Twiggy's Reviews > Island Flame

Island Flame by Karen Robards
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Lady Catherine Aldley is officially: TSTL!

Warning spoilers

The book starts with the erstwhile heroine being introduced as a spoilt pain in the ass who is Incapable of acting sensibly and whose main priority is to flirt with any sailor on board ship as she is bored.

When they are attacked by pirates she does eventually agree to go below and hides in a wardrobe, only to be discovered by two uncouth pirates who rip her bodice from her, exposing her heaving bosom and then attack her. She is rescued in the nick of time by Captain Jon Hale, who then molests her himself, although she finds herself responding to his kiss and groping. She is tossed over his shoulder and brought up to the deck where everyone can see her state of dishabille.

Navy ships are seen in the distance and so our enterprising hero decides that he will take Lady Cathy and 3 others hostage on his ship. The others are put in the hold but Cathy is placed in the Captain's cabin. There is a reprieve for a few days whilst the captain battles a storm, although he indulges in bed time groping.

When the storm passes, he decides the moment has come. He kisses Cathy and she initially responds. However when he gets her on the bed and things get more serious she panics, struggles, says no, resists and sobs throughout the rest of the rape. His response is to smirk and tell her it will be better next time.

Cathy is interrupted in her bath and there is a fight between the pair, where she grows soap and the chamber pot at him, when he tries to grab her. He then proceeds spank her until she is bruised all over demanding that she give the appropriate response to ' who's your master?'. I kid you not!

He then forces her to bathe him and then goes to have sex with her again but is prevented by her bruises. He gives a grudging apology for the bruises only, maintaining that there was no rape and that he had only taken what she had been 'dying to give' him. WTF? He then has her 3 times that night and she starts to enjoy it but feels that something is missing as he seems to have a bit of a problem with premature ej...

Anyway, our girl thinks that this has changed everything and so she goes swaggering on the deck expecting the a hole to fall at her feet. In fact he is cold, obnoxious and threatening. She meets the other prisoners and realises that they are being kept in miserable conditions. Captain Hale makes it clear that he is using her as a bed mate in front of them, thereby destroying what little reputation she had left.

For the next 11 days he rapes her continually 1 - 3 x a day, brutally and without her enjoying it. It appears that he is a bit put out that she won't co-operate...but nonetheless he decides to make arrangements for the ransom of the other hostages but not Cathy.

She finds out about this and escapes to shore dressed as a boy. She struggles to find a constable and in one of the most flabbergasting decisions of all time, decides that she will enter a disreputable pub to look for accommodation. Within minutes her shirt is ripped and her breasts are on display to all and sundry as she is tied up on a meat hook whilst various men throw dice to decide who will be the first to have her in the forth coming gang bang...

Jon enters the arena and rescues her but is beaten badly. She then decides that his injuries are her fault as they happened as a result of her wilfulness...

I'm only a third of the way through ; Car crash territory but kinda unputdownable.


Ok , it turns out he was stabbed and stabbed and stabbed but somehow he is not dead ( a real pity?). Jon is taken back to the ship and a doctor is fetched. Within minutes the First Mate Harry is shouting at the h, saying that it is all her fault and that she was no better than a street walker as she had been dying for it (page 129).

She nurses Jon patiently for 6 days.

When he finally recovers he asks her why she ran away:
Heroine: " you raped me brutally - not once but many times. Of course I was going to run away from you the first chance I got!"
A hole : "so you're telling me you ran away because you couldn't stand me making love to you?"
Heroine ( understandably fed up) : "raping me!"
a hole: "call it what you are lying to me , my like the way I make your body feel"


I honestly don't know if I can continue....

By page 154 Harry is swearing he would kill Jon for what he has done to her, by stealing her innocence as she is so pure and fine but when the h doesn't seem too interested in dissing Jon, he turns abusive and asks if she would've fallen in love with him, if he'd bedded her first. What a change of heart in a matter of 20 pages....

Within 2 pages of this the a hole is declaring that she is his mistress and he wants to have a further go at her, at which point she wishes him dead. She runs out of the cabin but returns when told he has injured his leg. He thinks: 'little bitch, I'll cut her down to size'; Heroine : 'I am your mistress, do you have any idea how filthy that makes me feel?'

Her resistance lasts 2 seconds and then they shag.

She is in love! Oh the joy!

Reader experiences stunned disbelief?

Harry gets even more jealous ( " I see he rides you well!") followed by further insincere apology; Followed by harry grabbing her into a torrid embrace witnessed by Jon , who assumes the worst - his response : "that cheating little bitch!" just before he knocks her down. Knife fight ensues. She decides she has to stop the fight by declaring it wasn't Harry , it was her ! Jon shoves her to the deck in rage telling her to "go back to the cabin slut".
Harry owns up it was his fault and tells the a hole he treats her like a whore while she calls him darling.

I swear the dialogue really is this bad.

Given the opportunity back in the cabin, does our girl do the sensible thing and tell him the truth? Well yes, but only after he has his hands round her neck and is contemplating killing her.

He decides he is jealous of Harry, that he loves her but doesn't fancy getting married quite yet and he certainly doesn't feel inclined to tell her how he feels, especially as he goes off by himself on a jaunt to Tenerife.

Of course she is pregnant and after a moment of bliss it occurs to her that she is not overly enthusiastic about having a bastard child as it's not quite socially acceptable...

She decides to give him the good news in the middle of a battle scene on Las Palmas. The British navy capture Jon and are about to hang him.
Heroine pleads with her father and Jon is sent to the brig.

( papa has mysteriously turned up on a battle ship, being the Earl of Badstoke, and wrongly referred to throughout the book as Sir Thomas : pet gripe - I hate it when they get titles wrong; editor should have pointed out Sir is a title for a Knight and an Earl is addressed as Lord).

Anyway, she pleads for his life; announces to all and sundry that she is pregnant to him; lies to her father saying that he did not rape her; declares that she was willing and that she loves him and will marry no one else. Papa eventually agrees to the marriage and possibly a pardon and off they traipse to tell Jon about the grand plan.

It will not come as a surprise to hear that the a hole does not take the news well. " you opportunistic little bitch!"
he doesn't appear to see any merit in the argument that he has some degree of responsibility towards the baby - and only agrees to marry so as to save his life: a real prince amongst men...

Ship wedding ensues. Papa and his men knock Jon out afterwards and tell Cathy that he has escaped and abandoned her. No questions asked? They are on a boat for god's sake, there are limited options!

Cathy goes to London.

Turns out dearest papa has had Jon imprisoned in Newgate and pays to have him whipped and beaten in front of him on a weekly basis, whilst he awaits hanging at Tyburn. Daddy then decides it can only help to lie to him and tell Jon that the beatings are ordered by Cathy herself.

In the interim Cathy pines for her lost love and 6 months pass.

Somehow he escapes ( method undisclosed?) and he kidnaps her from the house, swearing revenge and that that he will make her suffer after the baby is born.

He hates her! He tells her he wants to kill her more than anything and may not be able to hold back until the baby is born - thinking of killing her was the only thing that kept him alive! oh , the romance of it all!

She discovers that Jon was in prison and decides that although they are in the middle of a terrible storm and she is over 7 months pregnant, it is a splendid time to go on deck and have a chat.
Yes, she really is : TSTL.
Of course she nearly gets washed overboard. she falls and almost loses the baby.

They sail to Charleston, where Jon decides to settle down and put money into his plantation.

She again tries to tell him she was unaware of papa's actions. baby boy born, and for some benighted reason Jon decides to call the poor child, Cray.

Within a day or so of the birth he is groping her and she is responding eagerly ( only woman in history of the world who feels randy within 48 hours of giving birth?) but within moments he is swearing at her, saying she is as hardhearted and calculating as a dockside whore! So much for any concern/ basic human decency on the a hole's part.

About 4- 6 weeks post birth, They go to a ball. Cathy has a bit too much champagne. Jon is furious that she is such a hit. In the carriage on the way home he realises that he ' loved the little bitch still' but she must never find out.

He decides that the best way forward is to rape her viciously in the carriage. We have him engaging in bodice ripping; pinching her nipples painfully, biting them and viciously sucking them drawing milk and humiliating her. She struggles but he then rapes her brutally, taking pleasure in hurting her and seeing her cry.

Quote: he wanted to hurt her, meant to hurt her.. She had accused him of rape before, but by God, now she knew what the word meant...

It really does go on like this.

She's in a complete state afterwards and his response is to say: 'hoping for more?'

She can't stand up or dress herself afterwards and he has to carry her into the house, at which point he growls " what the hell's wrong with you anyway? Did I hurt you?' At this stage it seems to have occurred to him that she recently given birth and that raping her brutally may not have been the best idea.

she throws up. He undresses her. She tells him he hurt her, remembering the rape. He tells her that she hurt him too when she slapped his face. This seems reasonable to our h as it is obviously an eye for an eye.
Who would ever demented enough to dispute that a pathetic slap to the face equated to a violent rape?

I mean WTF - Is this for real?????

She wakes up a couple of hours later, still drunk, decides she wants him and they have wild passionate consensual sex.

I repeat : WTF?

She wakes up the next morning only to remember everything and find out Jon has gone off toAtlanta for a week without notifying her. It does occur to her, to have some doubts as to whether or not he really loves her . UGH!!!!

Papa arrives in a timely fashion and she decides to leave with him. We have an unbelievable moment where her nurse tells her that she should stay with Captain Hale, as she will never find another man who would take such good care of her. I mean, seriously??? Even the h finds this hard to take.

He finds her in time. Tells her that she is not leaving him and actually has the nerve to ask what he has done wrong and suggests that he has not mistreated her in any way. We're told he has the grace to blush; gives a reluctant and feeble apology but at the same time asserts she was asking for it!

Grudgingly he declares his love. She reciprocates immediately. Everything is wonderful. Daddy dearest admits his role , forgiveness all around and they all go off to live hea...

This reminded me a bit of Tender Torment in the sheer Jaw dropping awfulness of the whole thing.

The hero was simply irredeemable.

The heroine was a doormat, who was beyond TSTL and why she loved and wanted to stay with the a hole was totally inexplicable.

The 'happy ending' took place within 30 pages of one of the most violent marital rape descriptions I have read in any of these books and I didn't believe it for a minute.

I note that this appears to be born out in that there was a sequel and one of the reviews comments that he continues to rape and abuse the heroine throughout book 2. I am going to do myself a favour and give it a miss!


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Reading Progress

03/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Zumbagirl (new)

Zumbagirl Your review had me laughing hysterically! I don't know how I happened to read it, but I know I won't be reading this book. I started to read The Flame and the Flower and this book makes it seem like a fairytale

Christie«SHBBblogger» WHAT???!!! I love this author's contemporary suspense books and was looking at this to possibly read. But after reading your review I am so insulted that she could write this kind of filth I am amazed that this book was even published let alone read. Thank you so much for the in-depth review. I totally concur with everything you said....WTF??

Deanna Against Censorship Thanks for keeping me from wasting my time.

message 4: by Sita (new) - added it

Sita Hi. What is "TSTL" please. I assume it is "Too ____ To Like/Love".. But I can't work it out.
Thank you.

message 5: by Sanya (new)

Sanya TSTL-Too Stupid To Live :D
(I googled it!)
Great review, you made my day!!!

message 6: by Claire-marie (new)

Claire-marie Soria time passes, excellent reviews stay!! Thanks a lot.
bad book have their use: allowing funny reviews

message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Diaz This book I consider my guilty pleasure, I don't condone rape at all but I love the passion in Jon's love for Cathy. I love how she never bent to him when she angered him. He hated admitting his feelings cause he worried that was how she controls him but he does when he nearly loses her. I wonder if the book would have been a hit if Cathy did divorce Jon and he went on to miss her like crazy and starts pinning for her. He even tries to court her properly just to win her back?

message 8: by Tinsoni (new)

Tinsoni lol this review though....@Amy there is no way to redeem a violent raping a the hero here

message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Diaz Thanks for replying, I really am trying to figure out my fascination with this.

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