Help A Bitch Out

If It’s Wednesday, There Must Be Habos: Part 1

If it’s Wednesday and not Tuesday there must be HaBOs (and not Dildos, please God), so I’ve saved up some of the mostest craziest Help a Bitch Out posts for you. Get ready! Robin is looking for a book:

I’ve been watching your blog for a while now and have been impressed with
how often readers manage to help others find a book they’ve been looking
for. I was hoping to get some help looking for a book I can’t find despite
numerous searches for it and I can’t remember the author or title.

The book starts with a girl Mary/Marie being told that her father passed and
her mother is actually her step-mother and doesn’t want her to come home.
Her birth mother was an ancestor of a fille du roi. Having nothing else to
do, Mary goes to New Orleans in the hopes of finding her mother’s family.
On the way, she unknowingly befriends a madam who drugs her the night they
get into town and tries to sell her body. She manages to escape with the
help of the male lead, who believes her a prostitute.

My next clear memory of the book is her staying with a well-off family in
the country. They’re afraid of their only remaining child, Jeane?, getting
a disease, like scarlet fever?. She learns french, goes to the opera and
listens to Jeanne’s comments about how she’ll marry the male lead. Then,
when the male lead learns that Marie is staying with them, he tells the
family that she is a prostitue. And she is immediatly kicked out of the
house.

At some point in this story, Jeanne, goes to a voo doo priestess, who is
also a friend of the male lead, hoping for a spell that would make the male
lead fall in love with her. With a few carefully spoken words, Jeanne is
convinced she got exactly what she wants. Later the male lead tells the
priestess that if she needs money she only needs to ask. She then points out
the careful wording and social convention in what she told the girl.

Mary manages to get a job as a seamstress. Around this time the male lead
develops an interest in her and believes that she is very goood at
pretending her ‘innocence’ in the bedroom. At one point, Marie is inclined
to say that they couldn’t have sex until they were married. The male lead
immediatly thinks she’s only after his money. He agrees to the marriage,
and arranges to have his friends dress up as a priest. On Mardi Gras, Mary
thinks she’s getting married. Once the “ceremony” is over, the male lead
is all over her, not even giving her a chance to adjust to her new position
as a wife. When he’s had his way with her, he tosses a coin on her breasts,
and tells her the ruse. She goes home in a fog.

The next clear thing I remember is that her friend, an artist, is talking
with a potential client. One of the pictures he sees makes him proclaim,
“Such unusual hands! I have a friend who has the same kind of hands. Her
two middle fingers are exactly the same length.” That’s how Marie’s
family finds her. They barge in on her one night.

Now the heiress to a fortune, Mary gets revenge on the madam but she can’t
decide what to do to the male lead. The next thing I remember, the town is
evacuating as a great sickness begins to plague New Orleans. I think it was
the black death. Instead of retreating, she goes out trying to help who she
can. At one point she learns that the male lead is ill and instead of
calling for a doctor, she works with the male leads voodoo friend to help
heal him.

At the very end, the male lead is buying slaves with the intent of taking
them to freedom. While on the boat towards their destination, he’s stopped
and will be arrested if his intent is found. Somehow Mary has heard of this
and she’s climbing onto his boat, stripping off her clothes as the male
lead and the patrols talk, argue. She then comes out, providing the excuse
that they were newly married for why they were on the boat. The fact that
she is niece of……..and the men saw her in nothing but a shift makes them
back off. I believe the last line is something the male lead says: You taste
like my favorite dish. Red beans and rice.

Any help in finding this book would be vastly appreciated!

Awww. That’s so romantic. Anyone remember this book?

 

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Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Crystal says:

    Oh. My. God. So much to say. Can’t get it all out.

    Red beans and rice? Really?! Maybe she should take a shower, because I don’t think thats normal.

  2. 2
    Jessie says:

    I know we’re being all accurate by calling the main male character the “male lead” instead of the “hero” now, but for half of this post, I thought Mary/Marie was interested in the male lead of the opera she went to see. 

    She learns french, goes to the opera and
    listens to Jeanne’s comments about how she’ll marry the male lead.

  3. 3
    LadyRhian says:

    Yeesh, after all that, I’d want to rip the (ha!) hero a new one rather than have anything more to do to him! Pretend to marry her, then screw her and throw money on her chest/tits? Non-posthumous testicle removal sounds too good for him!

  4. 4
    SydneyLCarroll says:

    Yes!! I know this one! I’ve totally read this—and it’s exactly as you described, but I don’t remember the red beans and rice line. How could I have missed that?! It’s New Orleans Legacy by Alexandra Ripley. She wrote those Gone With the Wind sequels, too. And one with loads of WTF about a girl in Charleston with weird calico-cat colored hair who becomes a coked-out flapper, and has all this crazy shit happen to her via most evil MIL evah! I recommend.

  5. 5
    Shell B says:

    Is there any serious groveling? I think I’d hate this book otherwise.

  6. 6
    Donna says:

    It was yellow fever, and I haven’t got a clue what the title is.

  7. 7
    Anne says:

    I’ve totally read this! She had special gloves because her ‘spider fingers’ made her hands not fit regular gloves!

    Wish I remembered the title….

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    Holy hell. You’d think with that summary the cover would be whoa-tastic, but if it’s the book Sydney has identified, the cover belies the crazysauce behind the cover:

    Book Cover

    This part of the summary/review is amazing, too:

    Ripley … includes potentially interesting historical detail, but it is all but obscured by the sorely abused conventions of the historical romance genre that dominate her story. As the coincidence-laden plot twists towards its predictable ending, its myriad stereotyped characters utter dialogue embarrassing enough to make Robert E. Lee blush in his grave. Readers Digest Condensed Book selection; Literary Guild alternate

  9. 9
    kkw says:

    I’m pretty sure SydneyLCarroll got this one.  I know I’ve read it, I totally remember the red beans and rice (son of a gun we’re gonna have some fun on the bayou).  But not, you know, the title or author or anything.  NOL looks right to me.  As I recall there isn’t really any good grovel, I think we find out that he’s working to free slaves, which is why all is forgiven.

  10. 10

    Dang!  They just don’t write hot messes like they used to.  I may have to break out my old Jennifer Wilde’s for a taste of that Old Skool “Oh no he didn’t!”.

  11. 11
    roserita says:

    And here I couldn’t quite remember why I stopped reading historical romances.  This is why.

  12. 12
    Noelinya says:

    I agree, it’s New Orleans Legacy by Alexandra Ripley (I read it in French so I had to look for the original title first).

    I began to recognise it with the fingers’ stuff, and then all that follow is how I remember it (but I didn’t remember the begining and the false wedding, guess it means I forget all that doesn’t appeal to me in a story lol).

  13. 13
    MissFiFi says:

    All I wanted to do as I read the inquiry was smack the so-called “hero”. Throw coins on her breast and walk away? What a tool.

    Face59: ho many times I hit mine as I read this. what a hot mess indeed! LOL

  14. 14
    SusannaG says:

    The Alexandra Ripley about the coked-out flapper and the evil mother-in-law is On Leaving Charleston; it’s a sequel to “Charleston,” which is a Civil War-and-Reconstruction saga.

  15. 15
    Grrarrgh says:

    Oh, my gosh – I’ve read this book and I definitely remember the red beans and rice line!! I haven’t thought about it for years, but I think I’ll look it up.

  16. 16
    KarenH. says:

    Sadly, I too have read this book—at least most of it.  I think it was DNF, because surely I would have remembered the slave running “red beans and rice” part otherwise.  The “hero” made me want to neuter him with a Play-doh Fun Factory, and the heroine was TSTL.

    Hand96—the number of times I had to wash up after reading this dreck.

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