Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Ruthless Rake

The Ruthless Rake is #9 in the Bantam series published in August 1974. Francis Marshall paints 2 very different scenes for the covers of these books with the Bantam one set in Newgate Prison, London's worst jail. Syringa, the heroine, is wrongfully imprisoned because her friendship with Lord Rothingham threatens Lady Elaine, who trumps up the charges after he refuses to marry her. Note the fact that the ugly warden is carrying off her dress: at this time, if you were incarcerated, you had to pay for your food, drink, and necessities, or have friends bring them to you. She is obviously selling her dress to pay for items. Note, her underdress and how beautifully it's trimmed. Women spent much time and effort either making their own underthings or wealthy women bought or had a special sewing maid create them. This was a time before store bought and sewing machines, so everything would be sewn by hand. Women could earn money sewing for others.

The Pan cover shows a scene where the couple meet, in the country while the heroine sits on a log and the hero speaks to her. Syringa is distraught that her horse is being sold. Her father has great debts and household items are being liquidated. It's a beautiful and much peaceful cover than the Bantam one! The hero is dressed for riding and carries a crop while his horse grazes in the background.

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