Bodice Ripper Readers Anonymous discussion

Discussions and Questions > What do you love most about bodice rippers?

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message 1: by Jennefer (new)

Jennefer (jenneferpracticex3) | 444 comments Mod
This has been discussed in some of the other threads but I thought it would be fun to start a thread just for this topic. I think in this group we are all united in our love for a good old fashioned BR but probably for very different reasons. What’s yours? What book is a good example of what you love most about this genre?

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I like the intensity and the heavy dose of adventure that bodice rippers deliver.

message 3: by Noelle (new)

Noelle | 120 comments I have to agree with Danielle" The Book Huntress" I love the intensity, to feel what ever extreme emotion that the h feels. The adventure in a bodice ripper is usually over the top,wich is why I love it. You can start out in England and end up in a harem in some far off place. Got to love it :)

Pamela(AllHoney) (pamelap) The sexual tension, definitely! The alpha heroes and spitfire heroines! The totally un-PC ness of the older novels. But I admit to having certain standards in that I don't care for cheating, rape (not forced seduction), excessive cruelty and humiliation.

message 5: by seton (new)

seton (lindaseton42) Epic scope.

Sometimes, for the indomitable heroines like Skye OMalley when it's not producing bratty ones and disturbingly passive heroines (e.g. Heather from FLAME & FLOWER)

message 6: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Definitely the broad panorama of where the story unfolds. If it's confined to only two continents, it was unambitious. LOL And the delicious OTT drama of annoyingly proud people doing sometimes stupid things! Can't get enough of it.

And I love the un-PCness that was standard. I don't like to be reminded what century I'm living in when I read a book, and these old ones completely transport me. When modern sensibilities get transferred to an earlier century, it totally ruins the mood. The BRs weren't afraid to delve into thorny topics like slavery.

I'm pretty much an "anything goes" kind of reader, and the BRs certainly deliver.

message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress (last edited Mar 27, 2010 09:26AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I agree that authors tended to be more creative, less restrained by fears of offending someone, or an editor saying, "You can't do that." I like period to be period, but I prefer reading antebellum books where the main characters are anti-slavery. As a lot of my ancestors were enslaved, I guess I can't be very impartial about that issue.

message 8: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
It's interesting to see how slavery is treated as romance has changed, at least in terms of advertising. I have 2 editions of Harvest of Desire. The 1977 back cover highlights the evil dysfunction of the plantation system, while the mid-80s one calls the heroine's plantation a "gracious empire." And I was looking at Lilac Seduction from 1992 last night where an antebellum tobacco plantation sounds like a Disney paradise.

It'd be interesting to know just what started the trend to sweep the ugly stuff of history under the rug in romance. A demand for "undemanding" romance? "Don't make me feel uncomfortable about my country"?

Like you, Danielle, I prefer characters to be anti-slavery. Probably another reason why I liked The Black Swan so much. Adam helps slaves escape (not out of ideals, granted, but personal revenge), and Dulcie has an awakening about the evil that puts money in her family's pocket. I don't demand the MCs have to have anti-slavery views, though. Usually there's a strong supporting character who fills that role ably. Even though it's not a BR, I'm thinking of Cooper Main & Virgilia Hazard in the North and South books. He's the moderate business-oriented abolitionist, while Virgilia is the radical, driven-by-ideals counterpart.

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I think that to make a plantation seem like Disneyland is pretty bad. Not all slave owners were extremely cruel, but the enslavement of people is wrong in my opinion. There's no real sugar coating it. If an author wants to write an antebellum book, then be respectful enough to the readers to be real about it.

I think that there are opportunities to show that not all people were pro-slavery, and to do it in a way that feels true to history.

message 10: by Jennefer (last edited Mar 27, 2010 05:46PM) (new)

Jennefer (jenneferpracticex3) | 444 comments Mod
Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I think that to make a plantation seem like Disneyland is pretty bad. Not all slave owners were extremely cruel, but the enslavement of people is wrong in my opinion...."

No doubt about it, the enslavement of people is wrong, period. On the other hand making a plantation seem like Disneyland in a fictional novel is not wrong IMO. I don't need my fiction to accurately represent the horrors of history all the time. It's ok for my fiction to be idealistic and to gloss over the ugly stuff. I appreciate novels with characters that are not pro-slavery but I don't mind reading about characters that are pro-slavery (or just accept slavery as a given) either.

You know what Karla, I think the "trend" to sweep the ugly stuff of history under the rug (in romance and just in general... like in history books even) is not so much a trend and just human nature. In a way it is an acknowledgment of just how ugly it was. As human beings we like to think of ourselves as generally good and try to turn away from or even skew the stuff that we now acknowledge was wrong. Don't want to face how truly awful humanity can be and has been.


It is hard to say what I most enjoy about the old skool romance novels. I just find them incredibly entertaining. I love the pushy, overbearing, super alpha males. I also enjoy the epic scale of them. I love how the romance is usually slow to form and not overnight. Rippers usually deliver like no other in the WTF department and I love it! I am a very laid back person with little to no drama in my life so I can handle a whole lot of drama in my reading! LOL

message 11: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
lol I have lots of critter drama in my life, so the WTF human drama in BRs is a nice change of pace for me.

You're probably right about the history white-washing. It does go through cycles, the whole "move along, nothing to see here" mindset. The moment of shame happens for awhile, but then it gets forgotten. In terms of books, if slavery is on the premises, I think I prefer to keep it to romances that either address it or historical fiction. If not, I'd still read it, but the book would probably get docked a star for that alone. It's ignoring an elephant in the room, IMO, and would give a depth of character to the H/h if they had to face it on some level.

I guess it really irks me when it's not addressed because I read 2 80s YA novels, one of which insisted on calling them "servants", and the 2nd which actually dared to use "slave" (and was a better book anyway). I don't think YA novels should be preachy or instructive like a classroom, but acknowledging a glaring reality when the story is set on a plantation would be a good start!

message 12: by Danielle The Book Huntress (last edited Mar 29, 2010 07:04AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I do like the drama in my books. But in real life, I don't care for drama. For me, it's hard to see people brush off injustice. So it bothers me in a book when I see people I'm supposed to like and respect brushing off an injustice. That's just me, though. I can't respect or identify with someone who doesn't see the wrong in owning a human being as a character. But like I said, I can't be impartial about it. If I read a book during this period, I will have that in the back of my mind, and it affects my enjoyment. That's why I avoid the books set during the American slavery era. I much prefer Westerns or post-Civil War Era American historicals. I can respect if others don't have a problem with it in a fictional context.

message 13: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Jeanine wrote: "I love the epic scope of a novel that takes these characters across continents and sometimes through years of their lives"

I think this is where BRs succeed where lots of those once-popular family sagas failed (like Fred Mustard Stewart's stuff). The number of characters are limited to a manageable size in a BR, where some of those sagas like Ellis Island bit off way too much and the result always seemed shallow to me. (Unless the page count topped 700, then there seemed to be adequate room to give everyone time to develop.)

Oh, and for a romance that covers many years of a character's life, I was looking at The Kadin last night, and it covers the heroine's entire life. Looks good! (Still can't believe I've never read it.)

message 14: by seton (new)

seton (lindaseton42) I hope that u have the version of the KADIN that has the missing last chapter. There is only one version that has it.

message 15: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
My version has the original cover art. There's an epilogue. Can't find any particulars online about just what the "missing" last chapter contains so I can compare or even wonder if I'd be missing anything.

message 16: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Weird. Well, the book apparently stands well on its own as it originally was published, so no worries here. :)

message 17: by seton (new)

seton (lindaseton42) Acornn wrote: "Seton, is the missing chapter only available in that 2-in-1 hardcover that Jeanine posted a link for? Why was that chapter left out of all the other editons? Or was it added specifically for the 20..."

yes, the missing chapter is only avail in that 2in1. Even versions after that one dont have the missing chapter.

the missing chapter was left out from the beginning back in 1978. dunno why it was never addressed except for the limited edition 2in1.


message 18: by Terri (new)

Terri (brookfield) | 29 comments I go for more bodice ripers when the girl is in disgusie as a boy then your wondering how this is going to happen When he can't quit put his finger on it and then he finds out she is a women. Pirate storys are very good lot of tension there on a ship in a storm they find each other. Those are my two favs. I also read the Kadin just this past summer I am a fan of her for yrs and never read it it was great. My book did not have anything missing

message 19: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I like the disguise set-up, too, and read a Harlequin this summer where the tension and reveal was well done: In the Master's Bed. In a summer of mainly blah Harley historicals, this was the exception.

message 20: by Stephanie (last edited Mar 30, 2010 06:34PM) (new)

Stephanie (creeker) | 133 comments I'm not completely sure I've read some books that I never thought of as a bodice ripper like (Ransom and Kingdom of Dreams)which I loved. And then I read a book like Whitney My Love and I loved loved it. So I guess the worse, meaner, nastier the better for me. I know I'm a freak :( lol j/k

message 21: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Not a freak at all! I like the more shocking, WTF types of bodice rippers as well.

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