PUBLISHING INFO: Signet, 12/1978
GENRE: Historical Romance
TIMESPAN: 5-6 years
MY GRADE: C
FROM PUBLISHER: When beautiful young Elizabeth Montlow lost her innocence it was not on a night of romantic dreams. It was in an act of savage violence by a man seeking vengeance.
Yet from this brutal beginning came an all-consuming passion that would take Elizabeth from the sheltered eighteenth-century English countryside to a lonely manor in Ireland, where she was forced to share her man with his ravishing and ruthless mistress... to a nightmare exile on a lush and licentious Caribbean island, where lust and murder went hand in hand... to the depths of the lawless American wilderness, where two men played a monstrous game of heart-wrenching deception with her as the stake...
MY THOUGHTS/SPOILERS: This didn't live up to my expectations at all. I learned of it at least five years ago online from someone who said it reminded her a bit of Stormfire. There were just a couple similarities, like hero and heroine's nationality, rape, hero being a smuggler, ect., but the plotlines/core of the story were dissimilar.
Elizabeth is twenty-three, dark brown hair, gray eyes, and is from England. I found Elizabeth to be very bland and passive. Patrick is from Ireland but lives in England, is tall and thin, has a 'dark' complexion, brown hair, brown eyes, and is thirty-two. He's been smuggling arms, cannons, and muskets for ten years. The story begins and ends in England, 1778-1783.
The first 100 pages of the story were the best of all and were mostly about Elizabeth's eighteen-year old disturbed brother, Christopher, the blond Golden Child. Christopher and his friends were wearing masks when they kidnapped and raped Anne Reardon, Patrick's seventeen-year old ward, in Christopher's unoccupied family home. They fooled her into thinking they'd let her go. They let her run away from them, they chased her, and she jumped out the window and died later from her injuries. He fooled Elizabeth and their mother into believing he was innocent but Elizabeth always had doubts. I find Christopher to be one interesting character, the most interesting of the entire story.
Patrick, who'd met Anne briefly at a ball or something the previous year, was very angry at her for covering for her brother, whom he believed responsible for Anne's death. He broke into her bedroom one night, demanding to know where her brother fled after the trial. She wouldn't give him any information so he raped her (p. 89), after slapping her for struggling. That's his only violence toward her in the story.
For me, the story went downhill from there and became very boring. They got married because she was in a desperate situation. Patrick had been considering marrying Miora Ashley, a wealthy twenty-seven year old widow back in Ireland. I'm not sure why he wanted to marry Elizabeth. He didn't really feel any affection toward her and though she brought a dowry to the marriage, he had much more to gain by marring Miora. Miora became his mistress only after realizing she could no longer marry him, since he was married to Elizabeth. She disappeared from the story for awhile and was brought back to give the readers a suspect for an event that caused Patrick, Elizabeth, and Colin to flee to the West Indies.
The most boring part of all was when Patrick, Elizabeth, and his half-brother Colin were forced to flee the West Indies (after already having to flee England because Patrick was caught planning an uprising against England) and settled in America (Pennsylvania). There they had to live off the land and it made for dull reading. Not much happened the entire few years they lived there until Elizabeth got bad news about Patrick that lead me to believe they wouldn't have a happy ending.
Something eventful, a few confessions, happened near the end involving a secondary character that I didn't see coming. This person had lied about several important things and were involved in murder because they were angry and jealous of another person. I felt a little sad for them at the end.
It was mentioned very early on that Patrick and Colin were responsible for Anne's father Tim's death in a boating accident but the reason for that was never given. We weren't told if the death was intentional or not.
I don't think Patrick ever told Elizabeth that he loved her though she did overhear him once talking out loud about loving her. He never showed affection toward her or gave the impression that he was interested in her at all.
Overall, this wasn't an interesting love story and dammit, I'm disappointed.