Courtney is looking for a book. I know you can help her.
I’ve wanted to submit a request to HaBO for awhile now, but I couldn’t
recall enough details about the book I’m looking for to think anyone could
help me. Probably once I describe what I DO remember, the general response
to my query will be, “Why in all of God’s creation would you want to find
this book?” Fair question and I’m not entirely sure myself.
So, my tale begins when I was a tender twelve year old. My mom was an avid
(Oh lord, SO AVID) reader of historical romance, and in this period she
inadvertently ended up passing that love along to me by telling me 1) These
books aren’t for you and 2) I mean it, Courtney, you’re not old enough for
these books yet.
Naturally, this meant I had no other choice but to root through her
bookshelf. I was twelve, after all, and I was completely prepared for this
experience. (No, I wasn’t….not even close…but we’ll get there.)
This was the first historical romance novel I ever read. Please let me share
with you the magic…
I’m pretty sure it was a single title romance published sometime in the
late eighties. It takes place in England, and we begin by meeting the
heroine, whose name I can’t recall because for most of the first half of
the book she’s called something else. I’m pretty sure she falls under the
category of winsome, humble lady of the lower gentry. I remember that her
hair was auburn or some color close to it. She was also a virgin.
Anyways, I want to say this girl went up to the City, I guess for the
season? But while there, she comes across the hero (total misnomer for this
asshat) and he abducts her.
Here are the details I remember very well. The hero of this piece is/was
married to some upper class woman named Isobel. As it turns out, winsome and
humble and virginal heroine is her doppelganger. Evil Isobel, I think, took
the hero’s love for her and smashed it by being a total hooker behind his
back, then ran off (I cannot remember if she took off with her lover, but
So, since Evil Isobel left, hero has been brooding and withdrawn and you
guys know this drill. He vows to have revenge upon his unfaithful wife, and
when he sees our heroine, revenge is his to be had!
He abducts our innocent heroine, refuses to listen to her tell him the
truth, and whisks her off to his manor. Hero has, I’m pretty sure, grey
eyes and brown hair and physically is….do I even need to go there with you
guys? Okay, okay…broad shouldered, tall, etc.
Once at his manor, heroine is treated like garbage by hero and his house
staff, as they all think she’s Isobel, who was apparently nasty to
everyone. Heroine is determined to get away from hero, and I think she makes
a couple bogus attempts, but then she does actually escape. (And I’m not
certain, but at least one of the attempts was the ye olde “tie the sheets
together and make a rope ladder” approach.)
Hero is fast after her on horseback as she runs through the woods. When he
catches her, Oh God! This is why my mom warned me off, he ends up tying her
hands to a tree and really, do I need to spell out what happened? Let me
express it with an emoticon: D= Anyways, his discovery of her virginity is
what it takes to convince him heroine is not, in fact, evil hooker ex-wife,
and after this point it’s all apologies converting to build-up of UST and
eventually turning to love.
The remainder of the book is fuzzy, but I know it involves the return of the
real Isobel, and I think the heroine is kidnapped again by Isobel and her
easily forgettable lover/henchman. But all is well in the end…I’m certain
THAT, my fellow bitches, was my introduction to historical romance novels.
They say you never forget your first, and I haven’t, though I probably
would be better off for it if I did…so can you help me out here?
P.S.—Don’t tell my mom, k?
I feel so badly that so many readers stumble into romance with 300+ pages of WTFWASTHAT. Anyone remember this book?