79 episodes

We're Courtney and we're Sara and we're Bodice Tipplers, the podcast where we read the romance novels we used to steal off our grandmothers' nightstands (and then we drink about it.) Join us each episode as we examine the good, the bad, and the throbbing of vintage romances.

Bodice Tipplers Bodice Tipplers

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 36 Ratings

We're Courtney and we're Sara and we're Bodice Tipplers, the podcast where we read the romance novels we used to steal off our grandmothers' nightstands (and then we drink about it.) Join us each episode as we examine the good, the bad, and the throbbing of vintage romances.

    Opposites Attract by Nora Roberts

    Opposites Attract by Nora Roberts

    Welcome to Nora Roberts' Opposites Attract! Their names are, and I am not kidding, Ty Starbuck and Asher Wolfe.  They are tennis champs!  Second chance romance!  Will they go all the way (heh)?  Well table (tennis) that because BUCKLE UP BUTTERCUP to our shock and disgust this is a surprise abortion-shaming book!
    Seriously, we wanted to do a fun sports book where they're both athletes!  Summer!  Tennis whites!  Tennis puns!  NO.  Content warnings abound: half the people in this book has gone no contact with the heroine without her knowledge because her abusive ex lied that she had an abortion! (I shouldn't have to say this, but if she HAD had an abortion that would have been entirely her right and her decision.  But she didn't!)  In fact she had a miscarriage after he... maybe tried to kill her?  It's unclear! Don't worry, the book doesn't care! Her father hasn't spoken to her since, and he's also her tennis coach! She has no idea! Also the dude is kinda grabby in that romance novel way, and when he thinks (ugh god this is so f*****g enraging) that he knows what happened he shakes her and fantasizes about slapping her.  You, the reader, know none of this for the first 80% of this book! There's lots of sex but it's really boring! Probably there was more awful stuff in this but I have a hard time keeping anything in focus after the big one!
    The ability to decide when and if to have children and what happens to your body is a fundamental human right.  Forcing people into  being broodmares for the state is a dire obscenity and, if there is such a thing, a grievous sin.  Are you mad?  I'm mad.  If you want to directly help people who can become pregnant retain control over their lives, consider donating or volunteering at a direct action abortion fund.  Abortion funds act to directly fund procedures and often give direct support to enable pregnant people to travel, get child care, escape intimate partner violence, and handle whatever they need to handle to terminate a pregnancy.  To donate nationally, give to abortionfunds.org.  If you want to give to a fund local to us, the Carolina Abortion Fund serves both South and North Carolina. And as always, subscribing as a monthly donor multiplies the value of your dollar immensely because it's money they can budget for.  
    Don't forget to keep calling your elected officials, too.  Even if they're absolute wastes of skin.  (Believe me, Lindsey Graham is my senator.)  They tally their calls and every one counts.  
    Try to take care of yourselves and remember, you're not alone.  There are a lot of us out here and we are not done fighting.

    • 43 min
    Heart of Dixie by Tami Hoag

    Heart of Dixie by Tami Hoag

     Jake is a biographer (is that a job if you're not Kitty Kelly?) and Dixie is... oh come on.  So there's a Missing Star, Devon, and then there's Dixie, the tow truck driver, do I have to draw a map for you or have you ever read a book before?  The Law of Economy of Characters is absolutely in play here.  This is a surprisingly charming book in that "the big lie is gonna come calling" genre; it's even a fun example of the "quirky small town" business - and Sara found it in a Little Free Library!  
    This is the old school romance that has dealt with body image issues better than any we've ever read, but we should still warn that it's about somebody who gained weight and is evidently literally unrecognizable?  But he's also, like, real dumb.  Jude Deveraux is tearing her hair out because somebody is happy and not cocaine-skinny.  It also has a friend who before the book starts died by suicide, disordered eating that's also in the past, and that Big Lie plot.  (It also has hilarious geography.)  In general though it's a blast and we'd like to meet the fun wine aunt who slipped this into a neighborhood LFL!

    • 41 min
    Only Forever by Linda Lael Miller

    Only Forever by Linda Lael Miller

    Nick is an ex-football player!  Vanessa is a shopping network hostess lady!  I know, it sounds cute, but it was completely overshadowed for us by her terrifying stalker ex! If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, which is what we used to call domestic violence, you can get help. Start with these resources: National Domestic Violence Hotline
    Love is Respect National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
    Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline
    National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
     
    Intimate partner violence can take many forms - it can come from any romantic or sexual partner whether you're married or not, from somebody you're currently with or somebody you used to be with, and it's any kind of abuse or aggression.  It can be something that happens once or something that happens a lot, and it can come and go.  Violent behavior can include:
    Physical violence, when your partner hurts or tries to hurt you physically.
    Sexual violence, when your partner forces or tries to force you to take part in a sex act when you don't or can't consent. This includes situations where you consent to sex but don't consent to specific sex acts, when you consent to sex but your partner removes a condom or sabotages your birth control, when you're pressured to take part in a non-physical sexual act like sending nudes or sexting, and any other situation where you don't consent.
    Stalking, when your partner forces repeated, unwanted attention and contact on you and makes you fear for your safety or the safety of someone close to you.  
    Psychological aggression, when your partner uses verbal or non-verbal communication to harm you mentally or emotionally or exert control over you.
     
    None of that is okay and nobody deserves it.  

    • 40 min
    The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

    The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

    Douglas is a mean-ass, uh, spy? and lord of something or other.  Alex is the plainer sister of The Most Beautiful Woman in England but she's got some knockout knockers.  They throw chairs at each other and get kidnapped.  It's our sixty-ninth episode, The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter! By the way, there's some discussion in this about whether a fancy Regency lady would pee in the woods on a long carriage ride - despite Google trying to autocomplete "how did travelling Regency women" with "use the litter box" (???) I did a little "research" and it seems she'd probably have used a bourdaloue, which is like a teacup for your tinkle, and not gotten kidnapped in the first place at all.  Here's a picture of one:

    The more you know!  Her maid would have had to deal with it, and of course this is one of those books that forgets about maids all the time.  Whatever.  That's not the biggest historical issue with this book and I don't know why it bothered us so much, compared to the ghost who gives GPS directions and weather reports.
    There's some pretty upsetting content in this book, including but not limited to the truly grotesque (but not graphic) sexual assault of a side character, a graphic (but not grotesque) miscarriage that's actually dealt with in a serious way, some "light ravishing" on the part of the main character and a major secondary character - there's a lot of crying during sex in this one.  There's also a ghost!  Napoleon! Proxy marriages that are also stealth trick marriages!  Magical boobs!  It's a lot!  Happy Episode 69 to us!

    • 54 min
    Special Edition - To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters

    Special Edition - To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters

    A threepeat!  The best part of our year is always catching up with Our Friend Martha, who is now celebrating the release of her third book!   Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both.
    With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.
    Get To Marry and to Meddle from your local independent bookseller or from one of Martha's - she's moved to Maine, so her new bookstore is Print, and her (finally in person!) party will be at her old North Carolina haunt at Flyleaf Books.

    • 22 min
    Blue Days at Sea by Anne Weale

    Blue Days at Sea by Anne Weale

    Sarah is a plucky girl reporter!  Lyle is a hot war correspondent who's also a news anchor I guess?  (Maybe he's a far more uncool Morley Safer?) Anyway he isn't a print journalist but he's decided he's going to restart the weekly newspaper on Compostela, a Caribbean island that we might as well call Smasrshbuda.  She wants the job!  He's incredibly inappropriate and she takes it anyway!  It's 1981!  He has a terrible mustache and looks exactly like that guy from The Young and the Restless that Sara keeps calling Vincent!  (Courtney is screaming.)  It's Blue Days at Sea by Anne Weale, Harlequin #444! This is an interesting little book because - okay, remember back to our NINTH episode which was TWO YEARS AGO omg when we covered Adam and Eva by Sandra Kitt?  We were so young then. That was the first Harlequin by an African American author featuring a Black couple.  I read when we were working on that one that there was a stealth Black Harlequin earlier, that was written with no physical description of the couple's skin tonesl and that even the original cover is racially ambiguous.  And it turns out that that's true, and that it's this book, and y'all it is weird.  They're actually both British, and most of the people on the island are Afro-Caribbean.  But I'd assumed that to pull this off it would have to be a setting where the race of the two leads isn't necessarily so relevant that it feels odd that it's not mentioned.  HA.  HA.  These people are constantly in situations where they're naturally talking about race and where their conversations would be different depending on their backgrounds, experiences with institutional racism, cultural upbringing - everything!  On the one hand it's pretty bold - it's always talking about the consequences of colonialism in the Caribbean, about racism, about interracial relationships - but then it's kind of tone deaf that Anne Weale, who's white, thought she had the cultural competence to write this.  So that's a major content warning. BUT that's all!  For the low low price of this $5 used Harlequin paperback you also get: a sex pest on the mantel in Act 1 that goes off in Act 3! Labor law violations innumerable! A really awful 1981 guy! Fat shaming and diet culture that just kind of sneak up on you every so often! Sexual assault and really awful failures to support her afterwards! I am probably forgetting something!

    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

rae the nerd ,

Excellent Podcast

As a former twelve year old reading flea market romance books this is hands down my favorite of the romance book podcast. I am tickled every time I see a familiar title in the feed and enjoy looking at my old favs with adult eyes.

gfhardin ,

Lurv Hallmark Movies?… git IN here!

Hey! I’m as serious… or possibly slightly more than the next girl. But I too read books that were exciting, confusing and embarrassing from my local library. Those romance novels & etc. were … they were … Anyway let’s face it - there is A LOT to unpack here. Why not listen to these knowledgeable women do it while talking fast, getting lost, and telling on each other and our selves? I come to this podcast to giggle, say, “Oh, yeh, you get it” and get over myself. You may end up talking louder and faster - but that will wear off. If you want it to.

Davidmwein ,

Wonderful Show

Courtney and Sara bring a terrific show all about the world of romance novels. While I must admit I'm not well versed in the topic they have great energy together and it's def a fun premise! 

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