Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: So good it has an emoticon

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
I’m assuming).

So, since Evil Isobel left, hero has been brooding and withdrawn and you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.

Again: D=

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
of that.

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?


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Clara says:

    I know this isn’t the same book but it sounds quite similar to Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas, except without the forest-rape and general WTFery. I actually really loved that one, so if you’re looking for a more toned down and genuinely romantic version of the whole mistaken identity plot then I’d recommend it!

  2. 2
    Dr_Zoidberg says:

    OMG, I’ve been trying to remember/find this book too! As with Courtney, what sticks in my mind is the mistaken identity (which I really enjoy) and the forest scene.

    Man, I hope someone can answer this…

  3. 3
    Brandyllyn says:

    That also sounds like the mythical Judith McKnaught book about a woman who time-travels back to medieval times and is mistaken for a ho the hero knows.  I was actually excited about it coming out – but other than a teaser in a couple of her other books nothing ever came of it.

    Winner is me for on-topic but most least-helpful comment. Yay.

  4. 4
    willaful says:

    I think it sounds awesome! Someone please identify it so I can read it.

  5. 5
    ShellBell says:

    This description reminds me of Christina Skye’s Defiant Captive but it has been out of print for some time and I no longer have my copy so I can’t check the details.

  6. 6
    Karen says:

    That also sounds like the mythical Judith McKnaught book about a woman who time-travels back to medieval times and is mistaken for a ho the hero knows.  I was actually excited about it coming out – but other than a teaser in a couple of her other books nothing ever came of it.

    Was that where the heroine is soundly hated by all, but the hero’s dog, who hated ye ol’ ho loves the new improved model?  Or was it just a trope used in more than one old skool romance?

  7. 7
    Maria says:

    Based on the reviews at amazon I’d say that Shellbell has it right. But I’m not the HABO author.

  8. 8

    Defiant Captive by Christina Skye has a rapey abductor and a nasty wife Isobel..

  9. 9

    Oops, sorry, didn’t realize someone else had already mentioned Defiant Captive. Guess I should have refreshed the thread before I posted…

  10. 10
    Courtney says:

    YOU GUYS!  I’m pretty sure Defiant Captive is the correct book!  Amazon reviews and the link posted by Susanna gave enough details to jog my memory. 

    Thank you all so much! 

    Also, is it normal to wince when looking at some book covers? I don’t remember the cover of that book being quite so….intensely pink? 

    Whatevs, it was the eighties.

  11. 11
    Kristina says:

    Holy Hannah!  New copy on Amazon is $83!!  (from amazon marketplace, but common!!)

  12. 12
    Michelle C. says:

    According to the link Susanna K. provided this is the FIRST in a series. D=
    I hope they were all hot pink. D= I have to read them now just for the D=.
    I do love old school …

  13. 13
    Chrissy says:

    FWIW you can find it on ebay for a buck.

    I always check there first for out of print titles, and they never disappoint.

  14. 14
    Maureen Kocisko says:

    Sorry if I am completely a nitwit here, but I don’t get what D= means!  Can someone explain?  If not it will be running around my brain at 3 in the morning.

  15. 15
    Amber says:

    @Maureen It’s a look of horror. The D is the disgusted mouth and the = are the shocked eyes.

  16. 16
    Emily says:

    @Maureen Kocisko
    Its an emoticon. An emoticon is when basic symbols are put together to make a face displaying an emotion.
    They were common in the early days of email.  More recent chat/email applications either provide smiley faces professionally and/ or transfer the face into the usual yellow smiley type faces whose emotions are easier to recognize.
    This particular emoticon shows I think an “Oh no” type emotion or look of horror or dread.
    Either that or its a smile saying “oh those eighties books with all the rapes”. I am not that sure myself. I think the first.
    Anyway they can be hard to understand if you are not a certain age just the eighties rape trend is hard for people not of that age to understand.
    Modern 69 take it or leave it.

  17. 17
    Tiblet says:

    There’s a listing on ebay for a buy it now of $1.00 with $3.49 shipping. Just an fyi!

  18. 18
    Dr_Zoidberg says:

    Thanks from me, too.

  19. 19
    Courtney says:

    Whoa.  Emily just made me feel very, very old. LOL.

    Are emoticons now in league with Commodore 64’s and Atari Game Systems or Dot Matrix printers?  Or are they are in the range of brick-like mobile phones from the 90’s? 

    D= < —-Definitely means “WTFISTHIS?” “OMGWTFHDU” or whichever expression of shock and horror you prefer.

    Thanks again!


  20. 20
    helen says:

    Ok, can I admit I had no idea what that particular emoticon meant? I actually thought it was a euphemism for bend over and …. in the forest. It kind of looks like buttocks…although now that I now what it really means it made me laugh!

  21. 21
    Davi says:

    Ahahahaha! Love, love, love

    Let me
    express it with an emoticon: D=


    I think I’m buying that book just so I can relive this moment!

  22. 22
    Karenmc says:

    I just found several copies available at Ladies, you can have your eyeballs seared and your world view damaged for just $3.95.

  23. 23
    Susan says:

    Never read this one, but the story reminds me of sneaking my mom’s copy of Forever Amber when I was in jr. high.  Not that I had to sneak it – I was allowed to read whatever I wanted.  Not sure now why I did sneak it.

    And really, FA when read in the 70s seemed awfully tame.  Although it was considered terribly shocking when first pub’d in the 40s.

  24. 24
    Aphasia says:

    I know what emoticons are, but admit I came over tot he comments thread just to find out what that one was! I think because it was preceded by a colon, so I was looking at it upside-down- I thought, are those her legs?? Is this somehow an emoticon for being raped? aaaah!!!
    : D=

    above32- yes, I admit it, I am ;)

  25. 25
    Jean Lamb says:

    I have to agree on Forever Amber—that was _my_ first historical romance, and all I could remember is that I thought the heroine extraordinarily stupid (and I was 12 at the time. Then again, I did live in a household where paying attention to the emotional states of others and keeping one’s mouth shut was a very good idea. But stil…she was so STUPID!)

  26. 26
    JoAnn says:

    My mom let me read any book in our house, until a neighbor loaned her the recently released books The Sensuous Woman and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask. I was forbidden to read those two books which my mom kept hidden in her underwear drawer (front, left side, all the way on the bottom, face down, spines facing the front of the drawer).

    I was too young to appreciate the information in those two books as anything more than an example of how ridiculous adults were, but for several days between the time I came home from school and my mom came home from work I managed to read every word.

    I wonder if forbidding your children to clean their rooms would have the same effect?

  27. 27
    Jamie says:

    Oh boy, I thought D= was something quite different.  I thought the = was well you know . . .his . . . well you know . . . and the D was either the thrusting part of his hips or if you look at it the other way the D was the barrier of . . .

    You know . .  I’m just going to go back to lurking.  As you were.

  28. 28
    bookstorecat says:

    LMAO. Very funny request for help, really wish I knew what this book was so I could put you out of your misery. Also, I totally assumed the colon (: D=) was meant to be part of the emoticon. And I assumed you were expressing yourself drooling a bit over whatever happened in the book. LoL-ing at myself.

    PS. I’m totally going to tattle on you.

  29. 29
    Pam says:

    : D=
    I thought she had a soul patch.

  30. 30
    joykenn says:

    I think my reaction to the knowledge that this book is part of a SERIES and captive books is sheer disbelief that we read this crap….avidly read this.  Sigh!  I must say we’ve come a long way from angst-ridden asshat of a “hero” and trembling virgin to supernatural heroine with fantastic sexual powers and multiple partners.  Hey, can we stop somewhere along this continuum?  (And I DON’T mean with angst-ridden, know-it-all bloodsuckers and their adoring mates.)

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