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.



No comments: