VIOLET FIRE by Brenda Joyce

PUBLISHER: Avon, 5/1989
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: Mississippi, USA 1875
SERIES: Bragg Saga, #3
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Impassioned suffragette Grace O'Rourke made a startling first impression on golden-boy Rathe Bragg when she crashed a society party wielding a six-shooter and spouting feminist slogans from atop the grand piano. And from that moment the sparks between them never stopped flying.

Soon, the irrepressible Grace had outraged the entire town of Natchez with her radical ideas -- infuriating Rathe most of all. Yet he was obsessed with taming the vibrant, stubborn, passionate lass ... and making her his mistress. But despite her shocking attraction to the virile rogue, Grace firmly rejected his scandalous proposition. And for Rathe, of course, "no" was the ultimate challenge!



MY THOUGHTS: This book is about one of Derek and Miranda Bragg's son, Rathe and takes place in 1875. He's about 30 with blue eyes and golden hair. He's from Texas but lives in Mississippi. The heroine is 27 year old Grace O'Rourke. She has red hair and violet eyes. She's tall and thin. She's from New York but has travelled to Nachez, Mississippi because she's gotten a job as a governess to Louisa Barclay's two little daughters.

Grace is a school teacher and a women's rights activist. She meets Rathe briefly in the prologue, which takes place in New York. She meets him again two years later, in chapter one, because he's Louisa's lover, and he's there visiting her at her plantation home when Grace arrives to begin her job.

Rathe is attracted to Grace right away and soon recognizes her as the woman from New York two years before. Rathe and Grace don't get along at all. He gives Grace a ride home one night and Louisa gets very jealous and fires Grace. Grace is on her way to visit her friend Allen Kennedy and runs into Rathe again. He overhears Grace telling Allen that she's almost out of money. Rathe then decides to make her his paid mistress.

The rest of the book is just plain boring. Grace is desperate for money and finally gives in and becomes his mistress. They love each other, he wants to marry her but she'd rather be his mistress because that way, she's still her own woman and can do as she pleases without having to answer to a husband. She wants to continue trying to teach school to young black children even though some people, including the sheriff, are trying to run her out of town. She leaves Rathe, with the help of his ex mistress Louisa. The sheriff rips her necklace off of her when he see's her at Louisa's. Later, the new church is burned down and there is a burned body there wearing her necklace. Rathe assumes that the dead body is Grace and is upset, obviously. He travels home to Texas to visit his parents and sister Storm and her family. While they're all out somewhere, he see's Grace. He rushes over to her and they decide right there to get married.

In the epilogue, it's over four years later and they have a four year old daughter named Lucy. She has her own book, one of my top favorites, The Fires of Paradise.

I've read this book at least three times since I first bought it in 1995. I didn't like it too much the first time and I still don't like it at all.

The Bragg series is to be read in this order:

Innocent Fire- This is the story of Nick's parents.
Firestorm- The story of Nick's sister Storm.
Violet Fire- Story of Nick's brother Rathe.
Dark Fires- Nicholas Bragg.
The Darkest Heart- The story of Shoz's (from The Fires of Paradise) parents.
The Fires of Paradise- Nick's brother Rathe's daughter Lucy's story.
Scandalous Love- Nick's oldest daughter Nicole's story.
Secrets- Nick's youngest daugher Regina's story. Her husbands name is Slade Delanza.
After Innocence- The story of Slade's youngest brother Edward and his wife Sophie.


DARK FIRES by Brenda Joyce

PUBLISHER: Dell, 6/1991
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England/New York, USA
SERIES: Bragg Saga, #4
PURCHASE:
link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: "He murdered his wife," they whispered. Nicholas Bragg, Earl of Dragmore, was notorious--even after a British court found him innocent. Now they called him Lord of Darkness, as much for his rakish good looks as for his black reputation.

She was an innocent at passion's gate. Arriving uninvited at the massive stone manor, she shivered with terror--and excitement. Jane Barclay was his ward. Her sunny, innocent nature was in violent contrast to his hot temper. He was wild, explosive, an uncouth Texas rakehell--exactly the wrong kind of man for an English beauty to tame.

Together they would be swept into the dark storm of their passionate destiny...and wild, all-consuming love.




SUMMARY: The hero is Nicholas Bragg, 33, from Texas but living in England for 10 years. He has silver eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. His wife died in a house fire and Nick was accused of setting the fire but was later aquited. Everyone still thinks he did it and therefore has no friends but one. He has a five year old son.

His ward is seventeen year old Jane Barclay, platinum blonde hair, blue eyes. Nick is widowed and Jane, his dead wife's cousin, comes to live with him when her guardian can't afford her anymore. Jane's parents both died years before. Her mother was a famous actress and Jane has done some acting too.

Nick doesn't want her to stay there so he's pretty rude to her. He's also very attracted to her but doesn't act on it because Jane is so young, just seventeen. Nick is also very jealous of her and his best friend Jon Lindley. They get along great and flirt with each other.

Jane ends up falling in love with him and climbs into bed with him one night. While he's asleep, they have sex. He wakes up to find her in his bed and he is furious! Later she tells him she loves him. He tells her she doesn't know what love is, they get into an argument and she flees to London, pregnant, to stay with an old male friend of hers. She leaves a letter telling Nick where she's going but he doesn't contact her nor does she tell him she's pregnant. Nick sends her male friend money to help support Jane but the man never tells Jane this.

Nick, somehow, finds out that Jane has a baby, Nicole, and is told that she is his. The rest of the novel is pretty boring. Jane and Nick end up back together and get married. He tells her that he is the product of rape. His French mother was kidnapped and raped by an Indian, resulting in a pregnancy.

Out of nowhere, Nick's dead wife shows up. She tells him she's the one who started the fire. She and her lover fled to America, where she's been living. She's only returned because she's grown bored with the man and has run out of money. So she thinks she can return home, tell everyone she'd forgotten her memory, and continue on as if nothing ever happened.

Jane assumes Nick is going to stay with his wife so she and their friend Jon travel to New York to visit with Nick's younger brother Rathe. Nick doesn't know where she's gone. Rathe's story is in the book 'Violet Fire.' Rathe and his wife Grace think that Jane and Jon are lovers but Jane confides in Grace that she is in love, and has a child and one on the way, with her brother-in-law Nick. Rathe tells Nick that Jane is there so he travels to New York from England. Jane tells Nick that she will be his mistress but he tells her that he's in the process of divorcing his wife. So that's what happens. They then travel to Texas to visit his parents, whom Nick hasn't seen since he moved to England ten years before.

And they live happily ever after!
__

MY THOUGHTS: I've read this book twice now and I still don't like it very much. I think Jane is very weak and uninteresting. There's no fire in her. Nick is very, very angry and violent. He cusses all the time and is a big fan of the F-word. He's very jealous. Right before he came to England ten years before, he found out that the man he thought was his father, Derek, wasn't, and that his mom was raped and the rapest is his father. So he's really angry that the truth was kept from him. He was in love with his first wife but she hated him. Then when she found out that he was part American Indian, she really hated him and their son, Chad. Though there is no violence toward the heroine, I consider this book to be a bodice ripper because of the way the hero acts.

This is the order of the Bragg series:

Innocent Fire- This is the story of Nick's parents.
Firestorm- The story of Nick's sister Storm.
Violet Fire- Story of Nick's brother Rathe.
Dark Fires- Nicholas Bragg.
The Darkest Heart- The story of Shoz's (from The Fires of Paradise) parents.
The Fires of Paradise- Nick's brother Rathe's daughter Lucy's story.
Scandalous Love- Nick's oldest daughter Nicole's story.
Secrets- Nick's youngest daugher Regina's story. Her husbands name is Slade Delanza.
After Innocence- The story of Slade's youngest brother Edward and his wife Sophie.


TENDER TORMENT by Jane Archer

PUBLISHING INFO: Pinnacle, May 1978
SETTING: America
GENRE: Historical Romance
BODICE RIPPER? Yes!
MY GRADE: C

From Publisher:  INNOCENCE DESTROYED ... SLEEPING PASSIONS AWAKENED, STIRRED, SET ABLAZE ... IN A MAJESTIC TALE OF ROMANTIC ADVENTURE!

ALEXANDRA, a woman no man could tame; a woman who used what she had to get what she wanted.


Ravaged brutally by a man determined to claim her and her fortune as his own, Alexandra Clarke flees the safety of her home, embarking on a journey that will see her tossed upon the turbulent seas of disgrace and shame -- and treachery.

From the luxury of a New York townhouse to the lush shores of the Caribbean; from the rot and decay of a dying Southern plantation to the arid expanse of Texas, Alexandra recklessly pushes on, ever seeking escape. But there is one man from whom there is no escape. Jake Jarmon -- a man bold in his hunger for her, unrelenting in his quest to control. Jake Jarmon -- only he can satisfy the fiery demands of her body; only he can hurt her with the cold rage of his temper.

Theirs is a proud battle of the wills as they struggle viciously to deny their love; a love that burns with the hot flame of desire; a love that soars with the rapture of their need.


MY THOUGHTS: This was awful. Here's the bodice ripper parts, in a nutshell:

The heroine is 20 year old Alexandra. She has red-gold hair and green eyes. She was punched in the face and raped by a man who wanted to marry her, raped again on the ship, almost gang raped and jumped overboard to escape, raped yet again by three sailors, raped by the bouncer at the saloon, was drugged (by the female saloon owner and ex lover of the hero) and raped again by the heroes brother (hero just happened to witness the sex but didn't know she was being raped; thought it was consentual), raped several times by the hero (but always ended up liking it in the end), almost raped by his halfbrother(?).

Even though I didn't like this, I do want to read another by this author.


A ROSE AT MIDNIGHT by Anne Stuart

PUBLISHER: Avon, 2/1993
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England/France, 1803
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: F

FROM PUBLISHER: Once a daughter of the aristocracy, lovely Ghislaine "Gilly" de Lorgny lives for the destruction of Nicholas Blackthorne—the notorious rake she holds responsible for the cruel loss of her virtue, family and fortune. Now that the rogue has reentered her life, she seizes the opportunity to enact a poisonous revenge—but is abducted by the dashing villain before the deed can be done.

Held prisoner in a secluded hunting lodge, she steels herself to resist the sensuous punishment her captor has promised—only to be betrayed by a heart that aches with desire for the handsome, tormented blackguard. For only in her enemy's arms will Gilly know the exquisite passion that can heal all wounds...and the rapture of a love powerful enough to restore a fallen woman's honor and a scoundrel's nobility.




SPOILER SUMMARY: This is about Ghislaine 'Gilly' de Lorgny, 28-ish, French, brown hair, brown eyes and fair skin. The hero is Nicholas Blackthorne, 35, dark hair, blue eyes, English. Gilly is working as the cook for Nicholas' cousin Ellen, who lives at Nicholas's home. Nicholas discovers Gilly working there. They'd known each other thirteen years before. Ghislaine wants to murder Nicholas because she feels he's responsible for her parents deaths by hanging. So when he arrives, she poisons his food and he becomes violently sick for three days. Nicholas's valet Taverner 'Tavvy' tells him he thinks Ghislaine poisoned him but Nicholas doesn't believe him. So days later when he's well, Ghislaine poisons his rum and his milk. She delivers his food to him and he eats it right in front of him. When he says he's going to give the milk, which he thinks may be poisoned, to her dog, she tells him not to. He then asks her why she's trying to kill him and she tells him it's because he killed her parents.

Nicholas comes up with a stupid plan to kidnap her and take her to Scotland. Nicholas recently wounded someone in a duel so he also wants to get away while the scandal dies down, not knowing that the wounded man, Jason, has died. So the two of them and his valet Tavvey travel to Scotland and hid out in his run down hunting lodge.

Ghislaine's employer and Nicholas's cousin Ellen and her brothers friend Antony 'Tony' Wilton-Greening chase after them! Tony wants to marry Ellen but she doesn't know it. So the entire novel is them chasing after Ghislaine and Nicholas. Ellen and Tony finally get to Nicholas's lodge but they've already fled to Holland. While there, Ellen and her kidnapper Nicholas begin to have feelings for each other. She tells him that she became a prostitute at the age of seventeen. Someone named Malviver sold her to a brothel and she'd only had sex with TWO men all those years. That, to me, is totally unbelievable. Years later she saw Malviver and when he asked her for oral sex, she stabbed and killed him... or so she thought. Nicholas LAUGHED when she told him that.

Back to the present, she and Nicholas were at a party and they ran into a man who she'd had sex with years before named Wrexham. When she last saw him, she'd smashed him in the head with a chamber pot. He told Nicholas she was a slut, thinking she was still a prostitute, and later Nicholas ended up killing him in a duel just for that comment. When he tells Ghilslaine that, she tells him that she loves him and they have sex. While all this is going on, Ellen and Tony have decided to get married.

Ellen and Ghislaine go to France and Tony and Nicholas go to England. Out of nowhere, Malviver shows up to kidnap Ghislaine. So they're on their way somewhere and out of the blue, again!, Tony appears and he and Nicholas chase after Ghislaine. Tony ends up stabbing Malviver to death.

The epilogue has Ghislaine and Nicholas rebuilding his lodge in Scotland and she's pregnant.
____

MY THOUGHTS: This book was about nothing at all except Ellen and Tony chasing after Ghislaine and Nicholas, then catching up with them at the end. Seriously, that was it. Boring, boring, boring. And one really absurd part was when they were still in Scotland and not getting along, they had a picnic outside! I still don't know why Nicholas kidnapped her in the first place. I didn't like Ellen or Tony and I don't like them being featured throughout the entire book, begining to end. This really was a book about two couples, both of which I cared nothing about. I just thought this was a stupid book and I honestly can't figure out how it got published. I give it two thumbs down.