Abduction and Forcible Confinement: Human Rights Violation or Frisky Romantic Adventure?


In Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey, strikingly handsome Philip Caxton (aka Sheik Abu) is smitten from the first moment he sees blonde beauty Christina Wakefield. The day after their meeting, he proposes marriage...but is met with a smack across the face for his boldness. And it is precisely this smack, which sets Philip's diabolical (but ultimately sexy) plan in motion. While sleeping in a hotel room in Egypt, Christina is swiftly abducted and transported by horseback to a remote and dismal desert camp.

This book, written in 1977, is a delicious romp completely unburdened with political correctness. Not only does Sheik Abu rudely snatch Christina away from her life, he orders her to stay inside his sparsely furnished tent, spanks her with frequency, and physically overpowers her in his bed. Only in an historical romance novel written in the 1970s could this be considered really really hot.

But it is rather unfair to blame Abu for his actions since his own father is as much of a pig. Years ago he captured his wife (Abu's mother) and forced her to live in the boring camp for five years before allowing her to return to England. And on top of that, he tells Christina of the time he had to beat the woman! But who could blame him, since apparently she was openly flirting with other men...but only to make him jealous enough to marry her. (No warning signs of future domestic violence there.)

What's more, the old goat's response after learning of Christina's abduction (at the hands of his son) is a laugh, followed by a proud, "You are truly my son. You have stolen your woman, just as I stole your mother. Your mother also fought me in the beginning, but I believe she grew to love me as I did her, for she married me."

And how prophetic, because that's exactly what happens with Christina! After a daring rescue by Abu when she is abducted (again...but by a tribal enemy), a nasty scissor incident when she accidentally stabs his shoulder, and a silly misunderstanding that prompts her to flee the camp, the two declare their love and marry. But Abu, ever the Neanderthal, has a rather unconventional exchange with his beloved as he is asking her to wed him:

Abu: "If I ever catch you looking sideways at another man, I will beat the daylights out of you!"
Christina (surprised): "Will you really?"
Abu: "No. You won't be out of bed long enough to give me reason."

Now who could possibly turn down a proposal like that?