MISTRESS OF MELLYN by Victoria Holt

PUBLISHER: Doubleday, 1960
GENRE: Fiction/Gothic Romantic Suspense
SETTING: England, 19th Century
PSEUDONMYS: link
MY GRADE: B-

FROM PUBLISHER: From the moment Martha Leigh first glimpsed the cold, brooding manse high on the fog-shrouded Cornish cliffs, she felt a chill of apprehension.

Then she met her employer, the arrogant master of Mellyn, and his spoiled, headstrong daughter, Alvean, and knew why the three governesses before her had left the eerie mansion.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Martha began to be aware of an atmosphere of menace. There had been whispers of past horrors, warnings of violence yet to come--and now there were
strange accidents. It was madness to stay on.

But Connan TreMellyn's dark charm had over-powered Martha's natural caution. Against her will she felt irresistibly drawn to the handsome, enigmatic master of Mellyn.

Now, even as she found herself being pulled deeper and deeper into a frightening web of unseen terror, she knew she could not, would not leave...



MY THOUGHTS: This story was interesting enough but the plot was very slow moving the entire way through and fairly tame. There have been a few suspicious happenings at Connan's home lately; mysterious letters, falling boulders, ect. I never once guessed who the culprit was. I don't like that the tiny bit of action this story had took place during the last thirteen pages. I didn't get a gothic feel from this story either, not once.

Every single character was underdeveloped and I didn't feel as if I'd gotten to know any of them. With Connan I'm not seeing any 'charm', dark or otherwise. He wasn't around all that much. I don't understand where his attraction and 'love' for Martha came from at all. They're hardly ever together and all of a sudden he wants to marry her. I don't know why he didn't just marry Lady Linda Treslyn since they were involved with each other.


FORCED ENTRY ADULT DVD WITH TRAILER

STUDIO: Boojum Productions/Variety Films, 1973
RUN TIME: 83 minutes
DVD RELEASE: After Hours Cinema, 2007
UPC: 612385423192
RATING: XXX
PURCHASE: link, link
CD-ROM: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Forced Entry is a 1973 pornographic film written and directed by Shaun Costello under the pseudonym Helmuth Richler. It stars Harry Reems as an unnamed and psychotic Vietnam War veteran who sexually assaults and kills random women who stop at the filling station where he works as an attendant. Called "one of the most disturbing and unpleasant porn features ever made" the film utilizes actual footage of the war, predominantly in the rape and murder sequences.


SPOILER SUMMARY: Harry's working at a gas station. He pumps gas for a woman (Jutta David, from Germany) and when she pays him in cash, he tells her he's always getting robbed and needs her to pay with a credit card. He lies and tells her that her name and address didn't show up too good on the copy so he asks her for both, writes the info down then follows her home. He's hanging around inside her apartment building, then goes out on the fire escape and spies through her window. He's got a gun stuffed in the waistband of his jeans and is holding a knife. Jutta's in the bedroom with a man (Shaun Costello). He's naked on the bed, she's naked except for underwear. She blows Shaun, then he fucks her missionary position for a long time. She gets on top and rides him for a short time then she lifts up off him and he jerks off until he cums.

Later on, Jutta's dressed, sitting on the sofa reading something. Harry unlocks the front door with his knife. He creeps up behind her, puts his hand over her mouth and threatens to 'cut her guts out' if she makes a sound. She asks him what he wants and he says, "Lady, I want you to take my prick out of my pants and suck my cock. You hear that? You hear that? You're gonna suck my cock!" She kneels in front of him and blows him. While that's going on he's having flashbacks of Vietnam (and real footage is used). He finishes himself off and wipes his dick and cum across her mouth. He tells her he didn't enjoy it at all. He slowly drags his knife across her throat, leaving a thin red line/cut and it kills her. It looks incredibly fake. He kisses her lips.

Harry's standing outside (work?) when a woman (Laura Cannon) stops in her car and asks for directions. He gives them to her and follows her on foot. She arrives at the house and he's watching her from the woods across the street and having more Vietnam flashbacks. He goes inside, up the stairs and watches her as she showers. She sees him, screams, he pushes her into the bedroom and tosses her onto the bed. He strips down and forces her to blow him while holding a gun to her head. He says to her, "You know what I'm gonna do to you once you get it up there nice and good, honey? I'm gonna stick it up your asshole, that's what I'm gonna do. You're gonna like that, aren't ya?" He lays on the bed, she's to his right laying beside him, leaning up and over him, blowing him. She gets on all fours and he rapes her anally. He repeatedly asks her if her ass is bleeding yet and says he's going to show her 'a lot of bleeding'. He pulls out and cums on her ass, visualizing dead children in Vietnam. He tells her he didn't like it and that she got his 'prick all full of shit' (not true). She rolls over on the bed until she's onto the floor. He slices her left shoulder with his knife, then stabs her through the belly button. He kisses her then lays her back on the hardwood floor.

A brunette girl, either Nina Fawcett or Ruby Runhouse, is hitchhiking. A blond driving a van pulls over and they chat. They both walk over and sit down on something. They talk about doing drugs, the blond tells her she does live sex shows for $200 a week and tries to get the other girl interested in doing them and her. They drive to the gas station where Harry works. Harry tells them they'll have to pay with a credit card and lies to get them to give their address. Like with the others, he follows them. They're at home smoking a joint on a sofa or something. He's spying through the window. They take their shirts off and go into the bedroom and get naked. One eats the other out. He comes into the room and they're not really scared because they're high. The blond tells him he's the guy from the gas station. He's getting very angry because they aren't scared and he's continuing to have flashbacks of the horrors of Vietnam and the two women he's killed recently. He keeps telling them to 'stay away' from him. He blows his brains out.


MY THOUGHTS: I've been wanting to see this for over ten years and was excited when I finally got the chance. After watching it I realized it wasn't as rough/violent as it sounded, either, in my opinion. The 'rape' and manhandling of women in R-rated films is far rougher than what's in his film. I see this more as a mainstream film with explicit sex as opposed to a xxx porn with a plot. I'm not ashamed to say I like this.

There's not too much dialogue in this and Harry has most of it. The scene at the end with the two women, they're beyond annoying and they sort of ruined the ending for me. From what I've read they weren't really actors and it seems to me they were ad-libbing most of their dialogue. They couldn't have done a worse job had they tried.

Here's a good review for it, here too.

Harry died from pancreatic cancer in March 2013.

Same review here.



http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Horror-[sl]-Thriller/Forced-Entry-DVD-(1974)-(NTSC-Region-1).html




HER LADYSHIP'S COMPANION by Evangeline Collins

PUBLISHER: Berkley Sensation, 5/2009
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England and Scotland, 1816
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: In the Scottish countryside of Selkirk, Lady Isabella Stirling resides at Bowhill Park, serving penance for a sin that nearly ruined her family. For five years she has been condemned to a loveless marriage and confined to the estate where she does little more than tend her rose garden. With her husband absent for months at a time and few visitors, Bella lives a lonely existence, denying the passions that burn within her very soul.

Then her cousin comes for a visit and makes an outrageous suggestion: what Bella needs is a lover. A hired lover. Despite her need, Bella says no. But soon Mr. Gideon Rosedale arrives-and he is at her service for two weeks. Indulging in what she intends to be a harmless flirtation, Bella is overcome by Gideon’s intoxicating presence. And when she at last permits him to satisfy her desires, she discovers she’s done the unthinkable-she’s fallen in love.


MY THOUGHTS: The story takes place in England and Scotland in 1816 and spans about ten months. The heroine is Isabella ‘Bella’ Stirling. She’s 24 and has been married to Lord Stirling, 34, for almost five years. He’s impotent and they have no relationship of any kind with each other and he’s rarely at home. He’s both physically and verbally abusive toward her. Bella is 5’8″ and has pale blond and violet eyes. She’s terribly unhappy. Her parents are dead and she’s got two brothers and two sisters who have never come to visit her.

The hero is Gideon Rosedale. He’s twenty-seven, 6’1″ and has dark brown hair and brown eyes. He’s a prostitute and has been for ten years. His mother was one and he doesn’t know who his father is. He was raised up in a brothel. Bella’s cousin, Esmé, hires him to ‘service’ Bella for two weeks. That’s how the hero and heroine meet.

Bella is so lonely and isolated. I think she became a bit obsessed with Gideon, especially after their original two week stay was over. She was so starved or affection that once she warmed up to him, she was not emotionally prepared to let him go. To me, she showed signs of being mentally unbalanced and seemed a bit immature. She also seems hypersexual. That combined with her overall emotional state made me wonder if she was bipolar. I feel she was a bit of a weak character, pretty passive with things that had nothing to do with Gideon.

Gideon seemed a little bland to me. I’d have liked to have known a bit more about his upbringing. I don’t think his character was developed quite enough. Bella’s surely wasn’t. We weren’t told a thing about her past; childhood, upbringing, nothing. I want to know why her siblings never came to visit her.

The sex scenes were very explicit but ordinary and there were plenty of them. I was a bit surprised by one scene near the end involving something the hero did to the heroine.

Overall, there wasn’t much going on in this story but sex. No real plot at all except toward the end when Bella’s husband pays her a visit. Though the heroine is married to another, she and Gideon have their happily-ever-after.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.





THE SECRET LIVES OF ADULT STARS DOCUMENTARY DVD

STUDIO: Xenon Pictures, Inc.
RELEASED: 2004/84 minutes
RATING: R
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM DVD: Thirty porn stars discuss, in their own words, life in the Adult film industry. Topics such as the toll on personal relationships, physical demands, the risks of AIDS transmission, drug use and social stigmas are addressed in disturbingly candid interviews. From new starlets to legends, male and female, this is what it's like to be an Adult Star.

You'll meet Nina Hartley, a former nurse who is a frequent speaker at many events supporting free speach and sex education, and a co-star in the film Boogie Nights; I.S. Levine, editor for Flynt Publications and co-author of the book Coming Attractions, he has written numerous articles for Details and Rolling Stone and is an on-camera consultant for E! Entertainment's Hollywood Profiles; Julia Ann, Juli Ashton, Shayla La Veaux, Brittany Andrews, Anna Malle, Kylie Ireland, Felecia, Sasha Monet, Randy West, Tony Tedeschi, Asia Carrera, Bud Lee, Caressa Savage, Chloe, Jill Kelly, Steven Hatcher, Mike Raven, Nicole Sheridan, Bella Starr, Steven St. Croix, Devon Wolf and Melanie Stone.

Here at last are the real stories of the real people wo reisk their reputations, their health- even their lives- to create America's sexual fantasies. The lives of Adult Stars are secret no more.



MY THOUGHTS: This was a decent documentary but could have been so much better. This is rated R so no penis shots or closeups of vagina's. The interviews were conducted on-set with each actor chatting about various things. I'd have preferred it if they'd been interviewed in a different setting like you'd see on biography-type shows instead of outdoors and indoors while they're killing time between scenes.

Only a couple people talked briefly about how they got into the business and that was disappointing to me. I wanted to know what lead each and every one of them to this line of work but learned nothing about it, really.

I didn't care for Brittany Andrews and found her to be a bit arrogant and foul-mouthed, like some would expect someone in her line of work to act and speak. She said male actors who have trouble maintaining an erection are 'losers' and said she felt bad for the men who had to have sex with 'ugly girls'. She seems to think she's hot shit but I don't find her face, or attitude, to be attractive at all. She said that 'fluffers' don't exist in the porn industry, you know, girls who try to keep the guys erect between takes. Total myth.

Something interesting that I'd not heard of is something called a FIP, which stands for fake internal pump. So some of the 'money shots' are faked....I guess. No one said that exactly but it lead me to believe that's what they were talking about. I can't find any info on it so if you know more about it let me know!

Asia Carrera said that some of the small-breasted women who do stripping too don't earn as much as the large-breasted women and that's why some end up getting breast implants. So I guess you gotta spend money to make money! Asia doesn't strip, I think she said she's too 'chicken' for that (go figure!) but got implants anyway....and talked about how nice they were. They do look pretty natural because they hang like real ones and aren't round and melon-like like most implants are. Jill Kelly was massaging one of hers.

Nina Hartley jokingly put her hand on some man's crotch and said that some would consider that to be rude but she thought the opposite! She was a nurses before she got into porn but unfortunately she never mentioned it.

There's a filmography for each of the actors in the bonus features and a short 2-6 minute interview with the director and producer that wasn't that good.

Overall, this was alright but not as good as I'd hoped. The description from the DVD makes it sound a bit more interesting that it is.

This came from my personal collection. Same review here. (site NSFW)





BOUND BY THE HEART by Marsha Canham

PUBLISHER: Avon, 10/1984
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: Caribbean & Barbados, 1811/12
BODICE RIPPER? Yes, very mild
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Rescued from the stormy waters of the Caribbean, Summer Cambridge, daughter of the British governor of Barbados faced a new threat aboard the American ship Chimera. Captain Morgan Wade, the notorious buccaneer, brazenly ordered the young beauty to his cabin to be held for his own pleasure!

Summer fought him with the ferocity of a wildcat, but held by his insistent passion, she was swept by waves of desire she had never known, and was powerless to resist him.

Even as she returned to Barbados and the marriage that had been arranged for her, she still trembled with memories of those days and nights of forbidden passions, and of the man whose love would forever hold her heart captive.




MY THOUGHTS: I'm reviewing the out of print paperback from 1984, not the rewritten e-book, which has the rape scene removed.

Summer is blond with gray-green eyes. Her age was never given so I'll assume she's in her early twenties. She's a typical, slightly boring heroine. Not very feisty like I prefer, especially in these older books.

The American hero, Morgan, is thirty-four years old and has long black hair and blue eyes. He buys cargo and guns legally then sells them to the French, then transports them to America. In typical bodice ripper fashion, he rapes Summer aboard his ship once or twice (page 35 of print book) and makes no apologies for it. That's pretty much where his abuse of her ends.

I liked her terrible husband Bennett Winfield. He lost interest in her right after they married. He suspected her of harboring feelings for Morgan and a secret, and forbade her ever seeing him again and threatened to ruin her and her family if she did. He's shown violence towards her too. I like him much more than I do Morgan.

The story spans about a little over a year, beginning in June 1811. This just wasn't a good story at all. It fits my criteria of a mild bodice ripper; it had the typical arrogant hero, rape, a decent amount of time apart from each other (over a year), and evil secondary characters and lots of action involving ships.

Morgan's slightly younger half brother, Stuart Roarke was just pointless in this story.

I liked the first 119 pages when Summer and her ten year old brother Michael were on Morgan's ship then island, Bounty Key, but once she returned home about a third of the way into the story, boring throughout the rest of the novel. The last fifty pages or so was nothing but one ship fighting against another and I truly forced myself to finish the book. It majority was so uninteresting to me. I really feel like this historical romance turned into purely historical fiction. The only good thing I can say about this is that I love the cover.

Same review here.





WHERE PASSION LEADS by Lisa Klepyas

PUBLISHING INFO: Onyx, 1987 (her first novel)
SETTING: England/France, 1816
HEROINE: Rosalie Belleau, 20
HERO: Randall Berkeley, 28
VIRGIN HEROINE: Yes
BODICE RIPPER? No
RAPE? Yes, once by hero

FROM PUBLISHER: Beautiful young Rosalie Belleau was swept up into an aristocratic world of luxury, license and intricate intrigue when the most notorious and handsome rake in London, Lord Randall Berkeley; abducted her in the belief that she was any man’s for the taking. Before he realized his mistake, he had branded her with his desire-and lost his heart to this girl so unlike any he had ever known. Both Rosalie, waking to womanhood, and Sir Randall, learning the power of lose, were in the dark about each other–until the flames of passion lit their way through a labyrinth of danger… to the dazzling heights of ecstasy….



SPOILER SUMMARY:

HEROINE: She's 20 year old Rosalie Belleau, born in 1796 in France. She's got long dark hair and blue eyes. She's an only child. Rosalie is personal maid to Lady Winthrop and companion to her daughter Elaine.

HERO: He's 28 year old Randall Berkeley but goes by 'Rand'. He's got "deep amber hair" and "unfashionably dark skin", hazel eyes. Has one brother named Colin. He's two years younger than Rand.

The book opens with Rosalie asking her mother Amille about her father. Amille said her father had been a confectioner who had died when Rosalie was one month old. Amille wanted to change the subject. Amille asked Rosalie what she wanted out of marriage. Rosalie wanted contentment. She said she wanted to live and had a suspicion that she'll end up a spinster.

Rand and his grandfather were discussing the family business, Berkeley Shipping. Rand said he'd take care of the problem that they were having with the business and would travel to France to take care of it. His grandfather told him that he didn't like that he was the first born, making him heir to his grandfathers fortune, since Rand's parents were dead. He then told Rand he didn't think he was deserving of the fortune and that he trusted his brother Colin more.

Rand went to the club to hang out with his friends before traveling to France the next day. While he was there, Rosalie and her mother Amille were at the theather. A candle on stage caught the curtains on fire, so everyone ran out of the place out into the street. Some man was chasing after Rosalie, grabbing at her and she scratched his face. He punched her and knocked her out cold. She fell and her face landed on Rand's foot. He'd just come out of the club with his friends. Rand picked her up and put her over his shoulder. The dock worker who'd been chasing Rosalie told Rand that she was his since he'd been chasing her so Rand paid the man for his 'trouble'. Rand took her home in his carriage.

She woke up in Rands bed with a terrible headache and called out for her mother, since she was a bit disoriented. The first thing Rand said to her was, "So they're blue", talking about her eyes. She asked him how he came to be there and he told her she was accosted the night before and that it had been impossible for him to ignore her. She said she needed to leave. He told her to sit down so they could discuss what she owed him for rescuing her. She told him she owed him nothing and he said, the hell you don't!" She got up, dressed only in her chemise, and started to get dressed. Rand told her, "I wouldn't bother with that just yet." She continued to get dressed and he told her to put the garment down. She told him he wouldn't bed her and grabbed up his razor and threatened him with it. He grabbed her wrist and put the blade up to her throat, causing her to get nicked. He put a cloth up to her neck to get up the blood and she smacked him. He kissed her and dragged her over to the bed. He took his robe off, revealing his nakedness. He spread her arms wide and she said, "Don't do this to me. You could have anyone." She told him she was a virgin and he said he didn't believe her. She said it was true and he said, "Then it seems I'm called upon to find proof of your claim." Then he raped her and found that she was indeed a virgin; he saw the blood.

She knew she couldn't return to work since she didn't come home the night before and Rand knew it too. He didn't want her to have to become a prostitute so he told her she was going with him to France for a few weeks, until he could figure out what to do with her. She told him she didn't want to have to 'submit' to him for even one night and he said he wouldn't touch her. She said she didn't know what to do and he told her to decide whether or not she was going with him or not. She decided to go with him and wrote a letter to her mother, letting her know where she was going.

They arrived in France and shared adjoining rooms. They later went to the dressmakers to have clothing made for her. They spent two weeks avoiding each other and really only saw each other at dinner. He opened up a bit about himself. He told her his mother was French and she and his father had lived together in London while he and his brother Colin had been raised by servants in another household in England. When Rand was in his early teens, his father was suffering with gout and moved in with he and his brother. His father started drinking heavily because of gout pain. To amuse himself, he'd force Rand to drink too. Rand became an alcoholic. His mother knew about it but didn't do anything to stop it. She'd grown up wealthy in France. A few years later his mother died in labor with another mans child. His grandparents made him sober up and sent him away to school. A year later his father died. Rand told Rosalie that he wanted to sell the French estates that belonged to his mother.

Rand left the room then to go do something and Rosalie broke down and cried for him and his childhood. She berated herself and asked how she could cry for him after what he'd done to her. Later she told him he didn't have any respect for her and he said he did. She was remembering a dance they'd shared recently and she realized then that she was starting to care for him, her rapist. They then went to visit his friend George Brummell, who goes by the name "the Beau", again. He recognized the pin Rosalie was wearing on a ribbon around her neck. It had the letter B on it, which she was told by her mother stood for their last name, Belleau, and said the pin had been her fathers. Beau called in his servant who then told everyone that that was the same pin Beau, who is 18 years older than Rosalie, gave to a girlfriend, Lucy Doncaster many, many years before. On a previous visit, Beau and told Rosalie that she resembled Lucy and showed her a photo of her from a locket. He told them that Lucy disappeared one day way back then and a year later, was found dead in the river, where she'd drowned herself. Rosalie's mother Amille had been Lucy's governess then. So it looks like George 'the Beau' Brummell and Lucy Doncaster may be Rosalie's parents. Lucy must have given Rosalie to Amille to raise. That would mean that soon after Rosalie's birth, Lucy drowned herself.

Rosalie is very upset by this news, so they leave to go back to the hotel. The next day Rand went to see Beau. He told Beau that because of all the debt he left behind in England, he'd better never tell anyone that Rosalie may be his daughter because she may be thrown into debtors' prison. Days later, Rand was shown a newspaper article that said it's rumored that Rosalie is the daughter of Beau. Rand became jealous at the thought of men chasing after her when they find out she's the daughter of a famous man. He got the idea then to marry her, to protect her from Beau's debt. He went home and decided not to tell Rosalie about the article. He asked her to go to Paris with him for a week because he had business to discuss. He wanted to shield her from the rumor. She agreed to go with him.

One night after arriving in Paris, she and Rand were dancing together after dinner. She thought to herself that she was in love with him. They went back to their hotel room. Her luggage had been put into the ajoining room but she didn't want to leave Rand's room, so she asked him to unlace the back of her dress. He told her she'd better go but she didn't move. She said his name and he asked her if she knew what she was doing. She said yes, so they had sex. The next night at the opera house, a woman came up to Rand and Rosalie. She told Rosalie she must be the famous Miss Belleau, then told her she'd been written about in the paper. They went home. Rosalie was mad because Rand hadn't told her about the article in the paper. She said when they got back to London, she was going to find a job and ask her mother about Beau. Rand said he couldn't let her live alone in London, then asked her to marry him. She said she didn't want to marry him or be kept by him. She loves him, though she hasn't told him yet, and thinks that one day he'll lose interest in her. He said to her, "You'll marry me if I have to tempt, bully and seduce you into it." They had sex then got into an argument over her not wanting to marry him.

Rand left the room then Rosalie got violently sick fromt he wine. She rang for a maid then passed out. The doctor was called in and Rand figured that the wine had been drugged with opium. He tried to find out who could have drugged it but came to the conclusion that it'd be impossible to figure it all because there were so many kitchen staff workers and servants. He knew that Beau had gossiped about Rosalie possibly being his daughter and that may have led to her being poisoned. He wrote to Mr. Bonchamps, inquiring about Beau's credit 'affairs'. He told the man to visit with each and every person Beau has done business with and tell them to cut off his credit. That night in the room with Rosalie, Rand saw someone unlock the door then go over to Rosalie. It was dark so Rand couldn't see who it was. Rand grabbed the man around the neck from behind and the man stabbed Rand then fled. The maid came into the room, 15 year old Mireille Germain, to tend to his wound. He told her to not mention the intruder to anyone. A few days later Rand was sitting by Rosalie's bedside while she was still unconcious. He told her she had broken him and asked her not to leave him here alone. Just then Rosalie woke up. He asked Mireille, the maid, to bring her some broth and water. Rand knew someone was out to get Rosalie, so they, along with the maid, left for his familys chateau. He told her she needed to recover in the country. He didn't tell her about the intruder.

One day, she found a drunk Rand sitting in front of a portrait of his mother. Thinking about his parents had upset him so he started drinking. He told her to get out. She told him he's not accountable for anything his parents had done. When she awoke the next day, the village bell was ringing. There was a fire in the village. Rand showed up and Rosalie begged him not to help with the fires but he went anyway. He told her to say at the house but later, he saw her helping out in the village. He asked her why she'd disobeyed him and she said, "Because I love you." Later that night in her bedroom, he told her that he loved her and asked her again to marry him. She said yes.

A letter arrived from her mother, Amille. She confirmed that Lucy and Beau were indeed her parents. Amille also told Rosalie that she should stay in Rands care as long as possible but she didn't say why. At the same time her letter was delivered, Rand got a letter from his brother notifying him of their grandfathers death. They needed to go back to England within a few days. Rand wanted the maid Mireille and her older brother Guillaume to go with them. Guillaume had showed up there one day after Mireille told him she was going with Rand and Rosalie to the chateau. Rand allowed him to say and found work for him. Before leaving for England, Rosalie, Mireille and Guillaume went to the fair. Rosalie wanted to have her fortune read so there were heading to the where the Gypsy lady was. Guillaume made up a lie about having dropped the money purse and he asked his sister to go look for it. She went to look for it and Guillaume grabbed Rosalie's wrists and tied them, gagged her and tied her legs together. He told her that the world is not good to people like her. He gave her to the Gypsy woman and she left with her. Guillaume told Mireille what he'd done, told her that someone was offering a lot of money to kidnap Rosalie and that the two of them were going to be rich. Mireille had grown close to Rosalie and shocked at what her brother had done. She told him she never wanted to see him again and walked away from him. She left a note for Rand telling him her brother is the one who stabbed him in Paris and that he's sent Rosalie to London. Mireille wasn't heard from again.

Rand returned home to England and told his brother Colin what had happened. He got Colin to go around to various clubs to see if he could find out anyhing about Rosalie. When Rand was in a club, he met Rosalie's mother, Amille. They went back to her home to talk privately. She told him that Lucy had been deeply in love with Beau but he didn't love her. She was supposed to marry the Earl of Rotherham, but she didn't want to and that he was very obsessed with her. Lucy was pregnant with Rosalie and very depressed so she and her governess Amille traveled from England to France to say with Amille's family. Lucy never told her family she was pregnant. She gave birth to Rosalie in France, then drowned herself a few months later. Amille hadn't planned to raise Rosalie but ended up doing so. She made up the story about Rosalie's father and being widowed. She told him it was probably the Earl of Rotherham that was after Rosalie, not Beau.

Back in England, Rosalie was being held in a bedroom. The Earl of Rotherham came into the room. He told her that Lucy had been his and since Rosalie is her daughter, she now belonged to him. He told her she was a whore like her mother. She hit him in the throat and ran out of the room. As she was running toward the front door, Rand, out of the blue, showed up, since Amille told him the Earl probably had her. Rotherham was watching from the top of the stairs and he challanged Rand to a saber fight, which of course, Rand won.

Last chapter begins with them taking about it being their first day was husband and wife. Rand said she has men searching all over for Guillaume. Rosalie told him she wants her maid Mireille found. That's how the book ended.
_______________

MY THOUGHTS: I thought this was a pretty good book and I never got bored with it. What I liked most about it was her 15 year old maid Mireille. Mireille is very guarded about her past. Her brother said once that their mother was a prostitute and that he and Mireille are half siblings. At the end of the book Mireille up and disappeared but guess what? She's got her own story in this books sequel, "Forever My Love". In the book she's 20 years old and uses the name Mira.




ALYX by Lolah Burford with Author Photo


PUBLISHING INFO: Signet, 1977
GENRE: Historical Fiction
SETTING: Jamaica, 1790s
HEROINE: Alyx de Vere
HERO: Simon
GRADE: A
DATES READ: 1/04, 5/04, 11/06, 10/07

FROM PUBLISHER: They were enslaved in a place where lust knew no bounds-and only love was forbidden… They were two white slaves thrown together in the darkness of the breeding hut. She, Alyx de Vere, a virginal, sixteen-year-old beauty carried off to nightmare captivity on a Caribbean sugar plantation. He, Simon, handsome, young, once heir to a noble title. He felt no desire for this anonymous woman who was forced upon him. And she knew only fearful hatred for this stranger who was about to violate her youthful innocence.

But as night after night of tremulous, fevered mating passed, something forbidden grew between these two desire-damned lovers-a rapturous passion that drove them to dare any peril to free each other from this savage world of bondage and brutal submission. And it was then that Alyx and Simon swore that no power-even death itself-would ever overcome their eternal bond of flaming, all-conquering love…



SPOILER SUMMARY: This is the story of 27 year old Simon and 16 year old Alyx de Vere, both British. Simon was sold at auction to August, owner of a plantation in Jamaica, 10 years earlier when he was 17. This story takes place in the late 1790s in Jamaica.

Here's how Simon ended up in Jamaica. Simon was in line to inherit his fathers estates and all that came along with it when his father was injured in a horseriding accident. Simon's jealous uncle Phillip came up with a horrible plan; to kidnap and ship Simon off to a place far away for life so that he would be next in line to inherit his brother's title and estate. But there was one little problem; what to do with Simon?

Simon's father was out riding one day while Simon was away at school. His father fell off the horse as went into a coma. Uncle Phillip put his plan into action. He went to see Simon at school, told him his father was hurt and his mother sent him to come get him and bring him home. Later that night, Phillip gave Simon some drugged coffee, which made Simon sick, then he passed out. He was taken to his own room to recover.

When he awoke, he was bound and gagged. Phillip was standing beside him, he removed Simon's gag and forced him to drink more drugged rum. Simon and Phillip then traveled by carriage. Phillip told him they were traveling 'towards' Simon's father's. The carriage was then attacked by men who kidnapped Simon for ransom, Phillip watching all the while.

Simon awoke on a bed, bound in a hut, being taken care of by some men for about a week. He was blindfolded one day, put into the floor of a carriage and covered by a rug, so as not to be seen by anyone. After traveling for awhile, the carriage stopped, multiple gunshots were fired and the men who helped Phillip with Simon were killed. Simon knew Phillip did it because he heard his voice. Phillip then forced Simon to swallow some kind of powder.

He was later put on a ship with other captives, they sailed to Jamaica and he was put on an auction block naked, examined by a man who ended up buying him. That man was Simon's master, August. Simon was sold under the name Aston Smith.

Simon was forced to share August's bed for five years. When Simon would resist, he'd get whipped. After five years, Simon stopped sharing August's bed but the rapes continued. Soon after Simon stopped sharing his masters bed, he became one of four *studs*. The studs were to get the female slaves, both black and white, pregnant. After they'd gotten one pregnant, they were given a one month break. Studs were treated better than other slaves.

After being a stud for five years, Alyx arrived. She was sent to Jamaica because she'd gotten caught stealing Simon's uncle Phillip's horse. One of her friends dared her to do it just for fun, so she did it then got caught. She'd been there a few months when she'd been put into the breeding hut with Simon. August put those two together until Alyx got pregnant because August wanted those two to have a son that August and his wife could raise as their own, since they couldn't have their own children.

So Simon and Alyx met in the breeding hut. That's how the book opens. They were in total darkness every time so they couldn't see each other at all. The reason for that is so that if they pass by each other, they won't recognize each other and won't know who they're pregnant by or who has fathered whos child.

Just about every night, Simon and Alyx were put in the hut together. They talked and got to know each other. Alyx told Simon how she came to be there and Simon told her his story.

Alyx knew she was pregnant and even threw up once while they were together. She hid the dirty sheet under the bed because she knew if anyone knew she was pregnant, she wouldn't see Simon again. After a short time, it was discovered that she was pregnant so she didn't see Simon for a long time. Though they didn't know what the other looked like, since they'd only been together in total darkness, Alyx recognized Simon one day while they were working. Alyx dropped her bucket of water, Simon looked at her but continued on, she whispered his name and in that moment he knew she was Alyx, since she's the only one who knows his real name. They talked, he felt her stomach and saw that she was pregnant. They made plans to meet by the fountain later, they met and had sex and were caught by August's wife. She wanted to have him castrated, whipped and hung. After he was whipped and was about to be hanged, August arrived and saved Simon.

They made plans to escape the plantation together. They met, Simon has his master's keys, they met the priest who married them, then as they were boarding a ship that Simon had arranged for earlier. As they were boarding it, gunshots rang out and August and his men shot the captain and another man, and made Alyx and Simon return home. Simon was whipped 200 times.

He was then put to work in a field with a man who'd had his tongue cut out. He was also raped by the man from time to time. He then became 'stud' to Alyx again. They were told not to talk to each other, so they didn't. Then he didn't see her again for three years. One day someone came to the hut Simon lived in and told him his master wanted to see him. When he got there, August told him he'd checked out his story about being an earl and that Simon had been telling the truth. He tore up Simon's 'paper of purchase', introduced him to his son and daugher, then Alyx and allowed them both to sail home to England. They were finally free; Simon, after 13 years, Alyx, after 3.

When Simon arrived at his mother's home after a few months of sailing, she was surprised to see him but didn't seem happy. He told her that Phillip had abducted him but she didn't belive him. All of them then traveled to see Phillip, who was very sick and in bed. He told Phillip that he and his family was going to have to find some place to live, since they were living in Simon's house. Neither one mentioned the kidnapping.

On the way home, a rider came up to the carriage and told Simon that his uncle wanted to see him. Simon returned alone to the house. When Simon went into the bedroom, Phillip asked Simon if he knew what Phillip had done to him and Simon said yes. Phillip said that he wasn't sorry for what he'd done and that he'd do it all over again if he could.

Simon wrote up a statement saying that Phillip was retracting his statement about Alyx stealing his horse then got Phillip to sign it. He was going to use that to have the charges against Alyx dropped. Next, he asked Phillip if he ever wondered about him or regretted what he'd done and Phillip said 'no'. Simon went home, told Alyx she could leave him if she wanted, since they hadn't been getting along much during the whole voyage back home to England. She said she wanted to stay with him; that's how the book ended.


MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely love this book. It's a top favorite of mine. It's not really romance, though some will disagree. What I find very interesting is the author's note at the end of the book about who the character Simon was based on. It says, "In the eighteenth century, the Sixth Earl of Anglesey (uncle Phillip) "is notorious as having procured the kidnapping and bondage in America of his nephew, James Annesley, rightful Lord Altham".

Alyx's character was based on was a 14 year old girl who stole a horse and was 'condemned to transportation' to Australia and ended up married to the ships captain.

If you want to read more about the real Simon, click here.

I read somewhere on the internet years ago (in an obit that I can't find) that Lolah died in 2002. Below is an image from her, taken from the back of the hardcover edition of her book Vice Avenged (see my review). Image came from the internet.



VICE AVENGED by Lolah Burford With Author Image

vice avenged paperback USPUBLISHING INFO: MacMillan, 1971, hardcover
Fawcett Paperback, 1972, pictured here
GENRE: Historical Fiction
AUTHOR'S BOOKLIST: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: In 18th-century England young men gathered in private clubs to devise mischievous and exciting schemes to while away their idle hours. So it was with Bysshe, the young Marquis of Gore and his friends. They were bored, very bored. What they wanted was a delicious new game--a shocking, sensational, dangerously different was to spice up their long days. And together they thought up an ingenious idea. One of them would ravish a virgin of good family, an innocent maiden to be chosen by lot. Only a game, they said. And so it was until the plan backfired. Suddenly the game had become a sadistic round of violence and vengeance.


This is the authors first book and is dedicated to author GEORGETTE HEYER. I love how in the 'author's note' before the story begins the author herself says, "Here is an eighteenth-century fairy tale, frankly unserious, frankly unrealistic, for a realistic, serious Age." Love it!

SPOILER SUMMARY: This is a bizarre tale, only 224 pages long but what a tale it is! It takes place in England in the 1700s but no specific year is given. Bysshe, Marquis of Gore, is somewhere around 26 years old. He and three of his friends are bored, bored, bored one night while sitting around in a gaming 'hell'. Viscount Lisle says to them that he'd like to do something that there's "some risk to", and something that ladies wouldn't care to wisper about in their salons. Then he said that he thinks they should 'seduce the quality', an unmarried girl.Each of the four men drew names. Byshee drew the name Cressida "Cressy" Daviot, twenty-two, someone he knew. The next night, May 1st, after leaving his parents home, he went to her home, guessed at which window was hers, climbed up a rope ladder he'd brought, climbed into her room and put a mask on.He went over to her bed, tied a cloth over her mouth and tied her hands and legs together, threatened to hit her with his fist if she made a sound, carried her over his shoulder and out the window, taking the ladder with him to his carriage. They traveled to nearby hills, layed her down on bearskin rugs and said this horrible thing to her:

"You will wonder why I have brought you here", he said in a level voice, "and I will tell you. I intend to rape you. You are miles alway from any house, or any road, or anyone who could hear you, scream you never so loud or long. Do you understand me? There is no one, absolutely no one who can hear you who will come to your aid- and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can prevent my doing to you exactly what I fully mean to do. I have brought you here to do it, and never doubt I shall. Put all hopes of that aside."

He took her back home, changed her nightgown, kept the dirty one and cut off a lock of her hair (like a serial killer would do) as proof of what he'd done. Charles, one of Byshee's friends recognized the nightgown (yeah, right!) as belonging to his cousin, who's several times removed from the family. Charles felt bad about what happened so he sent a note to Cressy's father informing him of what happened.

Her father read the note the next day and told her twin brothers about what happened. They came up with a plan.... Cressy's father invited Byshee to a party at their home and had someone bring him into another room. Her father and brothers were waiting with weapons when Byshee came into the room. They gagged him and her father told him they knew what happened, didn't say how they knew, and that he was making Byshee marry her. (WTF?! Who want's their daughter to marry a rapist, I ask you?) Byshee refused then agreed after being threatened with a beating. Byshee was still denying he'd raped her so he wouldn't sign a paper saying he'd done it, but he did sign some other legal papers.

They brought Cressy in to see Byshee, she didn't recognize him, they told her he wanted to marry her but she refused and left the room. Her father told her who Byshee was and what he'd done and that he's making her marry him. Byshee is being held captive there and beaten every day until he signs the paper saying he raped her. But Cressy doesn't know a thing about the beatings. Byshee breaks down one day, tells her he's being held against his will and that they should marry right away. The entire family travel to France. (Why?)

After the wedding, the two of them traveled to Italy, where they spent three months. When they finally got back home, Byshee started using opium, which was 'fashionable' at the time.

One day at the club, Byshee confronted Charles and told him he knew he'd told Cressy's father about what he'd done. Charles denied it, called Byshee a liar, so they dueled and Charles got shot in the chest by Byshee but survived. Charles then told Byshee that Cressy was his cousin and that's why he'd told on him. Charles is about 20 years old.

Cressy's brothers and father kidnapped Byshee, put him on Cressy's brother Kit's yacht and spent six hours traveling to France. Once there, they locked him in a room with a window, chair and table. He cried. He was kept there about a week then was moved to a large one room apartment and was held prisioner there for months. The money for the apartment ran out, he was moved to a small room again and was kept there until about eight months later when he was set free.

He wandered around, came to a home, asked the people if he could bathe and shave and ended up staying there, helping to work the land. About seven months later, he sent Cressy a letter asking her to send his valet to him. Cressy and Byshee's father traveled with the valet to France. He did not tell her that he was there because her father kidnapped him. Cressy just thought he left of his own free will TWO YEARS before.

They left to go back to England. Byshee still didn't tell her about her father kidnapping him. Byshee finally confessed to Cressy that he was the one who raped her, and that it had been part of a bet, "a vile, foolish, brutal, stupid bet. But how I won!" During his two year absence, Cressy gave birth to a baby boy.

And they all lived happily ever after!

I read somewhere on the internet years ago (in an obit that I can't find) that Lolah died in 2002. Below is an image of her, taken from the back of the hardcover edition of her book Vice Avenged.





MURDER MOST MALICIOUS by Alyssa Maxwell

murderPUBLISHER: Kensington, 12/2015
GENRE: Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, December 1918
SERIES: A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery, #1
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B-

FROM PUBLISHER: December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia's engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.

But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady's maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.

As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case--before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them. . .


MY THOUGHTS: This sounded very interesting and indeed parts were, like the foul 'gift' included in several gift boxes for several of the employees of Foxwood Hall. The whole story was very ordinary, slow-paced, and not a whole lot went on. It certainly isn't action-packed. This was a very mild mystery that seemed like it was for young adults.

There were entirely too many characters to keep track of and I have about 1 1/2 pages of names written down in my notes so I could keep up with everyone...and still had trouble remembering who's who. I think some of them were added just to help fill pages.

There's no depth to the story or characters. I like Eva a lot and would have liked to have gotten some background information on her. Julia, Phoebe's older sister, is very unfriendly, even to Phoebe, and I didn't get to find out why, or much else about her.

I'm not happy with who the culprit was, his reasons for doing what he did and passing out the 'gifts' he did though I loved what the author chose for him to do. Not original but imaginative. I'm sick and tired of authors' having the culprit confess to at least one person, usually his next potential victim, right at the end of the story, then he/they're captured and the story is wrapped up with a pretty bow. That doesn't happen in real life.

Though my review is mostly critical I still enjoyed the story. It was slightly boring because of the pace and I did wish it would move along faster throughout most of it but it still held my interest. I liked both lead characters, Phoebe and Eva. Not quite thirty pages into the story is when the mystery began, and for that I'm happy. I'm impatient so I appreciated not having to get halfway through the story before anything big happened.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


MIDNIGHT WALTZ by Jennifer Blake

PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 8/2011
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: 1984
SETTING: Louisiana, 1856
HEROINE: Amalie Declouet, 24
HERO: Robert Farnum, 31ish
BODICE RIPPER? Maybe
RAPE? Yes
GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: In the aristocratic world of the magnificent plantations of nineteenth-century Louisana, yound Amalie knows how to behave as the new mistress at Belle Grove, but her arranged marriage to Julien Declouet is full of surprises.

Amalie finds her husband perfectly polite, although oddly aloof, by day, but a completely different man when he visits her in her chambers at night, full of white-hot emotions and passion that sweeps her away. As the steamy Louisiana summer swelters onward, and the mystery of her husband's dual personalities intensifies, Amalie finds herself engulfefd in an emotional storm that threatens to wreak destruction on them all...


MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this story. It was definitely different than the rest. Julien and Amalie have a dysfunctional marriage when it comes to sex and we can figure out why. Julien and his cousin Robert, whom I really like, are good friends and Robert is clearly jealous, and envious, of him. They work together, along with Julien's mother, who isn't the sweet old lady she's made out to be, and come up with a terrible plan to fool Amalie. And it works and goes undiscovered...for a time. That's when the unusual plotline comes into play and I enjoyed it. In fact, I've had to seek out more like it.

It was a bit slow moving throughout and there was a lack of background information on the lead characters, which disappointed me. That's why I didn't give it an A+. I was also interested in the murder mystery involving an important character and was surprised to find who was behind it.

Jennifer's complete booklist can be found on her website.

Other books with same theme:

Annalise by Libby Sydes
Arrow to the Heart by Jennifer Blake
Autumn Rain by Anita Mills
Blackheart by Tamara Leigh
Cat Lady by Joan Overfield
Deceptive Heart by Maureen Kurr
In the Garden of Temptation by Cynthia Wicklund (ebook only)
Kissed by Shadows by Jane Feather
Lark by Norah Hess (contemp. romance)
Midnight Waltz by Jennifer Blake- does without her knowledge
One Wicked Night by Shelley Bradley
Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley
The Crystal Heart by Katherine Deauxville
The Fulfillment by LaVyrle Spencer
Waking Up With a Duke by Lorraine Heath
Wicked Little Game by Christine Wells

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.