Book Review

Passion’s Bold Fire by Rosalyn Alsobrook, a Guest Review by RedHeadedGirl

F

Title: Passion’s Bold Fire
Author: Rosalyn Alsobrook
Publication Info: Kensington/Zebra 1993
ISBN: 092174027
Genre: Historical: American

>RedHeadedGirl is back, this time with a review of a romance from so far back, and so far gone in the WTF department, she calls it “Love’s Passion’s Flaming Bag of Poo.” It was an epic adventure. In pain.image

Most of the time, reviews are written after you have finished the book.  I admit for Season of the SunI started it before I even got the book delivered, but I’d read it so many times before, I could do that, and the hook wasn’t really that relevant to the specific book anyway.

This is not one of those reviews.

It’s really tempting to do this review just as transcripts of IMs and emails I sent while slogging through this bag of poo.  But that wouldn’t really cover all the shitasticness of this book.

The day after I started reading this book, I sent Sarah this email:

“Oh my god, Sarah.  Oh my god. 

I may have a bone fide “F” grade, old school 1992 romance.  It certainly falls into “I read this shit so you don’t have to.”  I think I’ve sprained my eyes from rolling them so hard.  I’m on chapter 2. 

OH MY GOD. “

Then later I declared I was giving this book a new title:  Love’s Passion’s Flaming Bag of Poo.

It’s so bad, you guys.  I could only read 20 pages at a time.

I can’t really say it had promise, but it involves Not The Usual Setting:  Pennsylvania Mining town, 1876, and the Molly Maguires are in full Maguire.  But the writing.  The names.  The writing.  THE TOTAL AND UTTER LACK OF RESEARCH.  THE TOTAL AND UTTER BULLSHIT THAT THIS BOOK IS FULL OF.  I’ve read better fan fiction.  DAN BROWN IS A BETTER WRITER.  This is exactly the low blow you think it is.

An example of the writing:  not a literal example (There will be a dissection of a scene that will illustrate EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM THIS BOOK HAS SAVE ONE) (WELL, TWO: The second is that someone published this schlock to begin with).  “’I am angry!’ he said, angrily.  Obviously, he was angry.” Alsobrook has never heard of “show, don’t tell.” So she tells.  And then she shows what she told.  And then she tells us what she just showed us.

It’s going to be a review full of caps.  More than usual.  I’d suggest you make a drinking game of it, but like the drinking game of “how many times does Redheadedgirl roll her eyes” or the drinking game of “take a sip (for the love of god, not a shot!) every time the word “clearly” or “obviously” is used” you might actually die.  So I am not suggesting that.  I take no responsibility nor accept any liability should you decide to play any drinking games with this book or this review.

First, we meet our heroine, who, in a departure from my preferred heroines, is NOT a redhead.  She has glorious brown hair, and gorgeous brown eyes.  One potential for a totally not recommended drinking game is to take a shot everytime someone says something about a “brown-eyed beauty.” But you’d be pretty shitfaced pretty quick.  Anyway, her name is Karissa Caine.  (Yes.  Karissa.  Yeah, I’m sure that was a totally common name in the upper echelons of society in 1876.)  (I looked it up. Karissa, with that spelling, doesn’t really show up until the mid 1960s, and peaks in popularity in 1992.) Karissa is the daughter of a Pennsylvania mining tycoon.  As the book opens, Karissa’s father is dying from brain cancer.  The author makes specific reference to the mass growing in his skull.

Okay, I admit, I am no real doctor.  However, I do have Wikipedia and my god-given good sense (and YEARS of watching ER, MASH, and Greys Anatomy.  I’m practically an intern, yo).  And I know that x-rays were just barely starting to be used as a diagnostic tool in the 1890s, but even SO, that’s not going to help diagnose a brain tumor.  So.  HOW DO THEY KNOW THERE’S A BRAIN TUMOR?  They can’t.  This isn’t even lack of research, this is lack of using your god-given common sense. This Is Beyond Potato Rage.

Karissa gets a visit from a very pretty, redheaded Irish woman who works in a tavern in one of the mining towns, and who is very pregnant.  This woman (“Jacqueline, but my friends call me Jacque”) (alf;a’o;fj’aflkjsd;flh) tells Karissa that she overheard some men planning to murder Karissa’s father because of the crappy things that are being done to the mineworkers.  Of course, the warning comes too late and Karissa’s father is shot in their backyard as Jacque is talking.  Jacque gives Karissa four men’s names—just their given names, of course—as the people planning the murder.

Karissa has her servants hustle Jacque off and at the reading of the will, her father has left a tidy sum to Jacque (who he’d been seeing (read, fucking)) for the past several years (it’s unclear if he knew that she was pregnant) and pretty much everything else, including control of the mining operations to Karissa, and a fat trust fund for Karissa’s brother (and nothing to his bratty wife, who wants to live in a style to which she would like to become accustomed, which the trust fund is not fat enough to do).

Does Karissa settle down and run the mining business?  OF COURSE NOT.  She puts everything on hold, and goes to the mining town Jacque worked in to solve her father’s murder.  She decides this is the BEST IDEA EVER because the Molly Maguires can smell a private investigator at 20 paces, and they would NEVER suspect a woman.  She’s going to be Catherine Sobey, a much more period-appropriate name. She then comes up with a bunch of faked evidence that she is who she says she is (she’s going to use her mother’s maiden name, so there’s a bible with the maiden name embossed in gilt on the cover, a locket, letters she “rubbed out the dates” on… seriously, going to all this trouble to be someone else pre-Google looks suspicious on its face).  She also hires her own private investigator so she’d have some kind of back up, which is possibly the least stupid thing she does in the entire book.

After we hear about what a PITA it is to get an investigator into the Molly Maguires, who do we meet but Shawn.  (Not Sean.  Shawn.  Never mind that that name peaked in popularity in the mid 1970s and doesn’t even show up in the Most Popular Baby Name Lists until around 1940.  But his name is Shawn.)  (af’pihef’;ma’dsfoja).  Shawn is a, yes, private investigator who has been hired by another mine owner to prove that the Maguiring the Molly Maguires Maguire in is really murder and general domestic terrorism.  He can get away with it because he’s Irish on his mother’s side, and can fake a Fresh Off the Boat accent really easily.  Also, he is handsome.  And also, as our cue that he is not a douchebag, he bathes everyday, unlike all the other schlubs in this mining town.

Of course, to complicate things, “Shawn”  was one of the names that Jacque gave Karissa.

EVEN THOUGH SHAWN AND KARISSA ARE NOT PERIOD APPROPRIATE NAMES MY GOD THIS ISN’T EVEN HARD

Karissa gets herself a job working as barmaid in the same tavern where Jacque overheard the whole murder conspiracy thing going on.  Because she is a gently-bred girl with an educated accent, she is totally and utterly surprised that men would dare manhandle her.  She also has some problems with miners following her home from the tavern and “pushing their affections” (read: attempting rape) on her.  So Shawn puts out the word that she is “his woman” and everyone else should back the fuck off.  (She, both thrilled at this, disgusted by it, and annoyed by it, makes him fake a proposal, ring and all- she may be his fake woman, but by god, she will do so RESEPCTABLY.)  People listen to Shawn because he’s a hottie and a powerful looking man and oh, yeah, he let people think that he’s in the mines because he’s on the run from the law- he supposedly killed his wife and her lover in a jealous rage.  So no one wants to mess with him.

Karissa discovers this because her PI told her, and she spends about a hundred pages going “How on earth can I be attracted to someone so murderous!  I can’t possibly break things off with him because he might kill me!  BUT HE’S SO HOT OMG” 
Karissa finds herself unable to extract any information about, well, anything from anyone because she’s really bad at extracting information.  (“So you don’t like the conditions in the mines.  Is that why you joined the Molly Maguires?”) For WEEKS she works in the tavern, makes out with Shawn (until he cops a feel and then she sends him away), asks awkward questions and NOT MUCH HAPPENS.

Shawn, of course, tells his employer that a) he had nothing to do with any murders and doesn’t think the actual Maguires have anything to do with it, either, and b) it’s possible that the Maguires have a point- things are really crappy down in the mines (though their methods could use some work).  His employer is not real thrilled with either of these reports, but has more important questions:  What the hell is Shawn doing with Karissa Caine, and why is she wearing such shitty clothes?

Then Shawn and Karissa FINALLY sit down and have a heart-to-heart where they admit their real names and who they are to each other, and FOUR HUNDRED PAGES IN FINALLY GET BUSY.  Four hundred pages.  I shit you not.  What the hell is the point of putting up with this crap if there’s no sex?

And then the plot just goes completely off the rails.  Karissa’s brother, John, is, of course, the one who orchestrated the whole murder thing.  He hired the actual murderers to go to the mining town, discuss the whole plot in front of people, use fake names in the process, and then go kill his father.  Why does he do this?  He needs the money so that his spoiled little wife doesn’t leave him.

So Shawn’s employer is a friend of the Caine family, and sees John and tells him that he just saw Karissa in the mining town, and she’s fine, because obviously John and Karissa are in on the whole thing together.  Obviously.  And John, who thought she was at a health spa or something says “….of course she is.  I knew that.”  John then goes to Karissa’s house in Pittsburgh, beats the shit out of her housekeeper to find out exactly what Karissa’s been up to, and, having completely lost his mind, storms up to the mining town to go kill her.

Karissa’s butler finds the housekeeper, and ALSO hustles up to the mining town to save Karissa’s ass.  There’s a bunch of dancing around with the butler and John asking where she is, and the butler finding out about Shawn and deciding that this guy he’s never heard of must be someone who can also help save Karissa’s ass, just as a plot development to get everyone in the same room.

Whatever.  Shawn is so distracted by Karissa being in danger that he doesn’t notice that John is in his room and has his (Shawn’s) gun.  John makes Shawn write Karissa a note saying, “please come” (heh), while the Butler goes to get Karissa and her little derringer in her handbag.  Because Karissa is a total idiot, it doesn’t occur to her to, I don’t know, MAKE SURE HER LITTLE DERRINGER IS IN HER POCKET OR AT LEAST ACCESSIBLE BEFORE GOING INTO A ROOM WITH A CRAZY ARMED MAN.  Nor does it occur to her that a handbag is not going to stop bullets and to shoot someone THROUGH THE BAG.

So there’s yelling, there’s “I’m going to kill ALL OF YOU” and finally, FINALLY Karissa shoots John and after a lot of wailing about how she murdered her brother, she and Shawn get married, make babies, make everything in the mines all hunky-dory and OSHA-approved and FINALLY this pile of crap is over with.

Before we get into the writing and how bad it is, I’m going to give a little lesson in the law.  I know that there’s a number of writers here, and this is a fact that gets a lot of people tripped up.  Consider it a gift, from me to you.

Homicide and Murder are two different, but related, things.  Homicide is the killing of another human being.  Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being.  There are justifications for homicide, the most well known being self-defense.  In the case of Karissa and her brother waving the gun around, she did commit homicide, but it was not unlawful.  Self-defense is a justification for homicide, ergo, there was no murder.  There will not be a quiz.

I’m glad we could have this talk.

Okay.  In this scene we are going to dissect (and I fully admit I am doing this because pain shared is lessened, or at least shared), Karissa has been working in the tavern and this guy, who is not a miner (too well dressed, educated accent), has been hitting on her.  She is repulsed by him.  Shawn normally walks her home after the tavern closes at midnight, but they had been fighting about something unimportant and she has declared she can walk home by herself.

First Karissa holds up her lantern to see if anyone is lurking around.  It is clear from this bit and other bits in the book that the author has no idea how a lantern really works.  She seems to think that they are like flashlights and could illuminate a wide area or at a distance.  This is not true.

Karissa has a derringer pistol that she keeps in her skirt pocket.  There is no indication that she’s ever shot a gun in her life (before she shoots her brother, and she does that with her eyes squeezed closed), but we’ll go with it.  The creepy man from the tavern shows up unexpectedly and says he will walk her home.  She says no, thank you, she prefers to walk alone.

   
“Ah, but an attractive woman like you should not be out here alone at night,” he said, in a clear attempt to be charming.  “Aren’t you afraid of what might happen to you?”

    “No.  For you see, I am armed,” she said, wanting him to know she had a means of protecting herself.  She’d had enough abusive treatment from the men of Black Wall.

The book of full of this. We don’t need to be told what Karissa’s motivations were for saying “For you see I am armed.” It’s pretty obvious from context.  Also Alsobrook has never met a participial phrase she doesn’t like.

Creepy Guy insists on taking her home, with a firm grip on her arm.  She’s getting more and more freaked out, and he’s letting his eyes roam over the curves hidden by her dress (…that sentence doesn’t even make any fucking sense) and she finally pulls the gun.  He takes it away from her, she demands it back (“so angry she literally shook”) and he does give it back to her, after removing the bullets.

    “Angrily she repocketed the pistol, aware it would be of little help to her now.”

Someone has never heard of pistol-whipping, I guess.

He then tells her that she will get the bullets back after she allows him to walk her home.  Then he tells her that he will leave her alone after she allows him to walk her home and calls him by his given name.  THEN, when she does, he says that he will go away after she has allowed him to “sample the sweetness of her lips at least once.”  (ew.)

This is classic predatory behavior.  Make a demand, and once that demand has been met, continue to make more, relying on the social conditioning of women not to unequivocally say no, so as not to seem like a frigid bitch.  And it’s possible that this scene wouldn’t have pissed me off so much if it had been written better, because it does give a clear demonstration of how this works.  I do not, however, think Alsobrook was actually doing that- she doesn’t seem to have any interest in showing why this is dangerous, just that it is.  (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear.  He talks about ways predators use this conditioning against their victims, and how to recognize it, and how to deal with it.  Good stuff.)

But then Shawn shows up.  And he’s pissed.  He and Creepy Guy get into a posturing contest.  Karissa has been told about the whole “killing his wife” thing, so she doesn’t want to make him angry.  Shawn makes a move towards the pistol HE keeps in his coat pocket.

    Karissa’s eyes widened. [Note: lots of eyes widen in this book.  Once, eyes even widen in Irish wonder.  I am not making this up.] She realized he was getting ready to pull out the pistol he always carried and wondered if he planned to shoot them both.

So she decides to try and defuse the situation, but not by telling them both to fuck off, or even to decide that the devil she knows (Shawn) is better than the devil doesn’t (Creepy Guy).  Instead she tries to calm them both down by being a fence-straddling idiot.

Just to set this passage up: Shawn has pointed out that she wears a ring her gave her- that makes Karissa his (well…).  Creepy Guy says a ring is easily removed (true).  Karissa says the ring is too small and can’t be pulled off (also true).  Creepy Guy smirks that OBVIOUSLY that means Karissa doesn’t love Shawn.  She says no, that isn’t at all what she meant.

    “Then you do love him?” Joseph asked, as if unable to believe such a thing.  “That barbarian?”

    “I didn’t say that either,” she interjected, not wanting Shawn to think that she might actually care that deeply…

    “Then which is it?” Joseph pressed; obviously [drink!] thinking her answer would be not.

    Karissa looked at Shawn, whose gaze remained dangerously grim, then lifted her chin proudly.  “How I feel about Shawn McCowan is my business and no one else’s.”  That seemed a safe enough answer.

    “And it is especially no business of yours.” Shawn put it.  His calm tone belied the fury still smoldering in his eyes.

    “Ah, but I have made it my business.” Joseph put in, clearly [drink!] not impressed with Shawn’s angry presence.

    “Please, Joseph,” Karissa pleaded.  Obviously [drink!] the man had no idea how dangerous Shawn really was, probably because he was from out of town.

Now imagine 478 pages of schlock written like that.  Do you see what I put up with for you guys?  Hillarable, I love.  WTFtastic, I can take.  Stupid characters, I will mock, but forgive.  But don’t do all that to me with bad writing.  This was PAINFUL.  I rolled my eyes at least once a page.  I once smashed my forehead on the book WHILE RIDING THE SUBWAY (people looked at me like I was crazy.  Which… yeah, okay).  I threw it across the room many times.

Finally, here is what it says in the author’s blurb on the back cover:  “Rosalyn Alsobrook…attended Kilgore College where she was features editor for the college newspaper.  She enjoys doing intricate research for the authentic details she includes in her historical romances…”

I’m just gonna leave that right there.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    She enjoys doing intricate research for the authentic details she includes in her historical romances…

    Rule of thumb – the bigger claim an author makes for research and authenticity, the more likely it is that they will name a character Shawn, or the daughter of a Japanese Shogun ‘Whitney’ (okay, this was from a fanfic I read once, but it’s the same level of WTF as ‘Karissa’.)

    My dear, I salute your dedication to the audience, but fear for your mental and physical health. At least you didn’t read it on an iPad, or you’d have a fractured skull by now.

    Didn’t your first review for this site also include a woman investigating the murder of her father? Is this a common theme in Romance? And what kind of female is not so effete that she’ll refuse to carry a pistol, but be too precious to use it sensibly? JFC.

  2. 2
    Sarah W says:

    Holy Cow.

    Four hundred pages?  Of this? 

    You are a bullet-catching heroine.

    And are those modern blue jeans he’s wearing on the cover?

  3. 3

    So now we know why the genre fell into such disrepute.
    When I first started reading the American authored historical romance, I came across a Connie Mason. Greasy looking male model on the front and all.
    It was, apparently, a Regency. But a Regency where every part of England was within a day’s easy ride of London, and where a single man known as a rake could launch a maid into society as a lady.
    Did these titles sell gangbusters? And isn’t this an example of publishers going with what sells and to hell with everything else?
    Mind you, in an age where Regency heroines can be called Kylie and virgins leap into the sack before the duke has finished asking her, we have to be a little careful to throw stones.

  4. 4
    Mamaphoenix says:

    While i think this was a great review, I’d like to see more reviews of crappy books that are out now.  The cover of this book alone would have warded me off.  Can we see reviews of book out or soon to be out now instead of over 10 years ago please?

  5. 5
    Virg G says:

    Wow, how grateful I am to have you guys put out these I-Read-This-So-You-Don’t-Have-To Reviews!

    @Sarah W: It does look like he’s wearing modern day jeans! Obviously. [drink!]

  6. 6
    ev says:

    Clearly, (drink), you deserve a medal. And obviously (drink) a vacation somewhere you won’t be exposed to really horrible writing.

    Thankfully I was drinking coffee while reading this so I won’t be drunk, I just won’t be able to sleep tonight!

  7. 7

    “Thanks for the great review!” she exclaimed, thankfully.  “Now I never ever ever have to read the book!” she concluded.

    Obviously, not that I would have.  Clearly the name Karissa brings me out in hives

  8. 8
    Melissa says:

    Hilarious! The setting is actually an interesting idea if a good author could pull it off.

    Can I make a suggestion for a future review?The craziest/funniest romance I ever tried to read was Destiny’s Splendor by Kathleen Drymon. You would have so much to make fun of – the purplest prose ever, hilarious and crazy plot devices and the old 80’s style recurring theme (this time it was that they were destined for each other because of a shooting star or something like that)..

  9. 9

    OMG this was so painful. 

    For about a week after I finished reading this thing, I would twitch violently when ever I saw the word “Obviously.”  I had PTSD from this book.

  10. 10
    Mireya says:

    I never heard about this author, so I had to look her up.  According to her website, she is also a webdesigner…. okay, open up the links:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~ralsobrook/webdsgnr.htm
    http://home.earthlink.net/~ralsobrook/

    At least there is consistency, she did web designing just like she did “intricate historical research”…

  11. 11
    lizw65 says:

    Is it just me, or does Passion’s Bold Fire sound like a spoof title?  I would have avoided this on the strength (weakness?) of the title and cover art alone but thanks for taking one for the team, so to speak.  Unfortunately, from your description PBF just comes off as mind-bogglingly dull rather than So Bad It’s Good, and non-period-appropriate names are a pet peeve of mine.  A pity, because someone with the writing chops to pull it off could do something really interesting with this setting.

  12. 12
    Jeannie says:

    CLEARLY, whoever wrote the blurb on the cover – “They could not escape their searing desires” – OBVIOUSLY did not read the book or they would’ve know they escaped them for 400+ pages.

    Way to take one for the team, readheadedgirl. I love your reviews!

  13. 13
    quichepup says:

    And are those modern blue jeans he’s wearing on the cover?

    Looks like it to me, also is that a mullet? I think it is.

    Thank you RedHeadedGirl for your sacrifice. Obviously (drink!) you are a better woman than I am. I would have given up before those 20 pages.

    I hope Ms. Alsobrook is enjoying her career as web designer. However I want to warn y’all when you click on that 2nd link be prepared for {shudder} the theme from Love Story.

  14. 14
    Brandi says:

    I’m amazed this didn’t rate a “DNF”.

    Also, it sounds like it was tedious awful as opposed to awesome, glorious fuckery like the “I’m in ur ass saving ur life” book.

  15. 15
    Babs says:

    Oh. My.

    I really don’t know what to say…

    But I have to agree with—“What the hell is the point of putting up with this crap if there’s no sex?”

  16. 16
    JamiSings says:

    Oh RedheadedGirl, if I could remember the title I’d have a book I’d be suggesting if only for the major WTF ending.

    Maybe someone here will remember it. I know it was fairly short, probably not even 200 pages.

    It centered around a woman from the north visiting with her pre-Civil War southern relatives. They had a neighbor near by who was black, but owned a plantation and slaves. (If I remember correctly his old master left him the plantation and gave him his freedom in his will.)

    Anyway, our northern gal is totally infatuated with him and starts hanging around. He ignores her most of the time. He has this one slave he bought with the intention of her being his mistress, but she won’t have anything short of marriage and is still a virgin.

    Eventually a bunch of southern men, including the heroine’s cousin, decide to teach the hero a lesson. They go the plantation when he’s not there, attack, rape the virgin, etc. She turns around and kills herself because she no longer feels worthy of her master.

    The heroine goes to visit him and he decides to rape her in revenge, however no matter how much he tortures her, he can’t get an erection. She just lays there and takes all the brutal nipple pinching and such – then informs him she’s in love with him, which instantly gives him an erection – if I remember correctly it was a kind of fade to black sex scene after that.

    Well, they carry on their secret affair for awhile. Then eventually they’re found out. I don’t want to spoil the ending but let’s just say it does not end with a HEA. In fact, it ends so blasted abruptly you’re left wondering if someone ripped out the last chapter.

    I read it once when I was young while camping. The general store had an on your honor lending library there. I never could find it a second time.

    If anyone can identify the book would you consider reviewing it, RHG?

  17. 17

    Honestly, JamiSings, no.  I finished Purity’s Passion and gave Adora a good try, and no, I’m not going to read the OG Old School from the 1970s and early 1980s with all the rape any more.  I have limits, apparently.  And that sounds like I would hate it, not just snark it.

  18. 18
    Karenmc says:

    Wonderful review, redheadedgirl. I hope you have insurance coverage for your PTSD.

    I looked at the web design site and ended up on a page of “Purrrrfect Writing Tips”. Now my brain needs to sit down and have a quiet cup of tea.

  19. 19
    butterflygrlca says:

    My questions is: How did she get a lifetime achievement award?

  20. 20

    I have no doubts in my mind that this book isn’t exactly the finest literature on the planet.

    HOWEVER. I do want to defend one thing—and that is the diagnosis of a brain tumor in 1876. In a world without X-rays, you can, in fact, diagnose brain tumors—just like you can, in fact, diagnose a heart attack without looking at an EKG. The modern method of diagnosis is not the only one.

    Back then, they would have used a symptomatic approach: that is, they’d have catalogued all the things wrong with someone and diagnosed on that basis. You can learn a huge amount from someone on the basis of the kind of headache (when it hurts, how it hurts, what time of day it hurts, ancillary symptoms that indicate loss of brain function such as partial paralysis, or blindness, and so forth).

    This book from 1896 describes how to diagnose a brain tumor. No X-ray needed. Likewise, a Maryland Medical Journal article from 1888 diagnosing brain tumor on the basis of observed symptoms. This book from 1864 talks about diagnosing brain tumors.

    Like I said, I don’t doubt this book has many problems. But having just completed a book in which a doctor in 1837 makes a diagnosis that today, you’d have to get a CAT scan to be sure of, and having spent hours and hours making sure that the described symptoms and eventual treatment of the patient matched the medical knowledge of the time, this does strike a nerve—because I can just HEAR someone saying, “You can’t diagnose XXX back then!”

    100 years ago, doctors were blind. They had no EKGs, no X-Rays, no ultrasounds. But they could listen and feel and smell. They might have had less certainty back then, but they did, in fact, diagnose.

    Like I said, don’t want to take away from any of the other rhetoric. But doctors weren’t helpless before they could see.

  21. 21
    ks says:

    Are you going to do a review for Purity?  I really, really want to read that—just to see if I remember all the awesome wtf-ery of that book 20+ years later.

  22. 22

    @ Courtney:  I did actually consider that, but there’s something she says about something (it’s actually been about a month from the point I finished reading to now) that made it clear to me that the characters knew the size, natural and color of the tumor, which was more than being able to diagnose from symptoms alone.  This is the woman who thinks that lanterns work like MagLites, after all.

    @ks:  I have it mostly written, just some more tweaking before I send it to Sarah.

  23. 23
    Carrie says:

    Redheaded girl, us fellow guest reviewers must bow before you.  Your wit, genius, and selfless dedication are amazing.  But honey, life is too short – don’t torture yourself!  There’s no shame in a DNF!  We love you!

  24. 24
    JamiSings says:

    @RHG – Can’t say I’m not disapointed. :-( But I don’t blame you. I just thought the ending was such a huge WTF we could get another super funny review out of you.

    To be fair, the only rape is that of the slave whom kills herself. Try as he might, the hero realizes he can’t rape a woman, he just can’t, and it’s when he starts sobbing because he can’t be that evil she tells him she loves him and he can get it up.

    Since you said no to the review I’ll go ahead and spoil the ending.

    So they’ve found out and the plantation comes under attack. She flees to his side and he’s shot but still alive. The book ends with her kneeling next to him and picking up the gun, vowing to stay by him even if they both die.

    And – that’s it. That’s the end! No HEA. No rescue. No escape to Canada, just her picking up a gun. I remember feeling so gyped. To this day I want to hunt the author down and make him or her write a REAL ending. I endured all that crap in the book to end on that nonsense? ARG!

    I wish I could remember the title and author so I could find out if they’re still alive and write a blog about how much I hated that ending!

  25. 25
    ka says:

    I’m confused why you continued to read this book when you knew in Chapter 2 that it was full of poo (apparently the new “it” word on the Internet).  Perhaps I could understand your dedication to a recent release, but it was published 17 years ago.  I would like to think that the romance has matured since then.

    Indeed it may be humorous to poke fun at the book’s faults,  but I feel that you wasted your time and talent. 

    It seems that the “negative reviews” are evolving into the “negative campaigns” for the upcoming election.  I want to know what a candidate can do for me rather than what he/she thinks the competition can’t do.  Likewise, I want to know a good book to read rather than one not to read (one that I probably can’t find because it is 17 years old).

    After a quick look on Amazon, Ms. Alsobrook received 5 stars for other books published before and after Passions’ Bold Fire.  I found this info from her “webpage”:

    At last count Rosalyn Alsobrook has over two million copies of her works in print and her books have been translated into seven languages and circulated in eighteen countries. She has won both reviewer awards and research awards, the most recent having been nominated for RWA’s most prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s also been selected for Who’s Who In U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1993-94, and 1995-96. She was also selected for the 1994 and 1996 and 1998 International Author’s and Writer’s Who’s Who.

    RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award – hmmm, maybe there’s something to the author other than one bad book.

  26. 26
    Karen H says:

    I was worried you’d pick on the book simply because you were applying 21st century sensibilities to a book that’s almost 20 years old.  But then I read your first example of her writing and saw there was apparently plenty else to complain about.  Excellent review and I wouldn’t have been able to finish this book (life is just too short to endure lousy writing).  Thanks for taking one for the team.

    I also looked at her website stuff and it’s pretty appalling, although the Eve Gaddy site isn’t half bad.

  27. 27
    mbg says:

    If you ever want a truly crazy book to review, see if you can get a copy of “She Crab Soup” by Dawn Langley Simmons.  It is CRAZY FUN and although not a typical romance novel, it definitely contains a lot of the tropes.  It is one of THE ODDEST books I have ever read and would be ripe for dissecting and laughing at.  I’d love to share the enjoyment with others and see what others thought.

    And, if anything, the author’s own life is as odd—or more odd than this book.  (I think Wikipedia has an entry on Dawn Langley Simmons aka Gordon Langley Hall if you’re interested.)  And his>her life is the subject of the book “Peninsula of Lies”  A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love” by Edward Ball.

  28. 28
    Rebyj says:

    Lol this review and comments is better than any book I have read since the flood in May!!

  29. 29
    Kati says:

    Thanks for taking ANOTHER ONE for the team, RHG! You are a champ!

    If you’re open to doing something more modern, can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE review Passion by Lisa Valdez? I mean, it’s almost old school in feel, and yet was written recently. Hell, I’ll even be glad to mail you a copy.

    *puppy eyes*

  30. 30

    Why did I finish it?  Because I have the worst case of Trainwreck Syndrome EVER.  I prefer finishing things than not finishing things, and by the time it was obvious (drink!) how bad it was, I still wanted to know how it was going to end and I wanted to know how bad it was going to be.

    I also knew it was going to make a good review, much as my proofers and SB Sarah were concerned for my health. 

    Now, as for is Alsobrook a bad writer? I’ve only read this book, and based completely on this book, I would say yes, she is.  If the writing had been less clunky, less obvious (drink!), then the book would be easier.  But blatantly, this writing in this book was Not Good.

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