Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Kate Noble is Searching for a Romance Novel

Help a Bitch outAuthor Kate Noble wrote in with this HaBO request, hoping the Bitchery can identify a book she's been searching for: 

So – On occasion over the years I have toyed with trying to find that very first romance novel I ever read, which subsequently warped me into the mangled voracious romance reader/writer you see before you today. Alas, I have never succeeded, and thus I turn to you, my fellow voracious-types, to see if this is crowd-sourceable.

Warning: This is a while ago. Over 20 years ago, in fact. God, I’m old. The summer I was 12 or 13, (so, 1991-ish) my cousin Megan came to visit us, and she brought with her a romance novel – her worldiness a product of her 9 months advantage in age. I took it from her, and didn’t give it back. It was Regency era and shorter – category length, and the couple did nothing more than kiss (hey, I was 12, after all).

The cover had a dark haired young woman in a light blue dress sitting on a bench looking up at a gentleman, who wore boots.

The plot: Girl in Blue is the genteel but impoverished neighbor of the local rich family. She and the heir of the property are friends and play together as kids. Unfortunately, the heir ends up getting washed away in a river when he’s about 8-10, the body never found (of course not).

Girl in Blue grows up pining for the lost heir, because they were soul mates. At 8, but soul mates, nonetheless. Now, she’s a young lady, making ends meet by teaching piano lessons to the local children. One day, she’s walking by the local rich family’s estate, and she sees a man in a tree. In the infinite wisdom of a romance novel heroine, she goes to stand under the tree to get a better look, and the guy falls out and practically lands on top of her.

It turns out he is Spanish, and he has busted up his leg. The Spaniard (as I remember him being called) is taken into the local rich family’s house to recuperate. There, he is really confused by how nice everyone is being to him, especially the lord of the house. It turns out this is because he has been told by his family that the lord of the house is a terrible guy. Of course, this is because the Spaniard is actually the lost heir (*gasp*), who was kidnapped by Spanish relatives on his deceased mother’s side of the family who had always hated his father.

Oh yeah, and somewhere along the way, he starts making out with the Girl in Blue. And when his true identity is revealed, they of course get together. (Also, she might have had another guy courting her, but she held him off because her soul mate relationship with a kid she thought had died. Although I could be making that part up.) I sincerely hope I haven’t stumped you all with this one.

Do you recognize this book?


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  1. 1
    MissB2U says:

    I don’t know the book but have complete faith that the Bitchery will suss out the answer for you.

  2. 2
    Mary says:

    So…these definitely aren’t what you’re talking about, because they were published in 2002 BUT Avon Teen Romance had a *ton* of books that are like what you describe…they all had titles like “Tess and the Highlander” or “Gwen and the thief”…and they were similar just kissing etc.
    Like I said, they were published too late (I remembered them because they were my first romances), but maybe something similar, like a teen romance line from the early 90s?

  3. 3

    This would only be more awesome if the Spaniard’s name is Inigo Montoya.

  4. 4
    Blossom says:

    Could it by Charity’s Gambit by Marcy Stewart? I have spent all tonight looking at a zillion covers on FictionDB after doing advance searches I typed in music lessons and there it was. It was published in 1994 though.


    Desperate circumstances have reduced Charity Abercrombie to giving lessons on the pianoforte. But while music may feed the soul it cannot provide a secure future…nor can the kiss she shares with mysterious Dominic Castille, who falls from a tree—practically at her feet—as she strolls through the woods…

    Determined to forget the incident—romantic as it was—Charity reluctantly embarks on a London season in hopes of making a suitable match. She cannot know that the dark and dashing captain harbors a dangerous secret that will soon ensnare them both in its web—leaving Charity to risk certain rain in a gamble that could cost her the man she so passionately loves…

  5. 5
  6. 6
    SandyH says:

    If the book is Charity’s Gambit, there is a copy available at Paperbackswap.

  7. 7
    Kate Noble says:

    Oh my god you guys found it!  You found the impossible to find!  I’m in awe, and clapping my hands with glee.  Off to paperbackswap!

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