So what is a Bodice Ripper?
According to bodicerippernovels, These are books that were written in the mid 1970s through the early 1990s. The novels are usually over 400 pages long and are sometimes divided into ‘book 1′, ‘book 2′ and usually ‘book 3.’ The stories span many years, usually more than five, take place in several countries (usually America, England, Scotland and Ireland) and often times the hero and heroine are separated for a large part of the novel and both the hero and heroine have multiple sexual partners…even while married. The heroine usually suffers from some sort of physical or sexual abuse/rape by the hero and/or other men. Please note that the hero in a bodice ripper isn’t always abusive. I refer to these novels as ‘hardcore’ romances.
Stormfire written by Christine Monson is one of the most controversial bodice ripper ever written (based on the blog forums that I was able to read). Either you love it or hate it.
This was the story of Catherine Enderly who was kidnapped by Sean Culhane, an Irishman, who vowed to make her pay for her father's sins. It's a story of vengeance, hate and betrayal and all consuming passion.
Now this book is really something, I should say. It's not for the light heart-ed reader as it was very visual and very brutal--meaning there's rape and domestic violence and even torture (at least on Sean's part). Imagine Catherine, being a virgin and headstrong was raped over and over again by the hero and he almost broke her spirit. But of course this is a romance after all so they were able to bounce back from all the deceit and lies that surrounds them.
Now this is my kind of romance stories--except for the parts where Sean was physically abusing her and his torturous experience with Catherine's father. Western old times treat women as objects and therefore no stand in any man's world, only in their beds and domestic duties.
I'm no pro rape (yes, there is and lot's by the hero) but since this was set in the old times, it made the the story even better. I couldn't put the book down. In reality rape is horrible but then again this is fiction so everything is possible--even loving your rapist.
While reading the book, I was asking myself, How can someone take so much? Catherine's brutal abduction, rape, love, betrayal, punishment and loss made me want to scream of all the physical and emotional and psychological pain that she went through. Same with Sean who was consumed with hate and brutal love for the woman whom no matter how much he wanted to break her but couldn't.
To be honest, I wasn't comfortable with everything that's happening on the book but it made the story a page turner.
As what BodiceRipper said on her review of Stormfire, this is by far the most harsh bodice ripper I’ve ever read. No book comes close to it.