I read this in 1996ish. I dont remember the publisher, but I’m pretty sure
it wasnt a category. The cover featured a swooning, brunette woman, possibly
in a blue dress, in the arms of a well-endowed man. Both are tastefully
dishelved, and of course, the bosoms are heaving.
Okay, so I think the time period is the late 19th century and the heroine
is a headstrong American heiress whose name might be Amanda. She has a
brother (she gets a crash course in sex after seeing him with one of the
maids in the stables—naughty!), a dead father, and a domineering mother.
They have a mansion in Newport, and her mother hosts a party in order to
thow her at the hero: an honest-to-goodness English duke! He’s poor and
needs to marry an heiress, so the mother is ecstatic, but Amanda wants
nothing to do with him and accidentally says so in the duke’s hearing. This
makes the duke decide that she would perfect for him.
Stuff happens, then Amanda goes to Paris with her aunt Zoe as a chaperone.
And what a coincidence, the duke is there too! Not that Amanda cares. In
fact, she winds up meeting a dreamy French artist and has sex with him!
Repeatedly! But then he gets sick (TB or something) and orders her to stay
away for her own safety. But she’s headstrong, so she goes anyway and gets
kidnapped and held for ramsom. Her aunt turns to the duke for help, and he
Here’s where it gets good (if I’m remembering this correctly): the duke
knows that she was sleeping with the artist, but he doesn’t care. He
doesn’t get upset, or call her a slut—he just thinks, huh thats a little
surprising, and shrugs it off. He and the aunt then arrange a quicky
marriage to protect her from the scandal of being victimized. I think the
duke even arranges her to visit her sick lover before they leave Paris.
I’m pretty fuzzy on what happens afterwards. I think they honeymoon on the
French Riviera, and I remember Amanda being presented to all of the duke’s
staff in England, but I don’t remember how everything resolved into the
happily ever after.
This book didn’t get me hooked on romance immediately—that came later
with a vengeance—but after reading my share of crappy romances with alph
asshole “heroes” (Catherine Coulter’s cream-toting douches come to mind .
. .), this one has come to stand out in my memory as something special. So
hopefully someone else remembers this.
Whoa. WHOA. Someone has to remember this – and how on earth did this not sell you on romance for the rest of your reading life?!