Help A Bitch Out

If it’s Wednesday, There Must be MORE Crazy HaBOs!

This book is being sought by Kelly. I think this sounds like one of the most bizarre old skool plots I’ve heard of in a long time.

I read this way back in the late 80s/early 90s, probably the first romance I
read. Set in Scotland, the book starts with an arranged marriage that is not
consummated because, to the surprise of the wife, our heroine, her new hubby
only gets it on with his sister. I think there’s even a creepy line
implying his mom is ok with this. It is at her wedding where she meets her
eventual true love, our hero.

Heroine and hero are infatuated with each other, but there is then an attack
(possibly the evening of the wedding) by some enemy (probably an evil
Englishman) who kidnaps heroine. I believe she spends at least a chapter
being tied up in a barn and assaulted/raped by evil Englishman.

She eventually gets away and I’m not sure if I remember this correctly, but I
think meets a nice man who she loves but not as much a hero and they go
away, possibly to France first and eventually to America. I think he then
conveniently dies near the end. Maybe on the ship? He might be an older
gentleman. Heroine might be pregnant either from him or evil English rapist?
If so, I think she has a miscarriage on the voyage to America.

Hero meanwhile escapes the battle and heads off, somehow with some other
lady, I think the little sister of a friend who is in love with him, and who
he kind-of loves but not as much as heroine. She gets pregnant I think, they
travel on ship to America, she eventually dies probably in childbirth.

So they’re both in the US. By this time, heroine is a nanny or similar to
some children. Their father is becoming distant and I think dies with
something involving likely opium and a prostitute in a red room. I’m really
vague on the book ending details! So then I think heroine has custody of his
neglected kids, and she and hero meet again and it’s all hearts and roses
and expanded blended family of the kids of the dead employer (no idea where
their mom is in all of this!) and his child by dead girl who loved him and
who he loved but not as much as heroine.

This was possibly part of a series but if so, I only ever read this book.

Phew! Hopefully some of this is accurate and someone will recognize it! I
don’t think I’m confusing multiple books but it’s been over 20 years, so
it’s quite possible.

WOW. I don’t even know what to say about this one. I can only hope this was part of a series. I wish you could see the expression on my face right now. I would attempt to picture it here but it would require too many asterisks.

So. Anyone remember this book?


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    chrocs says:

    I know it’s not the case, but Outlander? The plot sounds long enough to fit in one of those.

  2. 2
    T. L. Haddix says:

    I don’t know for a fact that it is, but wow, this so sounds like a Bertrice Small plotline.  Good luck!

  3. 3

    No, it is definitely not Outlander or any of the Gabaldons. 

    Please, someone know this one!

  4. 4
    Klio says:

    I’m way too poorly-read in this genre to help, but this plot is so insane, I want to read it. I have to admit, I love it when the HaBOs are crazy elaborate or just plain crazy crazy.

    (“lay75”? I would totally read a crazy crazy plot that involved 75 sexytimes scenes, with or without 75 different arrangements of couples.)

  5. 5
    Lizzy says:

    I honestly believe that this is the most glorious HABO I have read since I started lurking here several years ago. I’m not even an old-skool fan and I want to get my paws on a copy of whatever the heck this is.

  6. 6
    JB Hunt says:

    Doesn’t this sound like one of those torturous Rosemary Rogers plotlines? Painful!

  7. 7
    willaful says:

    The part about the sister is similar to Catherine Coulter’s Wild Star, but I don’t think any of the other details fit.

  8. 8

    Seriously, I hate to start with this again, but WHY is this classified as a ROMANCE?  And why would you want to read it again when there are so many unread books out there?

    Wallace Stevens:  The Plot Against the Giant = romantic

  9. 9
    Nikki says:

    I have no idea which book this is but it seriously sounds rather like a Bertrice Small to me as well.  I have absolutely no urge to read it but I am curious to find out who wrote this conglomeration of wtf.

  10. 10
    BJ says:

    Almost certain it isn’t a Bertrice Small (no Middle Eastern potentate….), nor is it the wandering through multiple reunions/reluctant other partners that Rebecca Brandywyne did in that era (the path on that one went from Ireland to China, IIRC….). Needless to say, the other author who did similar sagas who I was going to suggest was on the tips of my typing fingers until I actually went to type the name ;-) And I’ve long since given away/discarded the book that is triggering vague memories of which one this might be…..

  11. 11
    Merry says:

    Oh, you tease.

  12. 12
    Nikki says:

    BJ, you are right about Bertrice Small.  There are no potentates, usually we get to the Middle East one way or another in her books.  The plots just sounded so much like her. Are you thinking Virginia Henley?  she had that kind of sweeping range in some of her books.  I am not sure, did Susan Johnson write anything like this?  Its kind of early for her though I think.

    Sadly, in the late 80s/early 90s I was just starting my romance reading.  I think this plot would have gotten this book taken away from me considering Valley of the Horses was removed as a far too advance book for my delicate young eyes.

  13. 13

    It’s not a Virginia Henley, I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of hers and this does not sound familiar.

  14. 14
    ks says:


    And I’ve long since given away/discarded the book that is triggering vague memories of which one this might be…..

    This is triggering some vague memories for me too, but I don’t think this is the book I’m remembering, either.  But I read something with a very similar plot (and loads of melodrama) ages and ages ago.

  15. 15

    Valley of the Horses was removed as a far too advance book for my delicate young eyes

    Ditto, though I was young enough when it came out that I was flipping through, going “blah, blah, blah … where are the horses?”

    Sorry, OP, no can help with the book. Good luck!

  16. 16
    Gabi Stevens says:

    This sort of sounds like the movie Angels and Insects, one which I’ve never seen because the description alone was enough to scare me away. (Yes, I am a wimp)

  17. 17
    beggar1015 says:

    I’ve tried only once to read a Bertrice Small book, I think it was Skye something, and the very beginning (which is all I really read of it) and the beginning of this HaBo seem mashed together. At least there are similar elements. I believe it is set in Scotland. The heroine was set to be married to someone for political reasons. She didn’t like him and he was kinky in some way (can’t remember. could very well be incest). Heroine meets Hero at this wedding. He claims First Night rights (you know, where the nobleman gets to sleep with another man’s bride), then after he gets his, she has to go reluctantly to her husband and he does tie her to the bed where he and another woman (sister??) rape the heroine.

    Or I might be totally off the wall. That happens sometimes.

  18. 18

    No, that sounds like Skye O’Malley.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  I will NOT read another Bertrice Small book.  There are limits to my Old Skool adoration.

  19. 19
    Randi says:

    It’s definitely NOT the Skye O’Malley series. I’ve read them and the HABO isn’t it.

    Could it be a Heather Graham (publishing thru Dell) in the late 80’s? One of these?

  20. 20
    Randi says:


    While you’re off the Bertrice Small bandwagon, have you considered doing a Rosemary Rogers review? I would TOTALLY love to see you review Sweet Savage Love!

  21. 21


    Well, I see the top review on Amazon says “NO NO NO DO NOT READ THIS BOOK EVER” and um, you know how I can’t resist that.

  22. 22
    Eliza says:

    I sure hope someone figures this one out, because I’m totally curious now!

  23. 23
    Nicole L says:

    OMG! Beatrice Small, Rosemary Rogers…ughhh…I have NO IDEA why I perservered and continued to read “romance” after cutting my teeth at the tender age of 11 on a couple of these authors. I’m SURE I didn’t understand HALF of what they were writing about.
    And Sweet Savage Love…I think I still have that on my shelf, although my brain has blocked most of the memories of it.  I would love to hear a review though…

  24. 24
    Randi says:

    @Nicole L:  Ahhhh! I was 11 when I started the Ginny/Steve chronicles, too. Those were also the first romances MY mom read. It’s a family tradition. I have to admit: I HAVEN’T read them since I was like 13, I’m too afraid to. I have such sweet nostalgic memories of reading them, and TOTALLY enjoying them, that I’m afraid if I re-read them I will HATE them! And I don’t want that to happen. :)  But I do SOOOOOO want redheadedgirl to do it!!!

  25. 25
    Randi says:

    @redheadedgirl: The gauntlet had been thrown….

  26. 26
    kelly says:

    “Seriously, I hate to start with this again, but WHY is this classified as a ROMANCE?  And why would you want to read it again when there are so many unread books out there?”

    I need to know that I am not insane and that this book actually exists!

    I followed up on some of the author guesses so far but none seem right… :( Sadness!

  27. 27
    shannon says:

    someone totally needs to figure this out because I’m pretty sure that I read this way back when (and now I’m totally curious as to which book this is)

  28. 28
    Nicole says:

    —Randi says; “@redheadedgirl: The gauntlet had been thrown….”

    HA HA HA HA!! Oh, now I have that little Old Spice whistle going through my head…

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