Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Fire in the Heart

Title: A Fire in the Heart
Author: Katherine Sutcliffe
Publishing Date: March 1990
Genre: Historical
Rating: C-
Sensuality: Hot

Bonnie Eden is an orphan. She witnesses the brutal murder of her father and winds up in Caldbergh, a British workhouse that basically uses children as slaves. Her daily existence is a harsh, grueling one that she longs to escape. As Bonnie flees for her life in a storm with a life threatening fever, she manages to crash through the front door of Braithwaite, the home of Damien Warwick. The cruel caretakers from Caldbergh are hot on her heels. Rather than send her back to that dreadful place, Damien lies and tells them she is not there. He takes it upon himself to have her nursed back to health.

I didn’t know they were still publishing bodice rippers in the early 1990’s. A Fire in the Heart had just about all the pet peeves that push my buttons in a book. First off, it had the thirty-three year old hero lusting after an eighteen year old heroine. Hmmm, I am not buying that a thirty year old would be interested in an immature girl. This brings me to my next pet peeve; the story had a bitchy little brat for a heroine. (Actually, I am being rather harsh here, because in the end Bonnie does finally grow up, but it took about 200 pages too long, in my opinion). It also had a hero who has been cuckolded by a previous love and therefore he believes that all women are not to be trusted. Forced seduction that very nearly borders on rape is the norm when reading the ‘love’ scenes. Throw in a couple of villains, a duel, an unknown pregnancy and lots and lots of angst and you have just about all that is cliché in a romance bundled up neatly for your reading pleasure, (or not, as the case may be).

Wow, I can’t believe how harsh I am being with this review. I love Katherine Sutcliffe, but this book just annoyed the hell out of me. She is such a talented writer that I hate – absolutely hate - that I didn’t like this book and was disappointed by it. What amazes me, though, is that as much as everything about this book annoyed me, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. What does that say about me? Hey, if you are more tolerant than I am, and you love a good bodice ripper, then this one might be for you. For those of you who have your hot buttons, you might want to steer clear.

Here is what others had to say:

Rip My Bodice
All About Romance


nath said...

I think it says you enjoyed the writing, but not the story? :) It happens so often though, that you're engrossed in a story even though you're not enjoying it LOL ;) weird no? ah well, I'm ksipping this one :D Which Katherine Sutcliffe did you enjoy?

Katie(babs) said...

I miss Sutcliffe's writing.
The last few chapters of this book were very emotional for me. Typical bodice ripper book though ;)

Anonymous said...

I didn’t know they were still publishing bodice rippers in the early 1990’s.

I remember when this book was on the cover of Romantic Times. I might still have my copy somewhere. Bodice Rippers were already on the outs by the late 80s and there was a movement to return to the good old days of the BR. This book was one of the those. THE CONQUEROR by Brenda Joyce (also 1990) was another.

I miss Katherine Sutcliffe. A lot.

Jill D. said...

Nath, You make a good point because Sutcliffe is a very talented writer. The books that I have really enjoyed by her were Darkling I Listen, Bad Moon Rising and Dream Fever.

Katie, That is what is so surprising to me, is that even though I was thouroughly exasperated with the characters, I was so engrossed in the story that there were times when I teared up. Go Figure. I wish she was still writing.

Seton, Hi and welcome to my blog! I recognize you from the RT message boards. Usually, I don't mind a good bodice ripper, but this one just hit all my hot buttons. I do love Katherine Sutcliffe though. She is so talented.

Kristie (J) said...

I didn't like this one myself but don't write her off yet. She wrote a couple I really enjoyed Dream Fever is pretty high on my all time any author list and another one that was really good was My Only Love which was a sequel I think to A Fire in the Heart - but much, much better

Jill D. said...

Kristie, I will have to check out My Only Love. Actually, as I have time I will most likely read all of her books.