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on July 2, 2004
Lady Rowena Belleme is forced to marry old codger Lord Godwine Lyons so that her step brother Gilbert d'Ambray may secure his lands and men. However, before the marriage can be consummated and an heir produced Lord Godwine suddenly dies. Rowena is more than happy that she does not have to lie with the old man but her step brother comes up with an idea that they kidnap a man with the same colourings as Lord Godwine and that Rowena lies with the man until she conceives, whilst they deceive the world of Lord Godwine's death.
Enter one handsome blond and muscular Warrick de Chaville, Lord Faulkhurst who is kidnapped by Gilbert's men thinking that he is a lowly serf. He is sent back to Gilbert's castle and chained to a bed. Rowena must now seduce him and lie with him until she conceives a child. If she does not do as she is told Gilbert will kill her mother. So Rowena sets out to seduce the handsome Lord who is at all times chained to the bed. In fact she she literally rapes him for three nights in a row until she she finds an opportunity to set him free on the third night. Warrick has never been so humiliated in his life and tries to resist Rowena's charms but his body betrays him.
On his release Warrick returns to capture Rowena and now the tables are turned. He treats her like for like and ties her to his bed and seduces her until her body betrays her and she gives in to his sensous touches.
However, as the days passes, Warrick finds himself being attracted to the wench and can no longer find it in himself to do her harm. Rowena learns of Warrick's hurtful past and also finds herself being attracted to the arrogant but handsome Lord. Will they find it in each other to forgive the other for their unforgiveable deeds?
Be warned this book is not written to be politically correct as the hero and the heroine both rape each other. However, the "rape" scenes are written in such a way that they can hardly be considered rape scenes as both parties seem to enjoy being seduced by the other. I myself found the scenes quite sexy but this is purely fantasy and in a real life situation I would be completely appalled. Still this was an enjoyable read as long as you considered it just as fiction and not get too emotionally involved with the rape scenes.
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on July 1, 2004
"Prisoner of My Desire" was pretty shocking to me the first time I read it about 10 years ago. I was a teenager then, and a HUGE fan of Johanna Lindsey, so I couldn't understand why she would write a romance about a man and woman raping each other. Needless to say, this book went on my list of "never to read again" obscurity. Luckily, I threw away that list!!!
I just reread "Prisoner" and, to my absolute surprise, enjoyed it immensely. It is a provocative book, but the rape scenes weren't as outrageous as I remembered (actually, they're pretty hot). The heroine Rowena is the one who starts raping Warrick, after all. Not because she wants to, of course, but because she is the victim of her scheming brother's greed and either has to straddle manly Warrick or watch her mother die. What would you do?
To say the least, Prisoner is one of JL's more steamy romances. I think half the book takes place in bed somewhere. Rowena and Warrick are fun characters, too, both with strong, likable personalities. It's hard not to like everyone in this book. Even Gilbert, the bad guy, has redeemable traits.
My biggest criticism of "Prisoner" is how closely related plot- and character-wise it is to JL's earlier work, "So Speaks the Heart." Both are medieval romances, both have blond lovers, both revolve around the knight treating the lady like a slave because of something bad involving the lady's brother, and both deal with pregnancies. However, "Prisoner" is the better book of the two, with stronger characters and a more intriguing storyline.
I personally would recommend "Prisoner" any day as a great medieval romance. However, if it sounds like too violent a book for you, read "So Speaks the Heart" or Lindsey's other medieval novels "When Love Awaits," "Defy Not the Heart," or "Joining." If you're in the mood for time travel to the medieval period, read JL's "Until Forever," about a gorgeous Viking with a cursed sword.
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on March 9, 2004
I can't believe it has taken me so long to get around to reviewing this great book, as it has been on my keeper shelf for years. I read through some of the negative reviews here, and really have to wonder if some of these folks bothered to read the back of the book before they read it, because they act like they had no idea what was going to happen to Warrick in the beginning. There was no way JL could have sugar-coated it, people, it was rape, period. Was it fun to read? Of course not, but what is gripping about this book is their relationship once he is free and has Rowena under his control. He could have treated her so much worse, and it is difficult going for a while, but they couldn't just fall in love right away. That wouldn't have made sense given their situation. I think Lindsey does an incredible job with the pacing of the progression of their feelings, so to me it was very believable when they finally do realize how much they care for one another. This is a dark romance with disturbing subject matter, but as long as you understand that going in you may well be as pleased as I was with the outcome.
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on July 19, 2003
I am a big fan of Johanna Lindsey and this book is no disappointment. Rowena is at the mercy of her evil stepbrother Gilbert. He needs more money (i.e. soldiers) to fight his nemesis the Lord of Fulkhurst, so he forces Rowena to marry this old fart by nearly beating he mother to death. Turns out the old man dies before the marriage can be consummated thus creating problems with keeping the old man's money from his brother. The solution is to find a serf with same features as the old Lord so that they could pass a baby off as his.
This is the first time I've ever read a book where a guy was raped. Too bad they picked the wrong guy to rape. Turns out the man they found was Warrick, Lord of Fulkhurst himself. Boy was he ticked. Upon his release granted by Rowena and her maid, Warrick comes back with his men and takes the keep and burns it to the ground. He takes Rowena back to his keep and has his revenge in kind on her. Somewhere along the way she finds out that she's pregnant with his child and that she has fallen in love with him.
This has to be one of my favorite Jo. Lindsey books ever. Rowena is strong and she wont let Warrick keep her down. But you should judge for yourself.
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on July 14, 2003
This is the second time I have read Prisoner of Desire and it was as much fun to read as eighteen months ago. I did not write reviews then but could still remember the plot lines well which is unusual because I have read at least 300 books since then. This book was written during an era of romance writing that portrayed aggressive heroes who indulged in a single or occasional scene of non-consensual sex. This book definitely falls into that category but it is very different in that both the alpha hero and innocent heroine take their turn as the aggressor of these scenes. I picked it up knowing it contained some of those scenes but remembered, aside from all of that, is was a fun, not-to-be-put-down type of book. It takes you from sadness to laughter repeatedly and cruelty to kindness more than once.
It's 1152 in England, and Rowena Belleme has been forced into a marriage with a very elderly man by the machinations of her greedy stepbrother, Gilbert. Although Rowena owns lands that have long been in her family, Gilbert controls all of her properties and wants Rowena to marry a wealthy lord and thereby increase her holdings. Gilbert wants the additional lands but NEEDS the additional fighting men the alliance will provide. A formidable, powerful, vastly wealthy and certainly vengeful warlord is fighting Gilbert on many fronts. This lord and formidable knight is none other than the hero, Warrick deChaville. Warrick is only fighting Gilbert in retribution for his attempted seizure of one of Warrick's holdings. And one thing Warrick does very well is exact "utter destruction on anyone so unwise as to encroach on what was his."
Rowena, a spirited, young, and truly innocent woman, must participate in Gilbert's awful schemes because he holds her mother's life in his hands and will beat her or even kill her if Rowena refuses. Gilbert places one condition upon her marriage to the decrepit lord - she must produce an heir. None of his holdings will transfer to Rowena upon his death without an heir. When the old man is unable to produce an heir, Gilbert's men capture a younger man in a bathhouse who possesses similar physical features to Rowena's husband. They are to take a serf or villein - certainly no one of nobility. But it is a bathhouse and their chosen prey, Warrick deChaville, is not wearing any trappings of nobility or wealth. Gilbert does not realize the horrible mistake he has just made and chains Warrick in a bedchamber and commands Rowena to use him to produce an heir.
And oh --- that's just the beginning pages of the book. Things only get more and more involved, spiraling deeper and deeper as you consume the pages with greater and greater speed. Although there are a few predictable situations of typical romance writing, this story is rather unusual in that you do not know what to expect next. Just when I had figured out what I thought would happen next, it didn't.
Warrick is an unforgiving and hard hero. Rowena is a subjugated and overpowered heroine first by Gilbert and then by Warrick. But slowly her spunk begins to show. And the pages just get more enjoyable as Rowena begins to stand up for herself. It's a delicate undertaking to confront her captor without totally alienating him. She is in no way bratty or self centered. Her actions are always those of a true lady and she is ruled by kindness. She is a very lovable heroine and Warrick eventually becomes a likable guy - but it takes a while for him to get there.
Another interesting aspect of this book is the unusual villain, Gilbert. Although he is dastardly as expected, he has a soft spot in his heart for Rowena. You actually find yourself pitying him more than hating him because he doesn't seem to know better. He is quite nice compared to his really, really awful father. He loves Rowena but has no idea how to show it. He is actually crushed when Rowena rejects him after he has beaten her mother to force her to do as he wishes. His father, after all, had beat her mother all the time, so what is so bad about him doing the same? Geeesh! But yet you do find him somewhat of a sympathetic character - errr - villain.
There is no way to avoid the sensual nature of this book. It is intricately woven into most of the story. However, this book, in no way, is centered on the sexual scenes. This is an excellent and at times severe story that demands it be told - first and foremost. It is also one romance novel that is aptly named - Prisoner of My Desire. It is literal in more ways than one. The sensual scenes, while not as explicit as you would find in a book of this nature today, are still strong. These scenes rate a solid 4.5 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines).
Prisoner of My Desire is one of several Lindsey earlier romance novels on my keeper shelf. Although the story line is sometimes harsh, it is totally captivating as long as you are prepared for it. Gird yourself up for one fascinating read.
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on May 16, 2003
Ms. Lindsey has a magical way of taking unlikely situations, implausible circumstances, and making you believe that it is a stunning, superb story line like no other. This is her gift and her books are wonderful escapism from daily life. She is one of the few romance authors who write what readers WANT to read, not what are politically correct and acceptable social norms. PRISONER OF MY DESIRE is no exception and is a great reader escape.
Rowena Belleme is forced to marry Godwine Lyons, Lord of Kirkburough, a very old and decrepit man, in order to secure her lands by producing an heir by her cruel stepbrother, Gilbert. Finding herself on her virginal wedding bed, her old husband surprisingly dies on the spot. In order to ensure she produces and heir Gilbert has his men find a man similar hair and eyes to replace the deceased as the father of her child.
Rowena finds herself forced to seduce the man chained to her bed, a handsome man with strong features and body. Warrick de Chaville is no serf however, Dragon of the North, the Lord of Fulkhurst, he is a man not to be trifled with. But trifle with him Rowena will! Ms. Lindsey flips the tables, placing the heroine in a position of power.
When Warrick makes his escape he vows to exact revenge on Rowena and when he returns, taking the Rowena prisoner he does exactly that.
There are many love/hate elements in this story and through if you step back and say, "this is appalling" you'll quickly step back into the story with delight. It's fascinating and intoxicating read.
This book originally was published in 1991 but has been reissued this year in a collectible hardback, testament to the popularity of Johanna Lindsey and her delightful books filled with the unexpected and fun. If you are looking to be swept away, this is the book for you!
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on January 2, 2003
This is a re-publication but that should not take away from the fact that it is a very good read. I read this book in two sittings and one went into the wee hours of the morning on a work night. Any book that keeps me up at night, no matter what the subject matter, is worth a 5 rating. Yes, Rape is rape by any other name so if you at all squeamish about the subject, pass on this one. There was no brutality in this book, however, and the rape of the Knight Warrick was essential to the story line. This is a romance novel for romance readers and Lindsey carried it off in her usual riveting style. The only problem I have with the book is that the synopsis on the jacket was re-written. The change made me think the book was a re-write instead of a re-publication and I could find no obvious revision from the 1991 book club edition. If the deception was intentional, it was unecessary. I would have bought the book anyway because I am a fan and it was a full size hardback copy of what was originally only published in paperback & bookclub. I hope more of her early work will be re-released.
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on December 19, 2002
In 1152 England, her odious stepbrother Gilbert D'Ambray forces Rowena Belleme to marry the elderly Godwynne Lyons because her sibling wants to use his new in-law's vast estate to fight a tough enemy. To force her to bend to his wishes, he threatens Rowena's mother Anne with brutal punishment. However, on their wedding night, her new spouse, old enough to be her grandfather, dies. To produce an heir, her stepbrother kidnaps Warrick deChaville. For the next three nights, Rowena has her way with her prisoner, who tries not to cooperate, but cannot stop his desires.
Though Rowena frees Warrick, he thirsts for vengeance for his humiliation. He abducts Rowena to give her a taste of her own medicine. For the next three nights he has his way with her, but instead of freeing Rowena he makes her his servant. However, as she teaches him to enjoy life, Rowena and Warrick fall in love, but her stepbrother like a serpent in Eden has other plans for this couple.
This reprint of a decade old medieval romance is entertaining due to the numerous period piece tidbits cleverly interwoven into the plot so that the audience feels as if they are actually in the mid twelfth century. The story line is well written but contains soft bondage (oxymoron?) and also implies rape though both participants act willingly in the heat of the moment. Fans of historical romances with plenty of lust, and a bit of chains and ropes will delight in Johanna Lindsey's tale of love ruining a perfect case of revenge.
Harriet Klausner
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on December 1, 2002
Desperate times, calls for desperate measures. . .
Lady Rowena Belleme's stepbrother, Gilbert d'Ambray, had pledged her hand to the undesirable Lyons of Kirkburough. Being a spirited lass, Rowena refuses to abide by her stepbrother's demands. When Gilbert threatens to kill her mother if she doesn't go through with the marriage, Rowena knows she is powerless to resist him. Reluctantly Rowena agrees to Gilbert's demands. Before the marriage is consummated, Lyons unexpectedly dies. Rowena is overjoyed at her newfound freedom. Her celebration is short lived, however, when Gilbert demands that she become pregnant before Lyon's death is made public. To help her carry out this demand, he kidnaps Lord Warrick de Chaville. For three nights, Rowena carries out the plan with the helpless prisoner. She is finally unable to stand by and watch the inhuman treatment of Warrick; she makes the decision to help him escape.
Turnabout is fair play . . .
Lord Warrick de Chaville finds himself captive, chained, and at the mercy of Rowena Belleme. As much as he tries to resist her beauty, he is unable to submit to the temptress demands. All the while he is succumbing to her wiles, he is plotting his revenge against all those responsible for his imprisonment. Will the revenge come at a high price?
There is probably not a romance reader worldwide who doesn't immediately recognize the name Johanna Lindsey. To say her books are what legends are made of is an understatement. There are very few authors who can even come close to writing with the effortless style she is capable of achieving. To all that have ever experienced her work, they can easily agree her novels are treasured jewels that are to be cherished and closely guarded. I feel privileged to have received this rare opportunity to once again revisit one her of timeless classics. I feel growing up with her novels has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of what true love is made up of. She has taught me that true love can weather any storm that comes in its path
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on May 19, 2002
I feel that I must say something due to the popularity of this novel and other Lindsey books. I don't like her style, her characters, or her plots. I find nothing sexy about her rapist heroes, and I'm shocked that one could like this book about a brutal vengeful man and a dimwitted heroine.
While Rowena I could sympathize with because she was between the probervial rock and a hard place, she also irrated me because her miniscule brain couldn't come up with the solution to just explain her reasons for her actions to Warrick in the first place. Warrick is brute, plain and simple. He's a rapist, and bad tempered, he tortures a pregnant woman, and he made a few passes at his illegitamet daughter who he makes work as a kitchen slave. He's completely hateable.
I read this book with the openmouther horror usually reserved mega-disaters. I was even more horrified to see how many people find this book the sexy thing in world! Has the whole world gone insane?! What is wrong with you people? Ask yourself, 'would I find it erotic to be chained up and raped by a man who hates me?' What disgusts me the most is that Lindsey makes the rape sound like it's no big deal and there is nothing wrong with it. Warrick doesn't even hurt her while he's doing it! I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure he would have done some major damage to her.
I hate these books with forced seduction and 'slipping aphrodisiac' into her tea (Secret Fire). It's rape. 'No' means 'No. Can you imagine what it would be like to have this happen to you in real life? It wouldn't sexy; it would be traumatic. Maybe if this were in the erotica genre I wouldn't be pitching a fit, but don't call it romance. This is not in the least about love.
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