Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: This Hero Sounds like A Giant Piece of DooDoo

Help a Bitch OutLibby is looking for a book that she's been searching for, and honestly, I was skeptical it was a romance. Libby swears it is. Read on, and experience douchebag hero! 

I read it ages and ages ago, when I was wee and young (possibly somewhere in those muddled and traumatic teenage years). It was a historical romance set in Russia, I think, with a hero who is deliciously hot, but suffers from ennui. Like, chronically. I remember that he either was married or gets married, and makes it a habit to go gallivanting around Russia having affairs while his wife is left at ye olde homestead to pine for him.

At some point she gets pregnant and he is either wildly turned on or can't give a damn. I don't remember. But I do remember that there may have been a dubious sort of ending in which he promises to TRY not to wander, cheat, and ignore her, but no guarantees because he gets majorly bored and NOTHING helps.

I *said* it was a dubious ending, and my memory is all swiss cheese.

I came across the Lisa Kleypas's Prince of Dreams, but I don't *think* that's the one. I'm not sure. So, hoping you or the other gals who swing by the site could help out.

Thanks so much in advance.

I read this and wrote back, “WOW. Are you sure this was a romance? This hero sounds like a real piece of doodoo!” And Libby replied, “LOL! I remember being very conflicted by the ending, disappointed even. And I definitely remember the bodice ripper cover.”

Oh, Lordy. I bet it was fuchsia. Anyone recall this book? And does the wife kick him in the ennui at some point?


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  1. 1
    Heather says:

    Sounds like Susan Johnson’s Russia trilogy – early ‘80s.

  2. 2
    Emily A. says:

    It’s not the Prince of Dreams. He’s Russian but they live in England.

  3. 3
    Julie Ritenour says:

    exactly what I thought when I read the HABO

  4. 4
    Cyranetta says:

    Susan Johnson came to my mind, as well, but I can’t remember an exact title.

  5. 5

    This would only be a romance if the wife ditched his cheating ass and ran off with the gardener who is secretly the heir to an Italian principality. Maybe THAT would cure the “hero” of his ennui.

  6. 6
    Ricki Wovsaniker says:

    If it’s Susan Johnson, it’s probably Love Storm. Do you remember the heroine having a little brother she’s hauling around and trying to protect (named Bobby, I think)? Do you remember the heroine at some point ending up in a sultan or something’s tent, drugged and dancing and stuff? Do you remember the nephew of that sultan-or-something later coming back and raping her (but, you know, the hot kind of raping)?

  7. 7
    LadyRhian says:

    I know one of the Rosemary Rogers books took place, at least partly, in Russia. I don’t know if that’s what you are looking for, though. Sweet, Savage Love, maybe?

  8. 8
    katherinelynn_04 says:

    Could it be Secret Fire by Johanna Lindsey? A Russian prince sees a noblewoman on the street (dressed as her maid for a reason I cannot recall) and desires her, so he has his manservant kidnap her and then drugs her with something that makes her wild with passion and basically rapes her. I believe this portion took place on a boat from England while he was on his way to Russia. When they finally get to his palace in Russia he leaves her there and she believes he is cheating on her. She finds out she is pregnant and somehow gets back to England, where he has to come and find her at her father’s house.

  9. 9
    katherinelynn_04 says:

    Reading through the reviews the aunt of the ‘hero’ convinces the heroine that he is cheating on her, which is one of the reasons she leaves. It even has an old school bodice ripper cover! First publication was 1987, so it might fit the time frame.

  10. 10
    Crystal S says:

    I second Susan Johnson’s Love Storm. It’s been a while since I’ve read it so I don’t remember how it ends, but otherwise it seems spot on.

  11. 11
    Nadia says:

    Only one that comes to mind for me is splendor by brenda joyce, but idk if that’s it.

  12. 12
    Npinder says:

    I agree Susan Johnson but think it might be Seized by Love.

  13. 13
    Willaful says:

    I’ve got Splendor and it doesn’t fit. It sounds like Susan Johnson to me, too.

  14. 14
    Ken Houghton says:

    “And be a Douchebag Hero / With Stars on his Thighs…”

    (Sorry; couldn’t resist.)

  15. 15
    Susan says:

    I used to love romances set in Russia (and would still love reccies of *good* ones).  I wondered if this particular one might be that Kathleen Woodiwiss book, Forever in Your Embrace, but, other than its general awfulness, I don’t remember all the details.

  16. 16
    The Other Susan says:

    No clue what the title is, but I volunteer to kick the hero in his ennui!

  17. 17
    Picklesmcfarland says:

    Jane Feather wrote a few set in Russia. One had “Emerald ” in the title.

  18. 18
    Joanna S. says:

    I’m not sure about Libby, but I remember this one (I think).  Didn’t the nephew use some sort of ginormous leather dildo on her?  If this is that one, then I remember being so very traumatized by it, and by “traumatized” I mean I gaped, then sputtered, then threw the book across the room in anger while yelling about conscious consent!  That might have been my last Susan Johnson.

  19. 19
    StarOpal says:

    Susan> Have you tried the Bronze Horsemen books by Paullina Simons from several years ago? Set in WWII, it’s a trilogy, so I would suggest getting them (especially the first two) at the same time. In order: The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, and The Summer Garden.

    And then there was a Harlequin called Broken Lullaby, by Laurel Pace which I only remember because they made it into one of those TV movies and the fact I was always weirded out by the fact it turns out the hero and heroine are some sort of cousins, in a contemporary. But I do remember liking the intrigue.

  20. 20
    smlundberg says:

    Good lord, these books…does anyone else occasionally have the urge to find and read some of the blechier books just to get a gander at the trainwreckiness of it all? Or is that just me?

    I’m sorry that I don’t have any suggestions to offer!

  21. 21
    LisaCharlotte says:

    Definitely Susan Johnson and the most disappointing HEA. I distinctly remember the “I’ll try not to cheat on you, but no promises” ending.

  22. 22
    JoanneF says:

    I thought of the the Woodiwiss book too.  He’s English, but in Russia for some reason, she’s Russian.  All I remember was she used him to ruin her rep, he rode a horse in some show, and she had an aunt who ogled his naked butt.  Other than that, much intrigue and bodice-ripping occurs, as in any Woodiwiss book.

  23. 23
    Scrin says:

    Happens all the time. It can be sort of fun, actually.

  24. 24
    cleo says:

    I’m always amazed how many possible answers there are to some of these HaBos – who knew there were so many old skool romances (with asshole hero, natch) set in Russia?

  25. 25
    JillSorenson says:

    Seized by Love for sure. I remember the ending.

  26. 26
    Lindleepw says:

    Yes I do believe this is a Susan Johnson novel. I think those who said Seized by Love are correct. As to being a romance, it is one only if you consider Susan Johnson novels romances. I decided long ago they do not come close to what I consider a romance or even a healthy relationship. Even though I still own a couple of her books. Make of that what you will.

  27. 27
    Beccah W. says:

    Agreed. Plus, Kleypas never writes such dubious endings/heroes…to my knowledge. I hate “romance novels” where the men philander! ROAR.

  28. 28
    riwally says:

    I read a book with that kind of scenario a long time ago and was also turned off by the “I’ll try not too cheat on you” line by the dickwad hero (and I use that term looooossly).  I can’t for the life of me remember what the book was, tho’ (maybe from a lifetime of reading too many books-can one really read too many books?)  Despite the fact that the dubious dunce, I’d like to find out what the book is so I can read it too (does that make me a dubious dunce, too?)  :3

  29. 29
    vulcan_girl says:

    I also agree that this is Seized by Love by Susan Johnson. I have the original paperback version, published by Playboy Books.  I’m pretty sure the couple move to France so the heroine can become a farmer.

  30. 30
    Elisabeth B says:

    One of my favourite Russian Romances is Ira J Morris’ The Troika Belle. I think in the US it was published as the Rake and the Rebel. It was written in the 70’s and is terrific. The h – Lise –  is French and as a child goes to live in Russia with the H’s family. He is the illegitimate son of a Count /Prince, whatever and is very wild. She of course loves him from afar, but he still sees her as a child. He is exiled for some wild deed and she stows away to comfort him as he heads off into the wilds of Russia, where he slowly begins to appereciate her as a person. It is set during the Napoleonic wars, in Russia and Englan, ending just before the battle of Waterloo. There are several story strands which weave together and it is totally delicious and delightful, including an English Duke, his aunt, a Russian General and a host of other characters. If you are a Georgette Heyer fan, and enjoy her depth of detail and characterisation, you will love this too.

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