Tag: Forced Seduction

Retro Post: Forced Seduction or Rape?

Posted March 15, 2017 by Casee in Discussions | 22 Comments

A lot has changed in publishing since 2008, but forced seduction and rape haven’t gone away. If anything, I think we’ve seen even more of this in contemporary novels.

This was originally posted February 25, 2008.
Casee: The other night, Holly and I started talking about the ever controversial topic–rape in romance novels.

The topic came up when I mentioned that I was going to start reading Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell. (I’ve since finished it and hope to have my review up in a few days.) Holly asked if CtC had the “forced seduction” in it, which yes, it does. There are several reviews on Amazon taking the author to task for daring to call her book a romance when the hero rapes the heroine. Whether it was rape is another story altogether. One reviewer told her that CtC was a throwback to the bodice-rippers of the 80’s.
Hello? Have these reviewers ever read Stormfire by Christine Monson? That is indisputably rape. That book is one that doesn’t neatly fit into the “romance” slot it’s supposed to. I’m sure that almost everything that has read Stormfire would agree that there is no question of forced seduction or rape. It was rape.

Then you have the books where it’s rather murky. It basically is left to the reader to decide for themselves b/c it’s far from cut and dried.

The few books that came to mind when Holly and I were talking were Once and Always and Whitney, My Love, both by Judith McNaught. Holly is insistent that Jason raped Tory in Once and Always. Me, not so much. As a matter of fact, I had to go back and read a few pages b/c I don’t remember ever thinking it was rape.

No means no. Right? It’s not so black and white when it comes to the written word (please remember that we’re talking about this topic in regard to reading). As far as Whitney, My Love goes, I think it was rape. Clayton raped Whitney. I don’t even have to think about it.

Then you have books like The Duke by Gaelen Foley. The rape of the heroine turned the plot. It changed who the heroine would have been if the rape wouldn’t have happened. Does that make it less a romance? No, that makes it life. It made the heroine change her life choices, sure, but it didn’t make it less of a romance. That doesn’t mean it’s any less tragic, it just showed the reader that something like that changes a person’s life.

Holly:

There’s definitely a fine line between what I consider “acceptable” forced seduction and just flat out rape. While I agree with Casee about Whitney, My Love, I disagree with her about Once and Always. In my opinion, Jason raped Tory, same as Clay raped Whitney, it was just written prettier in O&A.

You see, Tory said no. She said no at the beginning and continued to say no throughout. Even as her body responded, she told him no. No is no. I don’t care what your body says. If your mouth says no (and it’s clearly not what you want) that’s rape. Plain and simple.

Of course, there are a lot of gray areas there. Because if well written, a forced seduction can be a turning point in a novel. And if extremely well written, I – who considers the “forced seduction/rape” issue a major hot button – will love the hero anyway. That doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.

But back to Jason and Tory. The thing is, I liked Jason. A lot. He was a good hero, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure Tory deserved him. She wasn’t totally TSTL, but she did come close. Regardless of that, however, that one scene, the scene where he forces her to submit to him, wasn’t sexy, or hot, or something I’d ever want to experience. Maybe it’s because I’m fairly independent. Or because I’m a modern day woman. Or maybe it’s just I can’t imagine having all control taken away, but when Tory told Jason, “I’ll hate you if you do this” and he did it anyway..well, a part of me hated him, too.

I have to give Judith McNaught credit, however, because even though I hated that one scene in the book, I didn’t end up hating the book as a whole. Nor did I hate Jason or Tory. Honestly? I’m not even sure if I can explain exactly why that is. I imagine it has something to so with JM’s ability to make her characters 3 dimensional and real.

Of course, we’re still not talking about rape. We’re talking forced seduction. Rape, well, that’s something all together different. I don’t think there’s any coming back from rape.

What do you think? Do you think there’s a place for Forced Seduction in romance? What about Rape? I’m not talking about the heroine being raped by someone other than the hero, either. I’m talking about the hero forcing the heroine, against her will.

I think Forced Seduction has it’s place. There are times – though I’m loathe to admit it – when it really needs to happen for the story to progress, or the characters to develop. Rape? I don’t know. I have yet to read a novel labeled romance where the hero actually raped the heroine. There have been a couple close calls, but not an actual rape.

Casee:

I really believe that in the cases of the McNaught books or Claiming the Courtesan, it really is left up to reader interpretation. In books like Stormfire or Island Flame by Karen Robards (those come to mind first), it is clearly rape and those books are not for everyone. I agree with Holly that Forced Seduction does have it’s place.

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Hot or Not?

Posted January 22, 2009 by Casee in Discussions | 19 Comments

Christine Feehan fans know that she’s rather famous for her long sex scenes. I’m reading Murder Game and there is no shortage of sex. I’m only on page 117, but I think there have been, like, 34.5 pages of sex. Or something like that.

This happens in one of the sex scenes after the hero maneuvers the heroine where he wants her.

Her face was in his lap, right where he’d planned all along. He caught her hand and wrapped it around the thick length of him, down low at the base, even as he used the fist in her hair to guide her mouth over him.

In the right situation, the pulling of the hair can be hot. I’m not really feeling it in this scene. It seems less like he’s compelling and more like he’s forcing. He doesn’t even give her a chance to pull away.

So…what say you? Hot or not?

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Forced Seduction Poll

Posted July 30, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

I’ve been Twittering today and the topic of Forced Seduction came up, because it was mentioned in a workshop that readers are craving Forced Seduction, a la Claiming the Courtesan.

My response was, “Forced Seduction? Srsly?”, because I’m sorry, but no. Most romance readers are NOT craving FS. Or at least this reader isn’t. Especially CtC Forced Seduction, which from what I understand is more like full on rape. What ensued was a conversation, via twitter, between Meljean, Ciara, Jaci Burton, Lauren Dane and myself about how that isn’t really the case. We don’t believe readers crave forced seduction. I especially don’t like that it was said that “readers” want FS.

Anyway, during the course of our twittering, I said I was going to put up a poll about it. Then I suckered Meljean into doing graphs w/ the results – her graphs rock muchly – and Jaci Burton got excited. Srsly, that’s how it happened! I can’t make this stuff up.

So here I am keeping up my end of the bargain (or whatever). I’d like to direct your attention to the sidebar, where I currently have a poll up: Are We As Readers Craving Forced Seduction?

I hope you’ll vote. Feel free to leave a comment here, too, with your thoughts on the subject. I do think FS has it’s place in romance (we’ve discussed this before) but I just can’t get over her telling everyone us readers are craving it. Now watch all of you prove me wrong….

ETA: Link to Forced Seduction post and to protect the innocent (and the not so innocent).

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Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

Posted February 26, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Risking the wrath of Chantal (*g*), here is my review of CtC which I tried to post, like, 5 times yesterday.


Book description:

The Duke of Kylemore knows her as Soraya, London’s most celebrated courtesan. Men fight duels to spend an hour in her company. And only he comes close to taming her. Flying in the face of society, he decides to make her his bride; then, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Dire circumstances have forced Verity Ashton to barter her innocence and change her name for the sake of her family. But Kylemore destroys her plans for a respectable life when he discovers her safe haven. He kidnaps her, sweeping her away to his hunting lodge in Scotland, where he vows to bend her to his will.

There he seduces her anew. Verity spends night after night with him in his bed . . . and though she still dreams of escape and independence, she knows she can never flee the unexpected, unwelcome love for the proud, powerful lover who claims her both body and soul.

2008 has been a good year for historicals for me. When looking for historicals to read, what I find myself doing is looking for “non-traditional” historicals. Basically, I don’t want to read about the Lord and Lady of the manor who both come from big families with, like, zero conflict to overcome other than some imaginary “He’s-so-far-above-my-station-boo-hoo-hoo” conflict. That’s why I have love reading Jo Goodman so much. So when I find a book about a Duke who is determined to marry his mistress, I am intrigued. That’s why I bought Claiming the Courtesan. The plot sounded about as non-traditional as you could get. Now those of you already comparing it to The Duke by Gaelen Foley (I did), take that thought right out of your head.

No one knows much about London’s most infamous courtesan, Soraya. No one would ever guess that a courtesan is the last thing that Soraya would have ever chosen to be. Years before, 15 year old Verity Ashton was forced to make an impossible choice. After her parents died, Verity was the only one that could take care of her family. It didn’t take long before something that seemed so impossible was the only way that Verity and her family could survive. Having been a courtesan for over 10 years, Verity has finally saved enough money to finish putting her sister through school and has enough left over to live modestly. The only problem Verity foresees is leaving her current protector, the Duke of Kylemore. Though their agreed upon year is up, Verity is beyond certain that Kylemore will not let her go. Because of that, she decides to leave in the middle of the night without telling Kylemore she’s leaving. Little does she know what will follow her impulsive decision.

The Duke of Kylemore is furious when he finds that Soraya has slunk off in the middle of the night. Having decided only the day before that he would marry her to spite his mother, Kylemore is determined to track her down and make her sorry for daring to leave him. Having tried to acquire Soraya as his own for more than 6 years, Kylemore is far from ready to let her go. When he tracks her down after three long months, he kidnaps her. Promising that he will break her, Kylemore spirits her away to a remote area of Scotland where he is certain she can’t escape him or his wrath.

This book isn’t for all readers. I even think that this book falls out of “non-traditional”. There is most definitely forced seduction in this book. It could even be interpreted as rape, depending on the reader. I really enjoyed reading about the character development in Kylemore. At the beginning of the book, he was blind with rage over Verity leaving him. Even after he learned why she became a courtesan, he was still enraged. All he wants to do is break her spirit and bend her to his will. It’s because he can’t do those things that he realizes exactly what kind of person Verity is. Even after hurting her over and over, Verity still steps in to help him deal with his nightmares. That humbles him as well as makes him take a look at what sort of person has become.

Verity has kept the ability to keep her true self separate from Soraya. It’s only when she’s with Kylemore that it’s harder to do so. It’s only after she allows herself to get a true glimpse into the real Kylemore that she admits her love for him. While she knows that they’ll never have forever, she’s willing to take the short time together that they do have.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. To see the growth in both these characters really was amazing. I didn’t like how Verity was willing to martyr herself for the sake of Kylemore and the dukedom. Even knowing his past, she was willing to throw away her happiness for something that she knew was unimportant to him. She also knew that he would be never truly be happy without her, but she was refused to let him make his own decision. That was really annoying.

4 out of 5.

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