Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Her Great Aunt is Searching for a Book

Cartoon chick saying, I received this email from Dorothy, who is searching for a book on behalf of her great aunt: 

Dear Smart Bitches,

(That felt really naughty! Are you sure you don't mind being called that?) [SB Sarah: Nope! Don't mind at all!}

I was wondering if you could help a bitch out? My great-aunt has been reminiscing about her first steamy romance, borrowed from the public library a couple of years ago (bear in mind, I'm not sure how steamy a book has to be to qualify as such in my great-aunt's eyes).

She can remember very few details, but I would still love to have a go at finding it for her. She said it was set in France in the 1700s and that the hero and heroine are being hunted down by some faction. They may be trying to make it to Holland. And suspense is created because they're frequently apart and wondering if they'll see each other again, if the other is safe, if he or she be waiting at such and such a spot.

And then they'll meet up again and get busy. At one point they have a passionate love scene in a small house. I know, I know, that's not very specific. Heroine had long brown hair and may have worn peasant garb. Hero was French or Dutch. The cover was dark and she's wearing red and gazing up at him. I asked my great-aunt if she could remember any particular detail that would help, but apparently the story only stood out because of how explicit the sex was, and well, you know, YMMV. Oh, and on the back cover it said that the author was known for her sexy bits.

I appeal to the bitchery!

I know what Dorothy means, but the part where the author is known for her “sexy bits” made me laugh because, well, there are some very provocative author headshots out there now. Heh. Anyway, do you recall this book? 


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  1. 1
    Ros Clarke says:

    I’m sure it’s not the HABO, but I bet this great-aunt would enjoy Joanna Bourne’s books.

  2. 2

    I have no idea on this HABO but I second the Joanna Bourne reccs.

  3. 3
    Carney says:

    Have you tried the library to see if they have borrowing records back that far?

  4. 4
    MaireP says:

    for your privacy, libraries do not keep borrowing records

  5. 5
    Mikou Fan says:

    The public library in my county (Nassau, NY) does keep borrowing records, but I believe only the patron can access them, using their library card number and password.

  6. 6
    MaireP says:

    my library has an “opt in” option for keeping records, but otherwise, once it’s checked in, you never had it.

  7. 7
    LG says:

    Some libraries do keep borrowing records, but they are, in my experience, pretty good about letting you know they are doing so and letting you opt out if you wish (or letting you opt in yourself, rather than automatically doing so). The one library I used that kept borrowing records did so because their catalog had features (similar to what you might find on Amazon) that required that information. If you didn’t want the library to keep track of your borrowing information, no big deal, you opted out, but the Amazon-like features were then not available to you. I was in library school at the time and talked to one of the librarians that worked at that particular library, and she said that, despite the scary “keep in mind that if you don’t opt out the FBI and whoever else could look at your records one day, etc.” warning, a surprising number of people chose not to opt out.

    As far as the HaBO goes, I unfortunately don’t have a clue.

  8. 8
    Suzy says:

    There is a Hannah Howell book from the Murray Family series that starts in France and the main characters are fleeing to England/Scotland. Can’t remember right now which one it is, but they were separated/reunited a few times…. and since it is sweet and not angsty, it might be what the great-auntie is looking for.

  9. 9
    Mochabean1 says:

    Agree on Joanna Bourne rec—the HABO book is probably not The Forbidden Rose (I don’t think) but it sounds similar and I bet GA would enjoy that one.  (I sure did!)

  10. 10
    Scarlett Speaks says:

    Marsha Canham’s Pale Moon Rider, maybe? If it’s not, she’d probably enjoy it anyway.

  11. 11
    Vasha says:

    That would be Highland Avenger, but the description doesn’t sound like the book that is sought. Certainly the original poster didn’t mention the overwhelming Scottishness of that series.

  12. 12

    Could it be one of Anne Golon’s “Angélique” novels? I’ve only ever seen the films, so I don’t know how steamy the books are. The first book opens in France in the 1600s, and Angélique eventually meets and marries her first husband, Jeoffrey de Peyrac (dark hero complete with facial scar and pronounced limp) (also several years her senior and reputed to be a wizard) (according to Wikipedia; personally, I don’t remember the wizard bit, just the facial scar, limp and passionate kisses bits *g*). Jeoffrey’s enemies eventually come after them, they are separated, and Angélique travels the high seas in the course of various sequels. At one point she finds Jeoffrey again, but, if memory serves right, they are separated AGAIN (rather carless, to lose the same husband twice …). 

  13. 13
    Lupula says:

    I would support Sandra Schwab’s suggestion. But I’m not sure if the Golon novels were as popular in the US ads they were in Europe, especially in Germany. At their time, the 50ties and 60ties, they were regarded as “risqué” and not permitted to be read by younger readers.

  14. 14
    Melanie C says:

    I think it is Joanna Bourne’s Forbidden Rose – which is a great one! And the best part is, there are several others in that series to keep GA & the rest of the world entertained.

    It was published in June 2010 & the cover is dark w/ the couple as described & a red rose in front of them. Ah, Doyle!

  15. 15
    Guest says:

    Could it be Storm Winds, by Iris Johansen?  More old school, French Revolution, but not a lot of being separated, as I recall.

  16. 16
    The Other Susan says:

    In the state of Texas, it’s illegal for libraries, whether public or private, to keep checkout records.  I know because I used to work in a library.

    Yes, we do have libraries in Texas.  Don’t blame you for thinking otherwise though.

  17. 17
    kinthu says:

    I’m with Sandra, it sounds like “Angelique” to me.

    In passing, I don’t care much for your new HaBO logo. She looks as though she’s been goosed by a cactus.

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