To Love A Rogue (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)
Hundred words or less: Lovely Lorraine London had a sensuous charm that seemed to ignite the passions of every scoundrel in New England. Born in revolutionary America, she was sold into indentured servitude until she caught the roving eye of Raile Cameron, a renegade gunrunner, who lovingly rescued her (and then they go and do stuff, like throwing themselves into historically important events, eating tea and sandwiches delicately, and being rich).
Author: Valerie Sherwood
Year Published: 1988
Complete Summary: Miss Lorraine is the resident Indentured Tavern Wench in pre-revolutionary U.S. of A. She’s lovely, oh yes, with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a figure that can make for plenty of retellings with its beauty. Now you might ask yourself, as I did: why am I being asked to love a tavern wench who is the stereotypical blue-eyed, blonde, hand-wringing, OMG Indians! type of girl whose one brave act was jumping on the back of a horse with a pirate? WHY!? I asked myself that through the whole book.
Anyway, so Lorraine is pretty, and if you believe the picture of her on the front, in the 1600’s they believed in gobs of blue eyeshadow and had anorexic tavern wenches at every turn. Lorraine catches eye of Devious, Scottish, Handsome, Baggage-toting Pirate, Raile. Raile is privy to her near-rape (“OMG Phillip I want you! OMG wait, Phillip, I don’t!”), and so offers her a chance at freedom (“Come with me to my ship, Tavern Wench, where we shall make love on the seas and I will pretend to take your emotional baggage seriously!” “OMG yes Raile!”). So they gallop off (on a horse) into the sunset.
But WAIT! There is a plot in the making! When Lorraine takes off, throwing off her shackles of servitude, the young dandy who took her virginity (OMG Phillip Dedwinton) shows up to claim dem papers of indenture, WHILE HE’S COURTING THE BELLE OF THE LAND! (*insert doom music here*). He plans to quietly indenture Lorraine after he marries said Belle, then have them both!)
But Lorraine thwarts Phillips Evil Musings by, of course, running away with a handsome, well-endowed stranger (OMG). They see Indians (“OMG Raile Indians!”), but surprisingly make it through Indian-infested territory with their scalps intact, to board Raile’s ship, the Likely Lass.
Of course, then, it follows that Raile will insist on Lorraine pretending to be his mistress (“OMG Raile how could you suggest such a thing ROFL”) because, he says, it will protect her from the Evil Crew, who are a bunch of Frenchies picked up in Bordeaux, no papers, evil looking pirate Frenchie scalawags, who would be absolutely SCANDALIZED if they heard that under the bins of ‘cheese n’ woolens’, they were carrying lots and lots of GUNS. They would be so scandalized they would turn this ship around right now, mister, and there would be NO BARBADOS BEACHES FOR ANYONE.
But there is a Secondary Plot afoot! Someone in the crew is a murdering Frenchie bastard! Is it the genial, kind-hearted doctor, who woos Lorraine when he finds out she is not REALLY sleeping with the well-endowed and masculine captain? Is it Little Johnny, who takes the tea and cakes to Lorraine, and is awestruck by her beauty? Is it the paranoid first mate, or maybe the happy but sinister-looking gunner? Is it one of the nameless crew people, who all like Lorraine when she’s had too much wine? Or is it the Big Hairy Mute, who has an ‘air of violence about him’ like too much Calvin Klein?
Eventually, they get to the Caribbean, and some towns, and there is much merry making, and Lorraine almost falls into the bed with Raile (“OMG Raile you bought me HAIRPINS! OMG love me now!”), but they don’t, of course, because Puritanical Lorraine feels its improper to jump into bed with a man whose had many women in many different countries and who still carries around emotional baggage by the name ‘Laurie-Ann Why Did You Leave Me’.
So there is a fire in one of the towns, and of course Lorraine is swept up in running around like a chicken with her head cut off, like everyone else in the town. But she eventually recovers what little sense she has, rounds up a carriage, and goes tearing off to the fire to find a girl with a baby whom she doesn’t really know but hey, plot. They are, of course, returned unhurt (“OMG thank you God for OMG saving us from the evil fire”).
But there is an Auxilary Plot to the Plot! Captain Bridey, commander of Fleet o’ Trading Ships, has seen Lorraine! Worse, he remembers her! But Lorraine conveniently forgets all about that in the arms of Raile (“OMG Raile take me! OMG Raile don’t touch me!”).
But on the high seas there is passion AT LAST. Half of the crew gets killed by the murderous frenchie, and it is exposed that the mute (“OMG Gaultier! OMG you’re not mute! Stop trying to strangle me OMG OMG!”) is the strangling killer. He falls off a cliff or something, and teaches us all the important lesson of Don’t Trust A Man Who Won’t Talk To You Because Likely He’s A Lady-Killing Arse.
So somehow or another, Raile finds out that Virginia is in dire need o’ dem guns, so they travel back to Virginia, at the time of Bacon’s Revolt. This is where Lorraine turns into a Mary Sue, briefly. She meets Bacon, almost seduces him, but leaves (“OMG Bacon yer so handsome and rich and beautiful, have some tea”). But Phillip finds her (“OMG Phillip what are you doing down here ROFL”), scoops her up and takes her back to Rhode Island in shackles to be his love slave. But there is a Kindly Inkeeperess who takes pity on Lorraine, and conspires to smuggle Lorraine away from Evil Bastard Phillip (“OMG st00pid Phillip! How could he have married the Belle and try to screw me now OMG BAD!”), in a barrel.
So Lorraine goes to Barbados again, where she finds out that her father was rich, becomes an heiress, buys a couple of plantations and lords it above the tonne of Bridgetown, Barbados. Phillip eventually comes sniffing after her, but in a calculated BDSM twist, she imprisons Phillip on her plantation and tortures him to get her articles of indenture back (“OMG liek serioushly, Phillip, give them to me now or I shall squeal and stomp around!”). He doesn’t, but Raile shows up with the disputed articles, Phillip is hanged or summat, and Lorraine marries Raile and all live happy ever after (“OMG Raile you pinched my nipple!”). THE END.
By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 19
Plot “Twists”: 8
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 3
Times “Fate” Intervened: 5
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 3/5
Overall Grade: C+, for somewhat historical accuracy and pirates (ARR!), but points taken off for the Mary-Sue incident, the mute being “the murderer”, and Lorraine being a general idiot.