Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Brooding Cliche on a Hill

Help a Bitch OutSusan has asked for your help finding a romance that sounds simply amazing. In the 0_0 sense. 

I've been able to correctly identify the vast majority of my former guilty pleasures, but there's one that eludes me, and I remember having SO much fun reading it. On to the description!

In this book, the Heroine is an intrepid young woman in the Victorian era (or one of those eras in which women were expected to sigh, faint, and wear a corset, while lounging around the house, eating bonbons). She accepts a job offer in a place that would send most women screaming for the hills; instead, our Job-Seeker runs in the opposite direction, towards a dark, forbidding house that resides on a cliff near the ocean.

And who resides in that house? Why, the handsome, brooding hero! We'll call him Cliche. Job-seeker has taken on the job of typing Cliche's hand-written papers, because we all know that men's weeny fingers cannot handle the arduous task of pressing buttons repeatedly. That, or writing by hand is more manly.

In any case, Job-seeker must spend odd hours copying tedious manifestos, and taking down dictations for Cliche. There's one teensy, weensy problem, however. Someone is messing with her work, and causing it to either disappear, or is scattering them all over the room. There's also a ghost. A ghost that concerns Job-Seeker greatly, because she is rumored to be a former lover of Cliche, to whom Job-Seeker has become greatly attached. Did he kill her? Did he lock her up in an attic to die (*cough*)? I don't know! That's why I need your help.

I do remember one scene, which was the great romantic scene, where Cliche confronts Job-Seeker in a cave near the beach – you know it's serious business, because his arms were akimbo! Yes. That is what I remember about the romantic scene – not the kiss, not the sexual tension, but the fact that the man's arms were akimbo. Alas, that's all I can offer, save for a description of the cover, which probably won't be helpful at all. It had a woman running from a house, which, during the Mid-Nineties, described fully 99.99993% of all Gothic Fiction covers. I really, really want to read this book again, and I pray that this one wasn't just another construct of my over-imaginative brain. If it is, I promise I'll write it for you guys. (In all seriousness, you guys rock.)

Do you remember this book, with akimbo Cliche in all his glory?


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Sylvie Fox says:

    I can’t believe I remember this.  This was the LAST one of these I read, though.  Wish I could help you out.  It was straight categories for me for at least five years after this.

  2. 2
    ashley says:

    not that i’ve read it but could it bee A mermaid’s song by MArianne Wilman? or One Night of Scandal by Teresa Medeiros?

  3. 3
    Maggie Dyer says:

    I know there was a Barbara Michaels book with this plot.  Master of Black Tower?  But that was 80’s not 90’s.

  4. 4
    LunaRocket says:

    I about fell out of my chair laughing on reading the “arms akimbo”! How I hate that phrase and I swear it’s been popping up more and more and not just in romance novels. Should I ever write a romance it will be a phrase as much avoided as “drank deeply”, “down to her toes” and “to the hilt”! Unless referring to an actual sword thrust! ;-)

  5. 5
    CutMyTeethOnKleypas says:

    I had to google-search the definition of Akimbo.  *Hangs head in shame*

  6. 6
    Emily A. says:

    You know who might know this? Romance Writer Lauren Willig.
    No seriously she keeps an awesome blog and she has talked about old gothics and how much she loves them. We could see if she posts on the site or you could e-mail her your HABO. I believe there is a way to e-mail her although I never e-mailed her before. I swear I am not just trying to be annoying I really think she might know this. If not she would give you leads to track down. More details might help if you could. If not it’s still worth giving it a try. That’s what I would do.
    Good luck to you and to finding this book.

  7. 7
    starropal says:

    And this:


    - is all I can think of.

  8. 8
    Beccah W. says:

    This story doesn’t sound terribly original…like Jane Eyre with a ghost.

  9. 9
    Beccah W. says:

    Me too! I’ve always wondered, because it does tend to come up in Romance now and again. I guess I just never bothered to look it up before. Makes more sense now, haha.

  10. 10
    laj says:

    I agree Lauren Willig will probably know this book. 

  11. 11
    Maridonne says:

    The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt? I don’t know about the cover, but I remember from my bookstore days that some of her books were reissued, so that could have changed. This one was set in France, and I seem to remember there was a big deal made about a single woman taking this job. I also seem to remember something about his wearing a wedding ring, or not wearing one, which could bear on the missing wife part of the plot. I don’t remember the arms akimbo, but the whole thing was certainly cliched.

  12. 12
    The Other Susan says:

    Not Master of Black Tower.  I have a copy of it.  House is in the Highlands of Scotland (of course), not near ocean.  Although I suppose there are parts of the Highlands near the ocean.

  13. 13
    The Other Susan says:

    Never had a man kiss me with his arms akimbo – I think.  Day’s not over yet though.

  14. 14
    Susan says:

    OP, here. I’ll have to see if I can get in contact with this Ms. Willig. Thanks guys! Your posts have me rolling, and my reading list is getting longer!

    And thanks to Sarah and Candy for posting this for me!

  15. 15
    CynaraM says:

    There’s also no vanishing paperwork in Master of Black Tower.  Please post when it’s figured out, everyone!

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