Twiggy's Reviews > Defiant Spitfire

Defiant Spitfire by Kay McMahon
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Pretty dreadful!

heroine , with unfortunate name of Brittany ( or Brit), is informed her brother roan ( further unfortunately named for a horse) has been falsely imprisoned for arson, a capital offence, with his case set for trial in 2 days. She visits him in the gaol, and is approached by another man Brad, who tells her to go to the docks and find Dane Remington who will help free her brother if she tells him that Brad sent her. Brittany finds herself in a most insalubrious tavern where she is almost molested by a number of different men. She is brought to Dane and after a brief argument he brings her upstairs and reveals his identity. It is clear to everyone (other than our fair heroine) that Dane's interest is in Brad and it is only this that makes him willing to 'assist' the heroine. However he tells the H that she must sleep with him as his payment and she reluctantly agrees.

Dane breaks all the prisoners out of gaol and it emerges - to no one's surprise ( except of course brittany) that brad is his brother. Roan returns home and tells Brittany what happened and she gets angry because she realises that Dane tricked her and would have freed the prisoners anyway as he wanted to ensure Brad's freedom and that his actions had nothing to do with her or Roan. Roan refuses to sell their farm in order to pay for legal fees for his defence and runs off. Brittany attends at the court house on a number of occasions in the hope that she can discover information as to who accused Roan.

One evening on arrival back at the farm she spots someone lurking in her barn. Brittany gets her blunderbuss and goes to investigate to find Dane Remington come to claim his payment. She points out that the whole bargain was a deceit and that he should go away. He dismisses her objections and indicates he will have her regardless. He disarms her of the gun but they struggle and she manages to get him with a pitch fork which holds him off for a period. He gets free and comes after her again. She makes it clear very that she is unwilling. They have a physical altercation and she ends up on the ground with him stripping her and grabbing at parts of her. He pushes her skirts up and without any further preparation, rapes her. As she is a virgin, this initially hurts but we are told by the author that as he continues , she starts to feel excitement. He finishes and shows no remorse for his actions. He takes no precautions and leaves saying that the next man she makes a bargain with 'might not be so gentle'. We are told that he had come to 'teach her a lesson as to how foolish she had been to make a deal with a stranger' - as if this is a remotely acceptable explanation for him raping her !

the book is set at the start of the war of independence and the mores of the time meant that chastity and virginity were of prime importance to unmarried women. The consequences of loss of reputation or pregnancy were disastrous. I found this whole scene completely off putting to say the least.

The hero comes across as a pig.

I was also at a loss to understand the heroine's actions. This was not a forced seduction scene but a pretty violent assault, with no foreplay beforehand and I found it just unbelievable that Brittany started to enjoy the whole thing and that afterwards, she does not appear to be too bothered about what had happened. Moreover she does not appear to be remotely worried about her loss of virtue, fear of pregnancy, risk to future prospects of marriage etc. Instead she seems to think wistfully about the a - hole 'hero' !

I am not sure that I can bring myself to continue...

Having struggled on for a further period it is clear that Brittany must be one of the most annoying heroines ever. I mean How stupid do you have to be???

As stated above Brittany does not appear remotely disconcerted about recent events.

She goes back to the court room - why she thinks sitting listening to court cases all day will help her discover who framed her brother, is completely beyond me!

A man who helped a revolutionary is sentenced to death. Brittany sees brad at the court room but thinks nothing of it. She gets caught up in the crowd who go to observe the hanging. The man is rescued by the masked 'dark horseman' and his gang, who later saves Brittany from some english soldiers ( as she makes her daily 2 hour walk home in the dark from Boston to the wilds of beyond - I repeat TSTL) and takes her home. Oh, who can the mystery man possibly be???

Thereafter we are brought to Dane's den, where he is contemplating his pleasant interlude in the barn with Brittany. It turns out that he feels he did her a favour as, after all, another man would have beaten or killed her as well. He is just appalling! Roan comes to ask for Dane to organise one of the brothers of the revolution to help with his farm as he is acting as a courier and can't return given he is a wanted man.

Brittany's creepy neighbour offers to buy the farm, but -just at that very moment- two dirty vagabonds turn up saying that they have come to work her farm in exchange for food and board. One of them is a mute, one eyed hunchback. When she asks them if roan sent them, they deny any knowledge of same. It comes as no surprise to learn that these 2 customers are actually in disguise- oh - who could they be?!?

Given that Brittany is not the sharpest tool in the box, she would rather think that they belong to some convoluted plot by the British, than consider the obvious. During this time the h experiences erotic dreams about the dark rider who then turns into Dane: the connection eludes her.

There are misunderstandings galore- dane is uncertain as to brittany's loyalty and thinks she may be working for the brittish , despite the fact they are hunting her brother. On the other hand Brittany is also oblivious to the obvious and thinks dare and Zachary are somehow involved in a convoluted plan for the brittish....after all he could be a double or triple agent....

Brittany has a 'cunning plan' ( a la baldric) to make her visitors think she is up to something on her next trip to boston. The man, 'zachary' ( mute, one eyed, hunch back) insists on coming with her. They interrupt a riot, brad gets shot, Zachary saves him - only to be revealed as - TA DA - Dane!

Brittany helps brad and then makes a run for it at night back to her farm ( the 2 hour slog). Dane catches up with her. For some reason he later goes into her house and up to her bedroom. Brittany is in the middle of her erotic dream and welcomes him into her fevered embrace. She wakes in the morning uncertain as to what has happened - was it a dream or reality? The reader feels inclined to point out that there are obvious signs of sex and it is not rocket science...

She sees dane in the barn. They argue. He kisses her. She identifies him as the man from last night, whilst somehow giving him the impression, that she is promiscuous and was expecting another lover. He tries to force himself on her again. She is about to succumb when she threatens to tell the Dark horseman on him. Can you imagine why he is a bit taken aback?

They reach a truce with Brittany agreeing that brad can be hidden on her farm, that Dane will work the farm and be a perfect gentleman and that the h will stop snooping - who are we kidding? Dane has no intention of keeping to his side of the bargain and wants to seduce her.

Neither protagonist is remotely likeable.

There are repeated references to the heroine's intelligence and witty repartee but the reality is that she is one of the most annoying and stupid women one would ever have the misfortune to come across.

I got to about page 209 but it turns out this has 477 pages and I just don't think I can bear it.

I don't like to give up on a book but I really need a break...

NOT a Keeper!
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