In this case, I had an extremely strong reaction to the beginning of the story, and it took a good long while before I could get past a particular scene–a scene with no gore, no graphic content, and no violence.
Our minds are strange places, n’est ce pas?
Eventually, I got past that bit, and then…well, I had other issues. Be warned, this is a very rambling and meandering review–more so than usual, that is.
Captive Bride, by Bonnie Dee
This is one of those extremely rare beasts in genre romance: it’s set in the aftermath of the War Between the States, but not in the South or the West (as we think of it–the Rockies or the Plains, or Texas). It’s set in San Francisco, in the late 1870.
Here’s the blurb from the author’s site:
San Francisco, 1870
Huiann arrives in America expecting to be wed to a wealthy businessman. She no sooner disembarks from the ship than she realizes Xie is not looking for a bride: Huiann is worth more to him as a high-end prostitute. Though her fate is better than that of other Chinese women forced into the sex trade, she has no intention of waiting for Xie to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. At the first opportunity, she escapes and disappears into the city.
When a beautiful woman takes refuge in his store, Alan’s life changes forever. He’s spent the last five years trying to forget the horrors of war, and had almost given up hope of finding love. He hires Huiann as his housekeeper, and though they can only communicate through signs and sketches, they quickly form a bond that transcends the need for words.
But Xie is determined to recover his property, and love may not be enough to protect Huiann from his vengeance.