Janine emailed and asked for your help with a rather unique-sounding romance:
The recent BEJEWELED ELEPHANTS crazysauce review made me think of a
historical romance set in India that was actually…pretty good. I got it
years ago from a library paperback “take one-bring one” shelf and would
love to reread it—but of course I cannot come up with title, author, or
names of any of the characters.
The heroine is the stepdaughter? niece? of a British official in 19th
century India. Her biological parents, who may or may not have been English,
had a horrible, crazy passionate, hot-tempered marriage which the heroine
does not remember fondly.
The father died in some manner appropriate to his
hot-tempered personality (thrown from a stallion? drowned in a lake? shot in
a duel?) and the mother at the beginning of the novel is also dead, so the
only remaining parent is this father-figure who seems to be a genuinely
nice, caring guy until he is killed off in about the first chapter (or maybe
the book opens with him already dead too?) while the two of them are off in
the wilds of India on a business-related trip.
Enter the hero, who is a British soldier/spy (with perhaps a picturesque injury?) who has just
escaped from being held prisoner by a local ruler for many months. He is on
his way back to his former headquarters, where he looks forward to being
reunited with his gorgeous fiancee, so he takes Heroine along (since clearly
a white upper-class woman cannot wander India alone) . Except, UH-OH, when
they get there, Fiancee has, on the basis that everyone assumed he was dead,
moved on and gotten either engaged or married to someone else.
So at this point, Hero and Heroine decide the best possible outcome is for the two of
them to get married. Part of the grounds for their compatibility are that
the hero has PTSD-like symptoms resulting in a terror of the dark and
impotence, and the heroine thinks she doesn’t want sex anyway because she
is afraid she has inherited her parents’ passionate nature, and look how
that turned out for them. Obviously neither of these two conditions stick.
There is also a tiger hunt in there somewhere and when they do manage to
sync up their sex drives it takes place in a maharajah’s palace. Despite
the crazy plotting, I remember the characters as being genuinely likable,
and that you could really understand what they appreciate about each other
and what they each bring to their relationship. Would love to reread if
someone knows what I am talking about!
I love when the strength of the characters overrides what otherwise would be an eyebrow-raising plot. Anyone remember this book?