Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Mail Order Brides and Moody Heroes

Bitchery reader Quizzabella writes:

I read the book around the year 2000 but it was second hand so probably
published earlier than that.

The plot centred around the son of an English nobleman in the 1800’s (?)
who had an affair with a woman of good breeding and either killed or wounded
the husband of the woman (who turned out not to love him at all – cue all
women are evil bitches lament). He goes off to either America or Australia
and sets up a farm. One evening when he’s drunk his friends sign him up for
a mail order bride service.

The heroine is a fiesty red haired Irish girl who gets sent off to mr moody
trousers because her evil employer attacks her and she fights back. She
thinks she’s killed him after whacking him over the head with something
heavy and takes the place of the other mail/ship(?) order bride. Love and a
rather unattractive rape -but it’s ok because she liked it – scene ensued.
The “hero” had a ruby tie pin that he sells to buy the heroine a dress (I
think it was lavender and was depicted on the cover of the book).
I think the heroine ended up being a school teacher and having a child of
her own and there was an older and a lot more sensible man employed by the
hero who liked the girl in a paternal sense and tried to talk some sense
into the male protagonist.

If anyone knows what this book is then I’d love to re-read it.

This sounds like a compendium of WTFery – anyone know this book?


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  1. 1
    SheaLuna says:

    How about this one: Dream Fever by Katherine Sutcliffe

    From Publishers Weekly
    Readers who prefer their romance spiced with anguish and melodrama will take to Sutcliffe’s ( Shadow Play ) tale of love between a plainspoken young Irish maid and a tortured, reclusive sheep-farming aristocrat. Nicholas Sabre was deported from England in 1861 when, duped by the woman he loved, he killed his rival in a duel. A few years later, Nick is just barely surviving—financially and emotionally—on his New Zealand sheep station when Summer O’Neilesp ok lands on his doorstep, claiming to be the proxy bride he sent for. Nick (who signed the proxy form when drunk) bluntly indicates he has no use for a wife but decides she can stay until shearing is finished; then she and the wool can be disposed of during a single trip to town. Summer, who has no life back in Britain, wants to remain and struggles to make herself useful, and Nick reluctantly warms to her kind, forgiving nature. But only when an escalating feud between farmers and Cockatoos (who, like Nick, raise sheep) threatens lives as well as property does Nick acknowledge his growing affection for the young woman.
    Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.—This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Product Description
    NICHOLAS—A proud and gallant aristocrat, he was exiled to New Zealand for a crime committed in defense of a woman’s honor. Now disgraced and disowned, he lives as a simple sheep farmer – nursing his bitterness in silence…and solitude.
    SUMMER—The lovely and spirited daughter of an English courtesan, she flees the dire circumstances of a tragic, impetuous act to seek sanctuary in Nicholas’ lonely world – only to be surprised by the handsome, secretive stranger who spurns the healing powers of her giving heart.

    DREAM FEVER—A ruined nobleman and a beautiful child of the streets, their dreams unite them in an untamed paradise – inflaming their souls with passion’s fire…awakening within them both a raging fever of sensuous desire and rapturous love.

  2. 2
    Anony Miss says:

    Wow, that was quick!! Sounds perfect.

    Now don’t you want to go answer the twins HaBO from a couple days ago, huh, huh? Still unsolved!

  3. 3
    SheaLuna says:

    LOL!  Ummm… that one may defeat even my extraordinary powers.  But I’ll give it a go… LOL

  4. 4
    MamaNice says:

    Just wanted to say I love the description “mr moody trousers” …that pretty much sums up my husband most days ;)

  5. 5
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    an escalating feud between farmers and Cockatoos

    Can sombody (a NZer, perhaps) please, please explain this?  I’m picturing a Hitchcockian scene in which the cockatoos, enraged at their native habitat being destroyed to create more sheep pasture, sweep down out of the trees en masse and attack the farmers in a flurry of wings, beaks and claws, but I suspect I’ve missed something here.

  6. 6
    Melissandre says:

    tortured, reclusive sheep-farming aristocrat

    Did this phrase set off alarm bells for anyone else, or do I just have a sick mind?

    court 44: He courts 44 sheep before settling down with Summer.

  7. 7
    thirstygirl says:

    Oh MY. As a kiwi, I’m all WTF about the Cockatoos as well- that’s an Aussie bird, and certainly not a term for sheep-farmers that I have come across in my history studies…

    I mean, we’re used to being mistaken as just another Australian stte but this really is an interesting mash-up they have going on. Next thing you know there’ll be ongoing struggle with drought and no struggle at all with the local iwi.

  8. 8
    SheaLuna says:

    I couldn’t help myself, I HAD to look it up.

    According to the online Australian slang dictionaries I’ve found, “Cockie” is slang for “Cockroach or Cockatoo, a bird or farmer”.  So, either Elizabeth’s right and there are swarms of angry birds, or they’re referring to other farmers.

    Personally I like the options in the Urban Slang dictionary which range from “a tattoo on a penis” to “a woman who can’t decide if she wants one cock or two”.  Seriously I am not making this stuff up.

  9. 9
    SheaLuna says:

    I hope I’m allowed to use those kind of words on SBTB.  Maybe I should have used “throbbing tumescence” instead?

  10. 10

    a woman who can’t decide if she wants one cock or two

    Ow, OW!  Flashing back on a staggeringly bad porn flick entitled FREAKS OF NATURE.

    Must. Bleach. Brain.

  11. 11
    Lovecow2000 says:

    In the first review on Amazon, the reviewer comments immediately upon the feud between the farmers and Cockatoos:

    The conflict between the cattle farmers and sheep farmers was different though sometimes hard to follow

    Must go to and see if I can get it.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    senetra says:

    It is Dream Fever, and the pin was pretty much the only thing of value that Nicholas had.  There was a big conflict between the sheepmen and the other farmers, a la the barbed wire fence battles between ranchers in the American west.  Well worth the read if you can get a copy via interlibrary loan.  WorldCat shows about 400 copies in libraries world wide.

  14. 14
    Quizzabella says:

    SheaLuna, you are made of awesome and win – that’s definately it! Thanks, I’m going to trundle off to Amazon and see if I can get hold of a copy.

  15. 15
    Jackie says:

    It sounds a lot like Bold Land, Bold Love by Connie Mason.  Her website summarizes it:
    “It was a vast land of wild beauty and wilder passions; a frontier as yet untamed by man; a place where women had few rights and fewer pleasures. For a female convict like flame-haired Casey O’Cain, it was a living nightmare.
      Exquisitely beautiful, utterly helpless, she was expected to cater to her master’s every whim. And from the first, arogant, handsome Dare Penrod made it clear what he wanted of her. Casey knew she should fight him with every breath in her body, but her heart told her he could make a paradise of this wilderness for her.”

    It was the first romance novel I ever read.  And OH GOD is it terrible in retrospect.  Casey gets sent to Australia after she refuses to have sex with a judge and accidentally kills him in self-defense.  Dare buys/hires her and one night rapes her (but it’s ok cuz it’s TRU LUV).  He’s supposed to marry a neighboring rich chick, but when she realizes he has the hots for Casey, Rich Neighbor has Casey kidnapped.  Casey goes to a city/some other place and gives birth to her and Dare’s son while under the care of a Nice Older Dude.  Dare, thinking Casey’s dead, comes to the city and hooks up with some local babe, only to have Casey walk in on him while he and the babe are getting it on.  Lots of rape, almost!rape, a heroine too stupid to live, a ridiculously alpha-male hero, weird misunderstandings, and angst up the wazoo.

  16. 16
    SheaLuna says:


    Yay!  I’m made of awesome! (Does a happy dance.) :-) 

    Glad I could help.

  17. 17
    wendy says:

    In Australia “Cow Cocky” refers to cattle station(ranch) owner. The history in this book sounds all f*cked up.

  18. 18
    Quizzabella says:

    Oh God Jackie, I’ve actually read that one too – I’m sure it’s been on here RE “Covers Gone Wild”.  The cover has a couple of kangaroos bouncing about behind the traditionally flowing haired embracing couple.  The book was quite terrible – I really enjoyed it.

  19. 19
    SheaLuna says:

    Kangaroos?  Bouncing?  Sweet mother of… I have GOT to get see a copy of this book just for the sheer insanity of it all.

  20. 20
    Quizzabella says:

    Aha SheaLuna.
    (actually I was wrong.  It’s only one kangaroo looking at the couple and presumably wondering why the redhead’s dress has stretched out to encompass the entire freaking forest.)

  21. 21
    SheaLuna says:

    That. Is. Freaking. Awesome. 

    In fact, the awesomeness is nearly overwhelming.  Damn, where can I find a dress like that?

  22. 22
    Moth says:


    Actually, you were only partially wrong. Wild Land, Wild Love by Connie Mason is the one with the bouncing kangaroos.

  23. 23
    Quizzabella says:

    @ Moth.
    …. that’s just…  No words can sufficiently describe that cover.
    (Who knew kangaroos were such voyeurs though?  )

  24. 24
    SheaLuna says:

    I’m with Moth.  Speechless.  I wonder what Freud would say?

  25. 25
    Quizzabella says:

    I don’t know – maybe ask the creepy demonically posessed deer on the cover of “Ice and Fire”

  26. 26
    SheaLuna says:

    That’s just… creepy.  Someone has an unnatural obsession with wildlife.  I don’t even think Freud could handle that.

  27. 27
    Jackie says:

    @ Quizzabella Hahaha the kangaroos are so perfect!  The one on Bold Land, Bold Love totally has a WTF? expression on its face.

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