says:

    The first book is definitely “Traded Secrets”
    http://www.amazon.com/Traded-Secrets-Timeswept-Victoria-Presley/dp/0505520923

    Check out this review:

    Savannah sincerely wants to help the soldiers, but in order to
    do so, she needs plenty of medicines. The problem was, she was not allowed (this is where it gets a bit complicated) by her
    time-travel aide, to bring back anything that wasn’t already
    being used in that time. For instance, aspirin, though not
    available in the United States at that time, was available in
    Europe, therefore, it was a medicine that her time-travel agent
    would allow her to use. There was a catch here—Mathilda
    (the time-travel helper) required that Savannah bring her certain historically-valuable items she could sell in her antique store in 1996, in exchange for these medicines (this is how Savannah gets these medicines without ever going back to 1996).

  15. 15
    Courtney S says:

    The first book is Traded Secrets. It is on my keeper shelf.

  16. 16
    kinseyholley says:

    I read Flowers in the Attic and that put me off VCA.  I’m a sucker for “there’s a _____________________ (crazy wife, crazy brother, bunch of inconvenient children) locked in the attic” stories but when you throw in incest, I’m done witcha.

    amount32: no amount of wishing will make me 32 again, even though that’s my “permanent”, as opposed to chronological, age.

  17. 17
    Melissandre says:

    I’ve gotta love the irony.  I’m the one that introduced V.C. Andrews to the conversation, and I’ve never read her books.  But I knew the plot to Flowers in the Attic.  Apparently that story is just too sick to stay quiet.  Sorry to hijack the conversation, by the way.

  18. 18
    Lena says:

    “Traded Secrets!” That’s definitely it! Thank you so much.

    The second book definitely wasn’t VC. (Man, I was only 11 when I read my first VC book, and that one made Flowers in the Attic seem rather tame…the things I got past my poor non-English speaking parents.) Another detail I remember is that the hero owned slaves,  but so that we know just how awesome he was he granted his slaves their freedom after working a few years.

  19. 19
    Karen says:

    It’s no full-length novel, Lori, but there’s a super cute webcomic about twenty-something Civil War reenactors called Dovecote Crest (http://dovecotecrest.com/). The history focus is really fun and there’s quite a bit of romance.

  20. 20
    Lori says:

    It’s no full-length novel, Lori, but there’s a super cute webcomic about twenty-something Civil War reenactors called Dovecote Crest (http://dovecotecrest.com/). The history focus is really fun and there’s quite a bit of romance.

    This is what I love about the Bitchery—ask and ye shall receive. Thank you.

  21. 21
    Chani says:

    I’m afraid I am no help with the second title, but for Lori, the heroine in Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins is a civil war reenactor (although the hero is not).

  22. 22
    Sandra says:

    What amazes me is that VC Andrews continues to crank out books even though she’s been in her grave for years and years.  I guess the publishers found themselves a Medium who is a whizz at Automatic Writing.  Spamword really48, as in “Really, 48 of Andrews books were dictated from the Afterlife”.

  23. 23
    lclair says:

    The first book is definitely “Traded Secrets”
    http://www.amazon.com/Traded-Secrets-Timeswept-Victoria-Presley/dp/0505520923

    Oooooo, I like the cover—I wonder if they’re doing it.

    http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/cover-poll-are-they-doing-it/

    Inquiring minds wanna know…

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