RAVISHED by Amanda Quick

While I am normally not a reader of the romance novel, a discussion on this site piqued my curiosity about Ravished, a favorite among fans of Amanda Quick (a pseudonym of Jayne Ann Krentz). This historical romance is typical of the genre in some ways, though with a few distinct features.

Harriet Pomeroy is far from the typical romance heroine. Resigned to being an old maid (at the age of 24), she has no interest in society, manners, or marriage. Her biggest concern is fossils -- specifically, an unusual tooth discovered in the cave by the sea. When she also finds some stolen loot there, she calls on the owner of the lands to investigate and trap the thieves, so she can get back to her exploration.

Enter Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin. Known throughout the land as the Beast of Blackthorne Hall, this recluse is scarred, both physically (from a dueling injury) and socially (from rumors he got a parson's daughter pregnant and then refused to marry her, driving her to suicide). Naturally, he finds Harriet both exasperating and attractive, and after they wind up trapped in the cave overnight he decides society will assume he ravished her and so they must marry.

Ravished is, in many ways, the romance novel version of Beauty and the Beast: the seeming monster who's really not all that bad, and the woman who brings out the best in him. There are also some typical romance novel cliches (the attractive sister interested in society, the maid given to hysterics and fainting), not to mention estranged parents, a thieving mastermind, societal scandals (a waltz! really!), a completely evil villain, and the couple who can't quite admit how much they need or affect each other. There are some funny moments here too, such as the drunken fossil group's attempt to "rescue" Harriet, and the talkative Harriet's attempt to give her husband the silent treatment in public. And, of course, there's plenty of sex.

Ravished is a very quick read (I finished it in less than a day) and a simple one. But it does have its share of humor, and it's nice to see a historical romance where the female protagonist is more interested in science than husband-hunting.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: