Rape and Forced Seduction

I cannot remember when was the last time I read one of these, because it’s been so long since I read a historical, and you just don’t see this very often in contemporary settings.

What I do know is that I used to love them. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey etc. That’s what I read when I just started reading romance.

I don’t know whether I’d still love them today, but I’m keen to find out, for various reasons including the fact that my WIP has a forced seduction* and a rape scene. Sort of. I’ve decided to be a chicken (but not Southern Fried, unlike the Chicas) and skip that section, even though I don’t usually write out of order.

[It’s not a romance, but I’m looking for someone to discuss plot stuff, so if you’re one of the bunch of writers I chat with about writing regularly, and you’re curious, you know where to find me. This means the CPs, the Sisters, and the Evil people and everyone else I forgot. LOL. And it’s tagged sob story on my LJ, but I don’t think I’ve given that many specific details though.]

The marvelous** Jane says:

Let’s not sugar coat it. Anna Campbell’s hero rapes the heroine. There are no nuances that suggest it is not rape. Whether Campbell redeems Justin to a readers’ satisfaction is up to each individual reader. But romance readers are not so blind, are we, to repellant behavior that we actually excuse it to make it palatable?

I don’t know about the reader I was a few years (more like five or six…I feel old) ago, but I probably thought it was Oh So Romantic. Hey, I didn’t know anything back then!***

I think that it takes very powerful love for a woman to get past something like that. That kind of love comes under Oh So Romantic. In the hands of a great writer, it can sweep readers away.

So I don’t think readers excuse it, but that when a reader reads and enjoys a forced seduction story, the reader believes that the hero and heroine really do love each other, and so the heroine is able to get past the rape.

I do plan to get the book which started the whole thing again: Anna Campbell‘s Claiming The Courtesan (yes, I won a signed coverflat from her on Nalini Singh‘s blog).

Michelle Buonfiglio summarizes the book in her post, but this section, I think, is critical:

But Kyleborn spends three, long, irate, celibate months tracking Verity. And when he finds her? He kidnaps her, drags her to the wilds of Scotland, where he attempts to break her spirit, so angry is he that she left him and took with her the only peace he’s known.

Reading this section makes it very clear why Jane asks that question.

As far as I can remember, every romance I read where the hero rapes the heroine gives some sort of flimsy reason why he raped her. Sometimes she’s a whore, a slave etc. If you’ve read one without this, correct me in comments.

Also, I want recommends. I’m eyeing Tracy Macnish’s Veiled Desires, any others? If you can recommend a contemp with a rape or forced seduuction, that would be absolutely wonderful, but I’ll take historicals.

* Maybe more than one forced seduction. I’m a panzer, and this is a long, long story, both literally and figuratively.

** Meljean, if you see this, I begin to understand Missy better and better.

11 Responses to “Rape and Forced Seduction”

  1. March 30, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    Sorry, I don’t know about contemps, but Patricia Gaffney’s historical, “To Have and to Hold,” has a rape scene in it. In fact, the hero is a complete bastard to the heroine for a good part of the first half of the novel. But Gaffney redeemed the hero enough by the end that I actually bought their HEA, and it is one of my favorite historicals.

  2. March 31, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Heh, Missy loved all this stuff. Still does, it just helps that the smarter part of me recognizes what it is. It lets me get rid of a lot of the guilt and baggage that goes along with enjoying the fantasy of it (of forced seduction, not rape.)

  3. March 31, 2007 at 1:07 am

    And, FWIW, I don’t think that in Claiming the Courtesan, the rape was intended to act as a fantasy, or titillating in any way. But the redemption of the hero who does it? Certainly *that’s* part of the fantasy.

  4. March 31, 2007 at 1:46 am

    OMG Bertrice Small. You can’t tell me that woman never wrote a rape or a forced seduction and I read all her books, for years! and Years!

    Hey what about the Ninja Kickass Girls? 😀

  5. March 31, 2007 at 8:06 am

    I blushing admit to haveing written a few of those in my own stories

  6. March 31, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    DC, I’ll put that on my list. Have never read Gaffney, but I’ve been told she’s amazing.

    Meljean, exaactly! I don’t think that’s the case in CtheC either, but I would have read it anyway.

    Amie, I’m not sure whether I’ve read Small, but I’ll read it. The Kickass Ninja girls? Oh, that’s Rhian’s province. We gotta go ask her.

    EelKat, so have I. Or at least, I will at some point. 🙂

  7. March 31, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Darkest Longings by Susan Lewis, buy it. It’s set at in the 1930’s(?) and it features a forced seduction which shouldn’t be hot but it. Besides that scene it rocks!

  8. April 1, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Seems like there was something on all about romance months ago about forced seduction. Or maybe it was on Laurie’s personal blog. I think forced seduction scenes can be hot if done right, and the hero works hard later. PBW’s StarDoc series has a scene where Duncan rapes Cherijo in book one while under an alien influence. I thought it was done well, and GEEZ, did both Cherijo and PBW make him work HARD to get past that one mistake!!

  9. April 1, 2007 at 1:15 am

    And of course you know my favorite character, Gregar. He’s not exactly a nice hero and would have murdered the heroine at the same time.

  10. April 1, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    I’ll look for it, Maria.

    Joely, I have more StarDoc to read and cannot wait to find out how he is redeemed!

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