Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Badass Village Woman Stands Up to the Manor Lord

Help a Bitch OutThis HaBO comes from Ana: 

Dear Sarah and all the Smart Bitches: the TBTRom hashtag reminded me on probably the only Romance I read as a teen. 

It was the last summer vacation we took before my parents divorced. We rented a set of rooms at resort but it rained most of the week. While trapped in a small room with my sister we entertained ourselves by raiding the small paperback collection in the resort lobby. There I found a very thick paperback romance.

I don't remember much but I remember the book was maroon or brownish. I don't think it still had a cover but I am sure if it had it would have been gothic.

I know the story featured a cruel Lord of the manor who has the heroine viciously whipped for interfering in some way.  So time later he ends up needing her help although he doesn't recognize her.  It is not till sexy-times that he realizes who she really is when he discovered her severely scarred back.  There was much guilt.

I realize this is less than helpful as I don't remember the HEA. I just remember my eyes bugging out at the whipping.  I am honestly surprised my mother didn't confiscate the book as she later took our Clan of the Cave Bear books.

Does anything sound familiar? Village woman stands up to the manor Lord and is scarred in a brutal whipping by the Lord of the Manor?

Does anyone recognise this book? (And does the hero grovel like whoa?!) 


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  1. 1
    Judy W. says:

    Hmmm. Not Gothic but Mary Balough’s Longing had a back whipping part.  The Heroine was governess to the local lords children in a coal mining town with much unrest. She was whipped for working for him by a band of local agitators.  He didn’t realize what had happened at first and was guilt ridden because some overture he made started the whole thing. Great book if it’s not the one your looking for,

  2. 2
    Olivia says:

    Only ones I could think of “The Conqueror” by Brenda Joyce or “This Other Eden” by Marilyn Harris

    On another note: Clan of the Cave Bear books are awesome, and my first step into books with descriptive sex scenes! ;)

  3. 3
    redheadedgirl says:

    Ana said that she read this in 88 or 89, so The Conqueror is out but This Other Eden is a possibility….

  4. 4
    Ana says:


    I read this book in either the summer of 88 or 89, so Longing is much too recent. But it is a Balogh I haven’t read, and I enjoys her books when I am in the mood for angst, so I will look for it.

    On twitter, Shari Slade also suggested it could be “This Other Eden”,  and the reviews and publications date make it very likely.  I am on the waiting list on for it.

    I have such good memories of the Clan of the Cave Bear books. We didn’t have much in the way of sex-Ed and those books were so informative! :)

  5. 5
    Mzcue says:

    Forgive me for piggy-backing, but since Clan of the Cave Bear has been mentioned several times, maybe it’s not too gauche…  Did the Clan of the Cave Bear series continue to hold up after the first few books? I remember reading and loving them, but dropped out at about the time Ayla (IIRC) made the trip across the ice. I stopped reading fiction at that point, and sort of lost track. By the time I discovered romance novels within the last year or two, Clan of the Cave Bear had dropped off my radar.

    Was Auel able to maintain the steam?

  6. 6
    redheadedgirl says:

    Short answer:  no. 

    Longer answer:  abso-fucking-lutely not. 

    The fourth book is really where the series begins heading downhill, but the fifth book.  The fifth book is so bad.  So bad.  Every time Ayla meets someone new WITHIN THE SAME GROUP they all remark on her not-accent “as if there were some sounds she could not quite make” and how devastatingly beautiful she is.  The story of how she was brought up by the Clan and the racist questions that follow is repeated ad nauseum.  The story gets even more stupid. 

    I haven’t read the final one because I’m still so angry at The Shelters of Stone, but Ayla explains to everyone how reproduction works and destroys society forever and creates the Patriarchy (along with domesticated animals, flint firestarters, dialysis, and the needle).  So thanks for that, Stone Age Mary Sue, Mother of Us All.  Thanks.

  7. 7
    Mzcue says:


    Better to leave Ayla in the murky mists of my fond memory. Thanks for the warning.

    And again, yoicks!

  8. 8
    cayenne says:

    @redheadedgirl & @Mzcue – I slogged through books 4 & 5 with diminishing enthusiasm after each one, and the final book had me shrieking in rage and flinging it against the wall. Unbelievable SHITE. Save your good memories of the series and avoid book 4 onward.

  9. 9
    Julie M says:

    Did not read the Habo or the Clan of the Cave Bear series, but I am much amused by the comment…. “So Thanks for that, Stone Aged Mary Sue, Mother of Us All. Thanks!”

    So funny! Thanks for that redheadedgirl. You are awesome!

  10. 10
    Steph P says:

    My husband and I once listened to Clan of the Cave Bear on audiobook on a long road trip (all 10+ double-sided cassettes worth).  I remember having enjoyed the book when I read it, but in audio form, it just became ridiculous.  To this day, we still crack up over how many times Ayla wonders in angsty silence,

    why won’t Jondalar make the sign?

    . Come on, lady, didn’t you come up with every advance in Stone Age technology all on your own?  And you can’t figure out that he wants to bone you?

  11. 11
    Steph P says:

    Oops, that must have been Valley of the Horses, actually.  God, did we listen to both of those on tape?  Must have been a long road trip.

  12. 12
    Sarita says:

    I never read the clan of the cave bear books, but I watched part of the movie at a far too young age, right up until the scene with the beheading, at which point I ran away and hid.

  13. 13
    Olivia says:

    I never have actually gotten around to reading the last book, because it had been so long I wanted to reread the rest of the series, (which my chronological OCD makes me do with every series that hasn’t had a book release within six months of the last one!,) but I never got around to it. Personally I didn’t have much problems with the last couple I did read, but to be fair, I was pretty young and still mostly in it for the sexy scenes, not the overall content.

    But how did I not know there was a movie?!

  14. 14
    aq says:

    Off the top of my head, I remember two whipping books. Janet Dailey’s Touch the Wind which looking back is probably Stockholm Syndrome on steriods book set in Mexico with an outlaw. So definitely not that one. Been years and year but I still remember a lot about that book.


    Jennifer Wilde’s Love’s Tender Fury

    As I very vaguely recall I didn’t like the initial lord of the manor “hero” of book one so was pretty happy that she ended up with someone else in book 3. I think it starts out in England and ends up in the Colonies in Book 1. I did look up the cover and it’s kind of beige but it was released in 76.

    Of course it’s been so long and I was pretty young and new to romances so maybe I’m not remembering.

  15. 15
    Ana says:

    Thanks for all the help on the search…I will report back once I get my hand on a copy.

    I am so thankful that I never finished the Clan of the Cave Bead books and can live with the fuzzy memories.

    But I did see this today: Lifetime orders Clan of the Cave Bear Pilot!

  16. 16
    Redheadedgirl says:

    Oh no.  No no no.p no no. NO.

    RON HOWARD. No. Oh my god no.

  17. 17
    SB Sarah says:

    Imagining various Ron Howard movie characters in Clan of the Cave Bear is making me laugh like a loon. I’m scaring the dogs.

  18. 18
    rayvyn2k says:

    Re: The Earth’s Children series…Books 1-3 are IMO the best. 4 is okay, 5 & 6 are utter crap. Six is almost unreadable. When I had slogged through it, I was furious with Auel for the way she treated her characters. A crime against her own characterization, IMO.

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