Skeptic scale: ♥♥*
Just some good old 17th century rough lovin'
*I'm giving this 2 hearts but I want to say that reading it was the most fun I've had in ages. Read on to see why.
Let me begin by recalling that this book is a classic. Everyone who calls herself a serious reader of romance has read this one. Multiple times. I believe I read a heavily dog-eared copy that I was sheepishly lent by one of the more studious girls at boarding school. We knew we should be embarrassed by our shared love for this tripe, and we were. But that never stopped us from passing this around like little under-the-bridge drug dealers. I must have read it maybe every year all through high school.
Ok enough of the reminiscing...
The plot is something like a weird game of thrones-y/middle kingdom amalgam - where men squabble over fiefdoms and act like barbarians. Women are of the heaving-bosom variety, and are little more than chattels and whores there to service their lords and masters.
The "twist" here is that because of an unlucky coincidence, the H is captured and imprisoned by the h's evil step brother so that the h can "mate" with the prisoner in order to have a blond haired baby (to fake the kingdom into thinking that she managed to procreate with her old, ugly husband before he croaks, thereby securing the rights to his army and land). So it all begins with an extremely ridiculous rape scene over 3 days where the H is chained down and she climbs on top and does the deed. And of course he's such a stallion, even in chains and gagged, he responds admirably and with er, turgid aplomb.
Well. After a series of twists and turns, the H escapes and turns around and captures her and her deceased husband's castle. He then returns the favor by making her his slave and essentially raping her as payback.
Of course, MAGICALLY, amidst all the raping and hate, they manage to fall in love, have a baby and defeat a common enemy. The end.
I remember being fascinated the first time I read this. I guess it was the raunchiest thing I had ever read at that point. It was all so surreal (and I, so young and stupid.) I was definitely carried away and didn't want to laugh the whole time I read it. I cannot say the same thing about my views this time round. But hey, I thank JL for giving me some good times back when there was no internet and we got our jollies by slipping each other crack like this to get through the evenings - it is for this sense of nostalgia alone that I elevate this from 1 to a 2 hearts.