Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: This is Just Crazy

From Patricia comes this absolute cacophony of WTFery:

Okay just for clarification I read this when I worked at a convent nursing
home. It’s one of those old school brick sized romance novels where she’s
a beautiful upstairs maid who gets raped by her boss who then claims she
stole his wife’s necklace to have her deported to Colonial America and sold
as an indentured servant.

Two guys get into a bidding war over her but she
ends up going to tall, dark and extremely cranky. Who then lets her seduce
him before selling her off to the other bidder in a moment of tragic
angstyness. Other guy is of course madly in love with her but sets her up as
a courtesan in New Orleans in his gambling house.

But, in town on business, tall dark and cranky finds her and decides he
wants her back because he’s *gasp* secretly pining for her. The good guy
who’s really a pimp ends up dying in a duel over her and she ends up with
the first asshat and together they decide to go back to England because the
American Revolution is just bad. Bad! Super bad!

This sucker is so bad it’s good for the bathtub reading or post anesthesia.
Or if you’re a retired nun. Any ideas? Anyone?

WOW. Just…WOW. Anyone remember this book?


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  1. 1
    SheaLuna says:

    Sounds like Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde.

    The turbulent story of an English beauty—sold at auction like a slave—who scandalized the New World by enslaving her masters.

    Marietta was a woman wronged—raped by her employer, charged with theft by her jealous mistress, and shipped to the Colonies to serve fourteen years as bound servant
    to the man who bid highest.

    But Marietta was beautiful, educated and resilient, with a provocative body meant for love, and she was determined to prevail.

    Over the handsome, silent planter who bought her to be his housekeeper. Over the dashing entrepreneur who supplied girls to the New Orleans red light district. Over the wealthy sadist who used her in his madness.

    She would conquer them all—if she could subdue the hot, unruly passions of her heart.

  2. 2
    Mel says:

    I was going to say Love’s Tender Fury as well.  There’s a sequel, Love Me Marietta, where she does finally get kind of a happy ending but not before there’s more WTFery (including a pirate captain!).  Definitely Old Skool Romance and, I will confess, I loved these two when I snuck ‘em off my mum’s bookshelf as a teen.

  3. 3
    Sycorax says:

    When you say she ends up with the first asshat, does that mean the guy who raped her at the beginning, or tall dark and cranky?

    You can see why second wave feminists were so pissed off all the time if this was the contemporary reading material.

  4. 4
    Barbara says:

    Whoa.  When these things have sequels it makes them all the more WTF-erish.

    BTW, that ad with the half naked guy on the right (for Uniform Appeal) is killing me.  Why does he have that big vein running down the side of his ab and why is it mesmerizing me and yet creeping me out so much?  Does it have to be so big?  The rest of him is so shiny, it’s all I can look at.

  5. 5
    Grace says:

    Yep, Love’s Tender Fury.  Love Me Marietta has even more WTFery in it.

  6. 6
    Pamala says:

    How could I NOT want to read this? Sometimes it’s good to see the books that came before.

    @Barbara, you KNOW that thang must be big if it needs that kind of blood supply, lol.

  7. 7
    elaine mueller says:

    i never read love’s tender fury and i don’t know about the guy’s vein (shows he has a good blood supply down there???), but i couldn’t pass this up—

    head77—because you get 8 more

  8. 8

    And of course Love Me Marietta has pirates.  OF COURSE IT DOES.

    More power to you all who want to read this.  I’m still suffering from Purity’s Passion PTSD.  (of course, if you, Pamala or Elaine *do* read it.. report back?  Please?)

  9. 9
    kkw says:

    Oh my god I want to read this.

  10. 10
    Rebecca says:

    Wait, what?  I know I shouldn’t be focused on the history/geography part of this WTF-ery, but why would a girl from England end up in New Orleans in the eighteenth century?  The city was under French control, and then Spanish, and then French again, but certainly not English.  (So, few English planters, handsome, silent, or otherwise.)  Moving an English citizen transported for theft to a Spanish colony would be (a)illegal, and (b)not that practical.  Assuming Marietta lands in Georgia, she would have to cross all of Georgia and Alabama before even reaching Louisiana overland.  According to Mapquest the distance between Savannah, GA, and New Orleans is 643 miles (about 1000 km).  Going by sea one would have to sail all the way around Florida into the Gulf, once again going into Spanish waters at a time when England and Spain were not on the best of terms.  So what’s an English couple doing in New Orleans except possibly getting tried as enemy spies by the Spanish during the Revolutionary war?

    As to the “dashing entrepreneur”/pimp, not to be crude, but why bother with the complications of only quasi-legally pimping indentured servants when you could do the same thing with outright slaves with a lot fewer complications?

  11. 11
    sugarshok says:

    Yep, does sound like Love’s Tender Fury.  I read it about 25 years ago and it is is full of “Whaaa?!!”  It’s the first in a trilogy that features much raping and the heroine choosing the jerk over the sweetie.  I don’t think I could bear to read it now.  From what I remember it is written by a man under the name Jennifer Wilde.

  12. 12
    darlynne says:

    @Rebecca: The book may be the ultimate in WTFery, but you rock. I loved the history/geography lesson and already feel marginally smarter this morning for having read it. That you know and can share this information is very cool.

    @Barbara: I know, mesmerizing, like a snake. A shiny snake …

  13. 13
    SheaLuna says:

    Yep, Jennifer Wilde was really Thomas Elmer Huff.  Now’s how’s THAT for some sexy?

  14. 14
    SheaLuna says:

    Oops with the typos.

  15. 15

    The fact that a number of the really rape-y OG Old School books are written by men just gives me the heebee-jeebees.

  16. 16

    Yep, that’s it! Full of WTFery on it’s own but I think I need to stress this baby and it’s sequels were in a library meant for nuns. I highly recommend it at 2 am overnight shifts when only this level of crazy will do.

    Thank you everyone!!!

  17. 17
    Morgan le Fake says:

    This is a bit off topic, but…

    I am so tired of hearing the line “a body meant for love” in reference to curvy females.  Although, if memory serves, Sherrilyn Kenyon uses it to describe her heroes in the Dark Hunter series…

    I want a hero(ine) to have a body meant for _____ insert incredibly pragmatic word here.  (Romance mad-libs in honor of Leonard Stern, anyone?)

  18. 18
    JaneyD says:

    reheadedgirl—Just to reassure, many of the male writers did those kind of books for the same reason as the female writers: the rapey thing was a popular trope (shudder) and they wrote for the money. For some it was nothing more than a variation on the male “stroke books” selling at the time.

    One of my writer friends HATED doing the Old School tropes. She was and still is a dedicated feminist, but was told that a forced seduction/rape scene was a requirement.  Again, she *hated* such scenes, but had to put one in per book to get a check, which she needed to live on. I read one of her OS titles and could see the difference in the writing style as soon as the “hero,” or other asshat, made the first grab for the MC’s bodice.

    I stopped reading romances for years because of the horrible way the men treated the women in them. Some readers loved the “it’s not my fault” rape followed by Stockholm Syndrome love. Sales went up for such books, though, and editors demanded more from their writers.

    Tom Huff, FWIW, was a very sweet guy with several kids who needed to be put through college, and like ‘em or not, he wrote to the trend to get the money.

    You’ll find the “Marrietta Danver” series in there as well.

    I don’t consider such titles as romances, but more of a Moll Flanders “harlots progress” kind of potboiler.  Men read them too, knowing there would be some sort of “action” going on.

    Also popular in the same vein were the “Angelique” books:

    I recall seeing those covers at the store and understanding that the book was NOT about the bad gal witch from Dark Shadows. For a little bit I thought something better was around than those hideous things hacked out every month by Marilyn Ross—Also a guy and a legendary hack with 300 books published.

    His Dark Shadows books were dreadful, I doubt he’d seen a single episode. I’d buy them for the cover pics. It’s hard to imagine a world without all the fan stuff we now have, but that was the only game in town except for the comic books.

  19. 19
    JaneyD says:

    Holy carp, I was right.

    Dan Ross (Marilyn) was a Canadian writer who hacked out a 150-page DS book every three weeks. He’d only ever seen a few minutes of the actual show, because it never aired in Canada.

    As expected, the covers I loved had little or nothing to do with the plots.

    I’m gonna get some chocolate and go to my happy place for a few days and try to forget I know that.

  20. 20
    JoanneF says:

    Tom Huff, FWIW, was a very sweet guy with several kids who needed to be put through college, and like ‘em or not, he wrote to the trend to get the money.

    Unless I’m confusing a Jennifer Wilde book with one by someone else, one of his books had a hero who ended up in the Ku Klux Klan, which saved the day at the end of the book.  Then there was an author’s note at the end stating something to the effect that the Ku Klux Klan was actually good and have gotten a bad rap because history is written by the victors (yankees).  That ending made my jaw drop.  I apologize to Mr. Huff if I have him mixed up with someone else.

  21. 21
    Mel.T says:

    I want to read this book, but then again I don’t. Does that make sense?

    JoanneF, please tell me that is not a romance novel! That would just be mind-boggling, lobotomy style.

  22. 22
    sugarless says:

    I just came here to say this:

    I know, mesmerizing, like a snake. A shiny snake …

    You know what else is like a shiny snake… *nudge nudge* *wink wink* *pervy laugh*

  23. 23
    Betty Fokker says:

    How did an author GET that much WTFery between two covers??

  24. 24
    Maria D. says:

    Wowza!  What a book description…though it is does strangely appeal to me…lol…as does the guy in the Uniform Appeal ad…lol

  25. 25
    Aimee says:

    I could be wrong here, but I think that that is not a vein, but a scar in the Uniform Appeal ad. Hmmm, maybe I should take a longer look at it, all in the name of research, of course. :)

  26. 26


    My best friend of the past 30 years is named Marietta. When we were in high school I found Love Me Marietta in the bookstore and bought it for her. Many times over the years she’s said she wanted to read it again, and the others in the series. So this year for her birthday (July) I got her all three (on Paperback Swap. Her real gift is one of those awesome girlfriend painted martini glasses.) I can’t wait till she sees it.

    This is the first, and likely only, HABO I’ve ever recognized from the get-go and naturally I’m hours too late.

  27. 27
    Susan says:

    Yep, there is a sequel to the Love’s Tender Fury sequel.  If memory (from about 30 yrs ago) serves, it was called When Love Commands.  The heroine has an HEA with a guy better than tall, dark and cranky (love that phrase!)

    I’m sorry to say I was addicted to this author’s books.  However, I’m pretty sure he never had a character join the KKK.

    There is another book he wrote called Dare To Love that is a fictionalized version of the life of Lola Montez.  Pretty good except for the obligatory Old Skool rapey stuff.  I think there are only 2 scenes like that in the book.  The heroine does end up with tall, dark, and cranky hero at the end, but of course he has changed by then (yeah, right.)

    You know, I have an ex who was tall, dark, and cranky.  Well, he was dark before he lost his hair (snicker.)

  28. 28
    Diva says:

    Ahh, they always pimp the ones they love…how sweet!
    But who, in the end, can resist a *really cranky* guy?
    The whole finding-this-in-a-convent-nursing-home is what really brought the HABO to life. Bravo to Patricia for her excellent synopsis AND for including that salient detail which kept me riveted and giggling!

  29. 29
    Katelynne says:

    Thank you thank you thank YOU, Morgan Le Fake!  I was going to say how sick I was of the phrase “a body made for love” too and you beat me to it!  Her body was dictated by biology and was made for the same things as every other body on the planet!  UGH!

  30. 30
    Charli says:

    I also read, ‘Love’s Tender Fury’ by sneaking it off my mom’s bookshelf as a teen. I was 15 and had been reading romances for at least a year already. (When Mom found out, she just told me to make sure I put them back when I was done… O.o) LOL!!

    It’s been quite a few years since I read it, but I’ve read a few older romances recently and they’re nice to add to the mix occasionally. I know they don’t meet the current ‘requirements’, but neither do any of Austin’s books or Shakespeare, and people still read those.

    I remember it being an exciting and interesting read.

    Happy reading!!

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