All right, this book defenitely earns the title "worst roamance of the year". Unfortunately I was already half through the story when it started to get really disgusting - and I just couldn't put it away. So I suffered through a number of demeaning scenes I decided gracefully to "share" with you.
HE CONQUERED HER LAND, BUT WAS FORCED TO FIGHT FOR HIS HEART When Guy de Montgomery's Norman army swept across the countryside, claiming all in its path, the fairest prize of war was the lovely Lillyth of Godstone Hall. But the gallant lord was so captivated by the green-eyed beauty with the flaming red hair, he knew he had to win her heart. He was challenged by both friend and foe for the enchanting Lillyth. And Lillyth could not help but fall in love with the fiery lord who protected her from the brutality of others. In the warmth of his embrace she discovered the exquisite beauty of love's passion. Even as the lingering hostilities threatened to keep them apart, Lillyth knew that her heart had been won more surely than the land. And the conqueror, too, had become the hopeless captive of a woman's love.
This story was first published in 1983 - my copy is a reprint from 1993. I can't even believe that this horrible rape scenario got reprinted, not to speak of the fact that it's still available through Amazon! I have just checked. Brenda Joyce's Conqueror first got published in 1990. Lucky me the whipping scenes started right away so I didn't feel bad about breaking it up. I am quite sure that Bold Conquest, Henley's second romance novel, was the inspiration for many more such humiliating romance novels.
Ok, what happened?
Isn't there a proverb that says "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" ? Well, in this case it should say: "Rape me once, shame on you, rape me twice, stupid me, rape me thrice, please just kill me" - or some such thing.
The first time our feisty heroine Lillyth gets raped is during the marriage night by her first husband. Of course this husband has in reality a penchant for young boys, so he saves her precious maidenhead and sodomizes her. (The heroine kills him later, of course).
The second time she is raped by the hero himself. Guy has claimed Lillyth for himself and thinks she gives her favours to everyone but him. Enraged he throws her onto the bed and puts his "lance" into her - realizes she is still a virgin and becomes all contrite. Of course, our feisty heroine has fallen in love with him, forgives him, enter the flowery, lusty love scenes à la Henley.
What else happens? I admit, I skipped some pages, so I don't know if I've missed some gory details.
At one time they have a dispute, I think because Lillyth was jealous of a strumpet, she then provoked Guy by flirting with the king's brother. Guy is furious and hits her across the face, heavily. After a period of a collective "not talking to each other" - they are riding out. Lillyth behaves like a nitwit without two braincells, Guy of course doesn't want to be provoked. He takes her horse away and lets her walk home - about four or five miles. During this "cleansing" walk Lillyth's anger towards Guy leaves and turns against herself. When he comes to her she falls at his knees and cries for forgiveness.
One day Lillyth and Guy decide to get married. Of course the fair Lillyth doesn't know that Guy is already married and has a wife and two children. All comfortably tucked away in Normandy. Lillyth becomes pregnant, she finds out about his marriage and her mother gives her some berries to abort the child.
After a time of not talking to each other (sounds familiar?), Guy can't hold his manly lustful thoughts in check and more or less forcefully seduces Lillyth. Her body reacts to him, but her mind tries to resist - it ends with Guy's sophisticated shout "that all women are bitches!"
Lillyth flees, becomes the Mistress of the king's brother (of course she doesn't climax with him, because he treats her too nice and she is accustomed to Guy's forceful "uh" eroticism).
Tadadatadatada - after shipping around for about nine month, Lillyth bears Guy's child and decides she still loves her husband and goes home. Meanwhile Guy fortunately remembered that he has a wife and two daughters, therefore he decides to fulfill his fatherly duties, yadadadadada
The ending is sappy, full of sweet talk and love. ARGGGGG. I have read some other rape novels, but except for two Woodiwiss (in German) I never finished one. I can't believe that such a book ever got published!