Ravished sticks to a more traditional regency romance format than some of the other novels by Amanda Quick. It is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. How can I tell?
First clue – The hero, Viscount St. Justin, has a scarred face and a dishonourable past. He is unwelcome in polite society. Apart from a few close confidantes, he lives through life alone.
Second clue – He is considered a brute by all. On numerous occasions, friends and foe warn off and/or fuss about the heroine, Harriet Pomeroy, because of her proximity to the man who, as per popular belief, can be a beast. Even his horses are known for strength and power, rather than grace.
Third clue – The town calls him the Beast of Blackthorne Hall.
I could go on, but I would rather focus on the heroine. The more I ruminate over her, the more am convinced that instead of the Beauty and the Beast, Ravished is a tale of the Silly-Irritating-No-Beauty and the Beast.
Harriet is obsessed with fossil hunting. She speaks of it when meeting her estranged in-laws for the first time. She speaks of it while kissing the hero. She gets caught by a thief and a would-be rapist, in different chapters in the novels, because of her fixation with bones in a cave.
Harriet claims that every time she got into trouble it could have been avoided. St. Justin should have shared his plans with her. He does, of course, have an alpha male propensity and goes about adventures alone. I can’t blame him. How can he trust a rather reckless female who thinks everyone is in the book with her in order to steal her precious fossils?
Am digressing, as usual.
The story starts off when Harriet calls St. Justin back to his hometown. She wants him to apprehend burglars hiding their loot in the caves where Harriet goes fossil hunting. She is unaware of St. Justin’s scandalous past. His fiance was with child and committed suicide when he refused to marry her. Rumour goes, he ravished and ruined her.
Completely avoidable circumstances (if only the heroine had an ounce of sense) result in St. Justin compromising Harriet as well (which is a round-a-bout way of saying they made love before marriage) . Passion and a yet to be recognised love are in play, so nothing to worry about. He does the honourable thing and proposes. She accepts and also becomes his champion against all the gossip and rumours in town. To her credit, Harriet is loyal to St. Justin and candid, with decidedly comical consequences.
There are duels and forced elopements. There is tension between father and son. Love between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Unexpected adventures and some dastardly villains who resemble angels while the hero is written off by many as a beast. All in all, a pleasant read.
Read any Amanda Quick novels? What do you think of Beaty and the Beast retellings?