Bodice Ripper Readers Anonymous discussion

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Group Reads and Challenges > March Read By Genre - the Plantation Novel

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message 1: by Karla (last edited Feb 24, 2011 06:13AM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I'm going to read this one, since a female author in this genre is new to me:
Muscavado by Eleanor Heckert

Also, I found an article by her in "The Nation" from 1968 about the racial demographics in the Indies. She was a native of the Virgin Islands, so that would have some perspective that an author cranking stuff out on cliches might not have - like Peter Gentry, who wrote Rafe, is the same two man team who also wrote bodice rippers under the names Christina Savage and Shana Carrol. They wrote whatever was popular at the time.

Richard Tresillian aka Royston Ellis is a white guy who lived/lives in the tropics. Edgar Mittelholzer - author of the Kaywana series - was mixed race and suffered depression/anxiety about his visible darkness in a family that was mainly light. I'm really eager to read his books, once I get copies!


message 2: by Denise (new)

Denise | 11 comments Yay! I've been wanting to read a book in this genre for a long time. Will be reading The Bondmaster by Richard Tresillian since it's the only one in this genre I own.


message 3: by SmittenKitten (last edited Mar 02, 2011 07:16AM) (new)

SmittenKitten | 189 comments Not sure if I'm going to have time this month to participate... but if I do, then I'll read House of Bondage by Alfred Bercovici


message 4: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine | 27 comments Great choice! Finally I have a book in the chosen genre that I'm in the mood to read.

I actually read this Alyx by Lolah Burford when it first came out. I was a teenager and didn't like it because of the very tropes that the genre is known for. It had too much violence and humiliation in it for my youthful, idealistic self.

I saw it mentioned a couple of years ago on Lora Leigh's board and thought I'd try it again 30 years later. I started it last night and find it a compelling read.


message 5: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Great choice, Lorraine - not that I've read Alyx, but I've heard a lot about it and Lolah Burford's unique style. She's on my TBR. :-)


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (thepiratewench) | 839 comments Mod
Im going to try & fit in Rafe by Peter Gentry for this month's Genre.


message 7: by Karla (last edited Mar 11, 2011 05:05PM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I was disappointed in Muscavado by Eleanor Heckert - the style was really stilted and too "docu-drama" - so I'll probably pick up another plantation novel sometime this month, something that looks like it'll have a juicier style and story.

But as for this book, I'll answer these questions asap:
1. What were the character's feelings on slavery - did these change throughout the book?
The main white character, Anna, decides at a young age after meeting Prince - a male slave - that he's a-OK and the adults are full of garbage.

2. Was the book you read a serious study of slavery and the deep south or was it purely exploitation pulp?
There were a few pulpy scenes - mainly ritual dances - but overall the book was a light dramatization of a historic event - the 1733 revolt on St. John.

3. Were there inter-racial relationships in your book? If so how did these develop? Were there differences between white male/black female relationships and white female/black male? Did these have a happy ending or were they doomed?
Anna (white) and Prince (black) met as children and grew up together, playing on the sly because her parents would have shit bricks if they knew. So their romance began in that innocent age of childhood and went on from there. Of course it was doomed in the end, and even after Anna loses Prince an epilogue details Anna's future that ended gruesomely as well. The author portrays it as an actual story and Anna as a real person, but I have no idea if that's true or not.

4. Male writers seemed to seize this genre and run with it but there were also female writers who wrote some - how do you think the gender of your author effected the story?
I think in this case Heckert, being a woman, was too restrained. This book would have read much better if it had been non-fiction, since the research was there. It was beyond her ability to dramatize it in an interesting way. And considering Heckert's gender, I was surprised that Anna was a very flat character, as were all the female characters and most of the men. The romance, too, had little sizzle or emotion behind it.

5. If there were children from these relationships - how were they viewed in society and treated? Did their parent's try to change their fates?
This is addressed in the epilogue - because Anna's son is dark, she has him stay in the slave cabins during the day and brings him into the house at night. Which I can imagine would royally mess with the kid's head! But that's not addressed at all.


message 8: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I picked up another one - Savage Oaks - but it was more like a Gothic/domestic drama and had nothing OTT in it. I picked really bad for this. :P


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