Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Bathtub Reading

Steph is looking for a book, and her description made me giggle:

Okay, so I’m looking for a book that I used to steal out of my mother’s
room as a teen to read during long baths. It was my bath book. It’s also
vaguely silly and highly cliched, but I like it.

Anyway – the beginning details are a little murky. I believe it’s set in
the 1800s and begins in London (?); the heroine is a young woman of means
(or was formerly of means? maybe a relative dies?). I think she is fleeing
something (I vaguely recall a terrible aunt/uncle maybe, or she is fleeing
the advances of an amorous cousin trying to take advantage of her

So she’s randomly fleeing something and ends up at the London docks
(because that is where you go when you’re a young vulnerable women in the
1800s, the docks). A ship Captain (of a freight ship?) sees her and either
takes pity on her and provides a way to America, or saves her from her
terrible family by sticking up for her/using a ruse as her fiancee to ward
away the family? Can’t recall, but I think there might have been a
confrontation. Either way, the heroine ends up sailing with him to America

Along the way, the hero gets sick/injured (I think during a storm of some
kind?), enough to be feverish, which of course means a cliche is
forthcoming: in his delerium, he ravishes (I don’t believe it’s rape -
rather, I hope not, but my 15-year old brain was not reliably self-empowered
enough to note it) the heroine, and does not remember afterward (and for
some inexplicable reason the heroine doesn’t mention it).

At the end of the long journey on the seas (which I believe is heavily
chronicled – it’s a long book) the hero and heroine part ways (I think
poorly – don’t remember why). The heroine ends up pregnant from that
cliched encounter on the ship and the hero doesn’t know, until somehow he
finds out and fetches her and they marry and so on. There is some kind of
intrigue as well, as there are several attempts on the heroine’s life once
she reaches America, with one notable one while she is heavily pregnant
involving a horse and carriage trying to run her down, from which the hero
rescues her and they go bouncing along the street. I remember that I balked
(even then!) that she was miraculously unharmed (he uses his legs to protect
her via what I can only imagine is some kind of macho crotch shield?). I
don’t remember the end result of the intrigue, only that there is some.

So that’s it – that’s all I remember! I’d love to figure out what the
name of the book is so that I can get it and take a bath again. It’s been a
while. (Note: that is a poorly-executed joke, I assure you.)

This sounds like a perfect bubble bath book – though f you read the whole thing that would be a long bath. Anyone remember this book?


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  1. 1
    Lavinia Kent says:

    Almost sure it the classic Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower.

  2. 2
    Pear says:

    I think this sounds more like the sequel to The Flame and the Flower, The Elusive Flame, which is less rape-y in some way. Both are very similar in set-up, but the heroine of TEF doesn’t get raped upon first meeting the hero, which does happen in TFATF.

  3. 3
    Pear says:

    I should add that the hero of The Elusive Flame is the son of the leads from The Flame and the Flower.

  4. 4
    Kathleen O says:

    Sounds like The Flame and Flower to me…  I seem to think she was dressed as a young boy to disguise herself.

  5. 5
    Theresa I says:

    I agree that this is The Elusive Flame by Kathleen Woodiwiss.  In The Elusive Flame the heroine is escaping her family and runs into the hero, who she knew when she lived in the Carolinas.  The hero agrees to marry her and then get an annulment in the US (since they are married she can escape the guardian).  He gets sick on the journey home and they end up sleeping together.

    The Flame and the Flower has a similar plot but in that one the hero mistakes the heroine for a prostitute because she is wandering the dock area.

    Hopefully those two brief descriptions will help you sort out which it is!

  6. 6
    Tania says:

    Totally The Elusive Flame! It was the first romance novel I read that had *gasp* sex in it.

  7. 7
    Susan Laura says:

    “Macho crotch shield”—I love it!! I am going to have to figure out how to use that phrase soon in a conversation.

  8. 8
    Lindlee says:

    I knew someone would have already figured this one out. It’s definitely The Elusive Flame. They have sex while he’s sick, she gets pregnant and he saves her when she’s attacked by both a runaway carriage and a dog.

  9. 9
    Tina C. says:

    and he saves her when she’s attacked by both a runaway carriage and a dog.

    So, for some reason, horses and dogs were out to get her? ;)

  10. 10

    @Tina C.

    and he saves her when she’s attacked by both a runaway carriage and a dog.

    So, for some reason, horses and dogs were out to get her? ;)

    Nah, it was the relative she was running from in the first place.

  11. 11
    Lindz says:

    and he saves her when she’s attacked by both a runaway carriage and a dog.

    So, for some reason, horses and dogs were out to get her? ;)

    Nah, it was the relative she was running from in the first place.

    The relative had the power to control horses and dogs?  Damn, I thought the Beastmaster was supposed to use his powers for good, not evil!

  12. 12
    Kris says:

    I am gonna vote with Flame and the Flower here…that was my first thought while reading the first paragraph!!

    level46: Exactly what I would aspire to should the Bitchery ever invent a rockin’ game…

  13. 13
    Maria says:

    It’s most definitely NOT The Flame and Flower. The h/h do not separate after the ship arrives in the States. They do not have sex on the ship, either. And the heroine is the one who gets sick. I haven’t read The Elusive Flame” but the plot does sound like a Kathleen Woodiwiss.

  14. 14
    Kris says:

    Maria, I am going to politely beg to differ as to whether sex was had on the ship.  That was what caused Brandon to marry Heather in the first place, she became pregnant after their initial encounter on the ship.  As to the rest, you are correct that they didn’t part ways when they landed, and the Elusive Flame sounds like a very valid answer.

  15. 15
    Kara says:

    Maybe Ravished by Virginia Henley? That’s in the 1800’s in London, Alex works for some time in a brothel. There’s some rapey scenes. Virginia Henley is kind of the queen of rapey sex. Enticed (aka The Irish Gypsy) also has possibilities.

  16. 16
    Susana says:

    I’ve not read either of the books mentioned here but it’s amazing how similar they sound like the books in the McClellan Family series by Jo Goodman.  The first book in this series is Crystal Passion and is about a girl in England who is the ward of her evil uncle.  After much pain and complication the heroine saves the hero from prison, they flee to American where hero is from.  He gits sick on the voyage and rapes her.  By the time they arrive in NC she is pregnant and in love with him.  He finds out, they get married, she is being pursued by the minions of her uncle.  Gets kidnapped when heavily pregnant, etc.  All this taking place during the onset of the American Revolution.  And that’s only a small part of the first book. 

    The second book is about the sister to the first book’s hero.  She is mistaken for a prostitute by the hero of this book.  Evil uncle from the first book is still after his niece, etc…  All this sounds so much like the Woodiwiss books.

  17. 17
    Steph says:

    Aww, you guys rock! It was indeed The Elusive Flame – thank you so much for your help! Now I can return to the old bubble bath days (although, I’m not sure bathing with my Kindle will have the same effect…hmm).

    Thanks so much, Sarah!

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