Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: She Helps Him Overcome Substance Abuse

This HaBO comes from Beth, who is looking for a historical romance:

I read this historical romance maybe 5 years ago – not sure when it was published, but it’s not in the old ‘bodice-ripping’ style so probably less than 15 years old.

The heroine was strong-willed and married a man who was an alcoholic who didn’t really care about living anymore. They go to his home in the country and put it back in order and he stops drinking and becomes the man he should be. Definitely a HEA. I really like the heroine and the way she handled the hero.

Does this ring any bells with anyone? Thank you!

This sounds super interesting, as I personally haven’t read an historicals that handle alcoholism.


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  1. 1
    Sue says:

    The Devil is a Marquess by Elisa Braden?

  2. 2
    Moriah says:

    Might be The Rake by Mary Jo Putney. Very realistic look at alcoholism.

  3. 3
    Stefka says:

    Two possibilities come to mind. More recent is The Devil is a Marquess, by Elisa Braden. An older classic (but not really old school, and the plot might not fit) is The Rake, by Mary Jo Putney.

  4. 4
    Stefka says:

    LOL, I should have refreshed before submitting!

  5. 5

    THE RAKE (Original title: The Rake and the Reformer) by Mary Jo Putney is an excellent historical about alcoholism, but this doesn’t sound like that book. Megan Chance’s historical A CANDLE IN THE DARK has an alcoholic doctor as the hero. It’s very dark and more of a HFN than HEA ending.

  6. 6
    AKD says:

    Reminds me of Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas. Hero is in love with someone else and unexpectedly inherits a title encumbered with a huge debt and inherits an engagement to a rich heiress as well. Heroine falls in love at first sight, but hero resents the marriage. Hero starts drinking heavily after the marriage. He quits drinking after he and the heroine come to an understanding, and they develop a great friendship as they restore his inherited estate.

  7. 7
    Gill says:

    Reminds me of a Jane Feather book. Maybe Vixen? Haven’t read her for years, but I have a recollection of the hero locking himself in a room, for 3(?) days to go cold turkey.

  8. 8
    GraceElizabeth says:

    Finally a HABO I think I know, and everyone’s too speedy! I just reread THE DEVIL IS A MARQUESS last week and it fits everything here – they go to his estate in the country, he’s a mess but there are no consent issues – but could likely be a couple of HRs.

  9. 9
    Melanie says:

    The Rake is a Kindle Daily Deal on sale for $1.99 today, if Beth or anyone else wants to give it a try.

  10. 10
    Emily A says:

    Maybe it’s The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James.

  11. 11
    PamG says:

    Could it be Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly?

  12. 12

    It’s not Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly because she doesn’t take him out of London. There’s no country estate (but it’s still an excellent book.)

  13. 13
    Carol S says:

    Sigh. Child of alcoholic dad here, having problems with the notion that what the heroine does or how she acts can “fix” addiction.

  14. 14
    Francesca says:

    What about In for a Penny by Rose Lerner? He’s not an alcoholic – mostly just a party boy. They marry and go to his estate, which is a real mess.

  15. 15
    Michelle says:

    @ Carol S

    My first thought too.

  16. 16

    That’s the nice thing about THE RAKE. He finally acknowledged he had an addiction to alcohol and always would. It’s partly based on writing by an early American doctor who knew some people couldn’t drink without issues and needed to be treated as if they were ill. It’s very well done.

  17. 17

    Benjamin Rush! That was the American physician to be one of the original proponents of the disease theory of alcoholism. Dang, I’m
    Impressed with myself for remembering that!

  18. 18
    Liz says:

    I remember Devil is a Marquess, and it seems like it matches, and also has a HAE if that matters. The Rogue has been added to my TBR list!

  19. 19
    Liz says:

    *The Rake has been added. Damn fast fingers.

  20. 20
    Lisa Lovelace says:

    The Rake by Mary Jo Putney. Hero is an alcohol. Heroine is his estate manager.

  21. 21
    Patty says:

    There’s an alcoholic Duke in Carla Kelly’s “Libby’s London Merchant.”

  22. 22
    Ms. M says:

    I also thought of Taming of the Duke, but I don’t think they were married when he got sober. (FWIW, I also wasn’t a fan of the hero’s cold turkey recovery from alcoholism– I remember it got praise at the time, but it sounded very unrealistic)

  23. 23
    Diane says:

    I’ll second (third? fourth?) Mary Jo Putney’s The Rake.

    It doesn’t quite fit the HaBO synopsis but it’s excellent (as is it’s short story followup about the jilted fiancé called Sunshine in Winter). The Rake is the 2nd in the series… but horrible that I don’t remember the first… Diabolical Baron? Maybe?

    Alys ran away from her engagement (when she overhears him telling a friend he’s only marrying her for the money) and became an estate manager to an absentee landlord (ah, the glories of using only initials) until the estate is returned to Reggie (the rake) who has no where else to go and is surprised to discover a female estate manager… with three dependents. Then someone wants to kill Alys and someone else wants to marry one of the dependents but his father won’t let him marry the daughter of some disreputable woman… really, lots going on in the story but it all flows so lovely. They don’t get married until towards the end (rather than at the beginning).

    So, probably not the book you’re looking for but definitely suggested reading.

  24. 24
    Diane says:

    Also, Reggie is not magically cured (yeah, I hate those too) or even really ‘cured’ of his alcoholism.

  25. 25
    NGG says:

    This is ringing such a bell. Is there a scene where the FMC tracks the MMC down at a cabin where he’s holed up, stinking drunk? He had a bunch of bottles of alcohol delivered from town and she tosses it all out?

  26. 26
    Hannah Bloom says:

    Do you know where I can find the “Sunshine in Winter” follow up story? Is it in an anthology?

  27. 27
    lils says:

    Is it in this book? Christmas Revels: A Christmas Novella Collection (Holiday Hearts Book 1)

    Sunshine for Christmas follows a lonely young aristocrat to Italy for the holidays, where he finds something even more precious than sunshine. (The hero, Lord Randolph Lennox, was a secondary character in my RITA winning novel, The Rake.)


  28. 28
    PamG says:

    Carla Kelly’s Libby’s London Merchant does have an alcoholic character, but he is the 3rd angle in a triangle. His story continues in One Good Turn, in which he is a recovering alcoholic. One Good Turn immediately came to mind when I read this HABO; however, Benedict meets the heroine after he’s started on the road to recovery. So, no miracle cures in sight. It’s actually a really good book. I enjoy Kelly’s less than perfect heroes better than the current crop of perfect bods and mad skills. I will say that if you look these two book up on Amazon, the reading order is reversed.

  29. 29
    BethSmash says:

    I also think it’s Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas. I just re-read it, and it works with a lot of the HABO request. Also, if you haven’t read it, you should just read it. SO GOOD.

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